Happy New Year dear readers and I hope 2011 is filled with success for you all. With the New Year come resolutions and predictions and I've read more than a few. So staying with the theme, I thought I'd venture a few predictions of my own on the information and cloud industries just for fun.
Prediction 1 - Organizational shake up at Thomson Reuters Markets. Although the A-Team group's Andrew Delaney has been on this since mid-last year, I think this year is where changes finally occur. An influx of external talent into the Enterprise and Sales & Trading organizations, a major sales re-org kicked off this year and poor performance by some of the Investment & Advisory segments leads me to think some shuffling is due. Sources also tell me of a general hiring freeze through Q1 of 2011 which also has preceded organizational changes in the past, seems to indicate some shifting of the deck-chairs.
Prediction 2 - Factset finally expands into Investment Banking with more gusto. Reading through the recent Factset filings indicate they have been steadily investing into their stable of content assets with high value into the IB space. Enhancements to the ex-TF Worldscope data (now called Factset Fundamentals), new issues, M&A data as well as other PE/VC data sets, seem to indicate they are ready to go after the junior banker/knowledge worker space. They might not have all the necessary assets for the senior banker but their partnership with Dow Jones supports that sub-segment.
Prediction 3 - InfoGroup enters the financial services space. Clare Hart, CEO of InfoGroup, is too smart and too experienced not to. Add to it her recent hire Gemma Postlethwaite from Thomson Reuters to run products and content, tells me they are shifting from serving only the sales and marketing segments. Ms. Postlethwaite has significant experience in the Investment Banking space and built the latest Thomson Reuters Banking desktop product. As well, her experience in managing the data alliances for the Investment & Advisory division of Thomson Reuters more recently, gives her insight into the other competitors and their relative content strengths. Its a good hire and indicates to me Infogroup to make a push into financial services, specifically in Investment Banking before year end.
Prediction 4 - Market data accelerates into the cloud - and not through big name vendors. As I've mentioned before, smaller cloud-based 'data vendors' are starting to appear to support off-trade floor uses of market data. This is the year one or two make their presence known. While the name vendors - Thomson Reuters and IDC mainly - invest in a 'market data cloud' themselves, I expect firms of all sizes look to other providers. Firms are already realizing the 'standardized' data product of the vendors is limiting and in often interferes with their data strategies. Access to raw, "as prepared" data directly from sources, rather than the packaged data through data vendors, will become increasingly in demand and impact on big-box vendors adversely. A couple firms will start to break-through and will start to erode large vendor revenues for off-trade floor data needs.
Prediction 5 - Apple acquires Salesforce.com. With Mr. Jobs health in question, Apple will need a strong voice and leader to support if not replace Mr. Jobs for the overall good of the company. As Microsoft has shown, putting a good operations guy in the number 1 seat doesn't lead to maintaining a leadership position and innovation. These company traits start at the top and Mr. Benioff's resume is solid enough to replace Mr. Jobs. As I said in a prior post, back in June of last year, the tie-up of Apple and SFDC complete both firms and puts them as the sole competitor to Microsoft, outside of search and gaming. SFDC sees the iPad and Apple technology platforms as the clear winner and placed a firm-wide bet on the Apple products. However, should Mr, Jobs condition be debilitating, and we hope it is not for nothing else than for him and his family's sake, Apple will need to find a new head as the firm faces increased competition on its core businesses and seeks to expand into the enterprise market. That search for a new CEO should start and end with Mr. Benioff.
There you have it, 5 fearless predictions for 2011. Appreciate comments on any or all of them, but we will see in 12 months time if any are actually accurate. If anyone has any predictions of their own, love to hear them.
Until next time....