The established suppliers in the BPM and middleware market are failing to shift to the cloud and revenue growth has slowed dramatically as a result, according to IT market analyst IDC.
The overall BPM and middleware market grew by 3.8% to $18.7 billion during 2012, according to IDC's latest figures. That compares to 12% growth in 2011 and 9% in 2010.
A number of suppliers in the space, including Oracle and Tibco, have blamed their recent poor performance on "sales execution" – i.e. their salespeople weren't working hard enough.
But according to IDC analyst Maureen Fleming, "the results don't align with these claims".
Fleming showed that most of the established middleware and BPM vendors, whose products are on-premise, reported sub-5% growth during 2012.
Meanwhile, suppliers with cloud-based middleware offerings, such as Salesforce.com, Amazon Web Services and VMware, saw relevant sales grow 50% or more.
"We've noticed in both inquiry and public statements that executives are blaming soft growth on poor sales execution. And that may be true, in part," Fleming wrote. "But we are finding an assortment of root causes involving changes in preferences for products, pricing models and timing of purchases."
In short, customers want cloud-based services. There is unmet demand for platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and cloud integration, pay-as-you-go pricing and the ability to try before you buy, Fleming found.
She added, though, that many of larger providers do now have cloud offerings, but they were mostly still immature for much of 2012.
Fleming's analysis may apply to the enterprise software industry as a whole. There has been a spate of weak results lately, with a number of providers blaming "sales execution".
But unless there has been an outbreak of bad salesmanship in Silicon Valley, it would seem that something else is afoot – and the advent of cloud is the most obvious culprit.