My friends, the above is an infographic of 547 human resource (HR) software products across 17 categories. It was created by the smart folks at Capterra, and you can click here to view a larger version on their site.
So why am I posting it here? Two reasons.
First, the overlap between marketing and HR is more important than ever — marketing, like software development, is a profession of acquiring, empowering, and inspiring talent. So marketing leaders should be aware of the many innovative software tools out there to help them with that mission.
And second: to point out that the explosive marketing technology landscape isn’t as unusual as it may seem.
I know a lot of people consider the current marketing technology landscape, of around 2,000 or so marketing technology vendors, to be an aberration. An anomaly. A momentary bubble in the space-time continuum that is bound to pop — any minute now. No reasonable software market should look like this, I’ve been assured by many serious people.
I appreciate the desire for massive consolidation, I really do. And from the history of the software industry from last century, that would seem to be a logical conclusion to draw.
But as I explained in a rather detailed article earlier this year — the system dynamics of 2,000+ marketing technology vendors — I’m not sure that today’s environment is being shaped by the same forces that ruled the software industry from the 1980’s or 1990’s.
I think we’re in terra incognita.
Yes, we may see the space consolidate dramatically. But then again, we may not. I can imagine scenarios on the far extreme — in a digital world, every company becomes a software company to some degree. Or, more likely, I can envision any of a multitude of possible points along a continuum between those two poles.
We can debate the future endlessly — until it actually arrives. But the empirical evidence of today suggests that the marketing technology landscape is still expanding, not contracting. “The Big Crunch” may be just over the horizon, but it’s not here yet.
To me, this HR software landscape is second piece of empirical evidence that the dynamics of software markets in today’s SaaS/PaaS/IaaS, open source environment are different than the enterprise software industry of the 20th century.
One industry exploding with software choices could be an anomaly.
Two industries exploding with software choices hints more towards a trend.