Wednesday, 20 July 2016

A Guided Tour of the Market 6


Because technology buyers are inherently conservative and loath to buy products from a vendor that might go out of business and leave them stranded for basic service, companies are increasingly buying only from industry leaders.

Like database software, the ERP market isn't growing very fast because most large companies already have some type of ERP system installed.

Often, companies that dominate a smaller niche are more attractive investments than household names that serve larger markets.

License revenue is the best indication of current demand because it represents how much new software was sold during a given time. It's a very profitable source of revenue because software can be produced for almost nothing after it has been developed. Service revenue, which is the other major type of revenue that many software firms report, is less profitable because it's expensive to employ consultants to install software.

The low barriers to entry of the software industry contrast with high barriers to success – it's easy to start up a software firm, but it's much more difficult to create one that's still around after several years. Thus, look for software companies that have thrived during multiple business cycles and have solid results during both the peaks and valleys of IT spending.

The software industry is highly cyclical, with sales hinging on economic conditions and IT spending. The problem is that in good times software companies thrive, and in bad times they're some of the hardest hit. The primary reason for this cyclicality is that many corporations view software as a discretionary purchase that can be deferred in tough times. In other words, when the economy and business suffer, cutting IT spending is a quick way to buffer profit declines.

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