In a subtle shift from the days in which content was king, the International Data Corporation semiannual Software Tracker published this week reaffirms what we are now seeing on a daily basis -- that data is king. In this scenario though, data access and analytics software is the king-maker and this report makes that clear.

Data Is King

But there are many different kinds of content and to paraphrase Animal Farm, while all data is equal, some data is more equal than other data. Depending on where you’re coming from, this means that generally speaking, data that can be used to give a competitive edge with potential or actual customers rules the roost.

Leaving barnyard analogies aside, there is some really interesting material here. The first thing that can be said is that despite persistent global economic problems the world software market grew by 3.6% over the past year to reach US$ 342 billion. Even still, IDC points out, this is only half the growth rate of 2010 and 2011.

This, IDC adds, confirms that we have now entered a more conservative growth period -- although at the moment any kind of growth is good -- and PC makers will testify to that.

Within that 3.4% growth, though, there are huge variations with a number of segments growing dramatically faster than others.

The real winners here were: Data Access, Analysis and Delivery, Collaborative Applications, CRM Applications, Security Software, and System and Network Management Software.

All of these grew between 6% and 7% over the period, being nearly double the rate for enterprise software as a whole, while it is notable that information management and use is a key element in the higher growth areas:

Every one of these markets grew in the 6-7% range, about double the rate for enterprise software as a whole.

… The management and leveraging of information for competitive advantage is driving growth in markets associated with Big Data and analytics. Similarly, rapid growth in cloud deployments is fuelling growth in application areas associated with social business and customer experience. Both these initiatives require a reliable and secure infrastructure, driving investments in security and system/network management," said Henry D. Morris, senior VP at IDC.

Applications, AD&D, Infrastructure

In IDC’s analysis there are three principal segments: Applications, Application Development & Deployment (AD&D) and Systems Infrastructure Software.

1. AD&D

By far the biggest growth was recorded in the the AD&D segment, which comprised nearly 24% of total software revenues in 2012, and grew by 4.6% over the year.