Saugatuck Research is out the week of January 10 with a very thorough Research Alert (you have to sign up for the analyst firm's Research Alerts but they are free) that has a lot of good kick-off-2011 information about the trend to cloud computing technology. Saugatuck has been one of the major software as a service (SaaS) fanboys over the years so it is not surprising that it has morphed its 2008-2009 thinking on SaaS into becoming a cloud computing fanboy in 2010-2011.
Much analysis I see incorrectly uses the words cloud and SaaS interchangeably. But I like the fact that Saugatuck is measuring "NEW" IT spend as well as total IT spend in its research methodology. Such a view has long been lacking in a lot of research on IT and enterprise software market dynamics. It is the most useful metric for IT investment once you've done due diligence on the individual IT suppliers' balance sheets. Saugatuck claims 65% of new IT spend will be "cloud or hybrid" by 2015. The adjective hybrid leaves a lot of wiggle room but at least the hard number provides a starting point from which investors can decide how the market is going to play out during the decade that just started (or did it start 12 months ago?).
The January research alert also has a lot of detail about what Saugatuck calls Master Brands. All are major cloud computing technlogy players no doubt, at least in terms of how they might be using the technology, but the implication that they are equal or competitive players could be misleading to IT investors and the idea that the group is simply riding the cloud computing wave is even more misleading.
- EMC belongs on the list if Saugatuck includes EMC's 98%-99% ownership of VMware (VMW).
- Amazon (AMZ) belongs on the list only if you believe that the retailer is going to move out of retailing to become an IT hosting company. (At least, unlike EMC, Amazon might provide its shareholder some value some day if it spins off its IT hosting division in a way unlike the way EMC spun off VMware without really spinning it off.)
- salesforce.com (CRM) makes the list only if you conflate SaaS and cloud
- SAP belongs there as a wannabee and Intel as a basic-technology provider to everyone else
- I don't know what HPQ is doing -- in general, not just in the cloud -- and I don't see Apple (APPL), Google (GOOG) or DELL doing much directly
As often explained here, the remaining IT and enterprise software suppliers listed as Master Brands are not riding the cloud. IBM, Microsoft (MSFT), and Oracle (ORCL) are driving the cloud computing technology trend.
-- Dennis Byron
(No interest in companies mentioned)