Externally facing apps will be the flavour of 2004

According to this article in CRM Daily, a new Yankee Group survey found that 34 percent of I.T. spending this year will focus on outward-facing applications that improve customer and supplier interactions. Apparently they expect to see a shift away from internal applications, like ERP, HR, Financials, etc, towards externally focused ones. Another take-out from the survey was the vast preference for incumbent software providers. Microsoft, IBM and Oracle are the current industry leaders in this space (in that order), helping enterprises break traditional barriers and enable network-oriented business processes, such as RFID (radio frequency identification), extended supply-chain management and collaborative planning and logistics, as opposed to middleware players such as TIBCO and Webmethods.

"Not that there was no room for improvement. All three of the top vendors -- Microsoft, IBM and Oracle -- need to better assess edge demand."

Source: CRM Daily