Trends Report

ISVs: Choose The Right Dance Partner

Key Considerations When Selecting And Joining A Software Ecosystem

August 7th, 2007
With contributors:
R "Ray" Wang , Bradford Holmes , Reedwan Iqbal


The center of gravity in the IT industry has moved from hardware to software over the past 25 years. The result? Strategists at the major vendors have established software-based ecosystems to enhance their offerings with partner solutions and thus address more market segments — by industry, geography, and company size. These are similar to hardware companies' once-flourishing value-added-reseller (VAR) networks. The majority of independent software vendors (ISVs) must decide to join one or more of these ecosystems to save on R&D investments and leverage the branding and marketing support of the ecosystem heavyweights. The choice of which ecosystem to join is a strategic, high-risk proposition — picking poorly can lead to market failure, and most ISVs can only afford to commit to one or two. ISV strategists must follow a selection process that is well-founded, structured, and subject to regular review. Field execution of the partnership is also key to ISV success.

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