The Village View

Friday, January 19, 2007

Focus on Public Sector

I've seen more focus on government sector lately; or at least more press releases, marketing, and quotes).

Saw this article today, Salesforce.com Eyes Public Sector Growth, which in fact talks not only about SFdC's interest in Public Sector, but also RightNow's. And why not, as the article states it's "estimated the federal government's overall technology budget will increase at a 4.4 percent compounded annual growth rate over the next five fiscal years..." Add onto that state and local governments, universities and other non-profits (often considered under the public sector umbrella for tech companies) and you've got an interesting vertical. Although, SFdC's chief strategy officer comes out with the totally objective insight that SaaS "is really the trend for the future," my gut would tell me that SaaS is likely a harder sell than on premise, at least to the federal government. I'm admittedly ignorant in this area, but mightn't there be increased security and privacy regulations, limiting off-site hosting of data, than for private sector customers?

Also, I recall that Larry mentioned Oracle's interest in public sector during the last earnings call: "We see that[referring to telco billing] as a growing business even in areas like government and the government sector, as they go ahead and modernize their systems. We think some of those specific government verticals are going to grow faster than the ERP portion..." Forrester sees Oracle's recent SPL acquisition as a move to compete with SAP in, among others, the public sector.

What about the home team? SAP has also shown an interest in the public sector vertical. A few months ago, SAP collaborated on a white paper with the Center for Technology in Government to develop a framework to determine public ROI of IT programs. Mid last year, SearchSAP.com stated that SAP was experiencing a "boom" in public sector. Recently, SAP had a win in the sector; SAP for Utilities will replace a legacy system at Dallas Water Utilities. Another Texas city, Houston, is also implementing SAP. So plenty going on here too.

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