It has been almost a year and a half since we looked into the land of the zombie apocalypse, and the infection is spreading. At the last briefing, the focus was on the endangered species known as enterprise CMS vendors. Current events reveal that the paid software industry as a whole is experiencing an accelerating disruption causing a litany of existential questions.

Anybody Seen Lando Calrissian?

The rapid enterprise flight to the cloud has accelerated and we are now seeing the competitive effects in many paid software industries beyond enterprise content management. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems, collaboration platforms and intranets, and even basic productivity suites are being embraced by customers in droves and we are seeing even the most mature enterprise software vendors completely overhaul their offerings and competitive strategies.

It is no wonder that the vendors are adapting to the new model given that customers are leading the way. This mad rush to the cloud may at some time swing back towards internally managed platforms, but it will not be anytime soon as the trend seems to be accelerating. Software as a service (SaaS) and Platform as a service (PaaS) models have instant credibility given that almost every big vendor has an offering in the market or on its near-term road-map.

A Demonstrated Weakness in the Battle Station

The precise hit offered by the original cloud based application vendors has started a chain reaction. This is no longer a trend, it is now a self-sustaining dynamic. Business leaders demand shorter development cycles, lower employee carrying costs and a near 100% focus on top line revenue driving activities.

How much longer will IT departments want to compete with fully operationalized and specialized managed infrastructure, especially given that the infrastructure management piece can come with a right-sized customization approach (PaaS) or a low cost out-of-the-box multi-tenant approach (SaaS)?

How far has this chain reaction gone? The one company that is more responsible than any other for starting the retail software business has caved! Just last month, Microsoft has gone full bore into "transforming into a devices and services business" rather than an enterprise software vendor.