What is Happening? There is little doubt that the technologies and capabilities of Cloud, Mobility, Social IT and Advanced Analytics (CMSA) promise great value to user enterprises. Few enterprises of any type or size are not actively pursuing each.

And according to the latest research from Saugatuck, enterprise executives expect significant competitive value from each as well. In our Q1 global Cloud IT survey this year, we asked participants to “please indicate how important each of the following technologies are to your company’s competitiveness over the next 24 months.” Figure 1 aggregates the percentages of survey responses ranking each as “Very Important” or “Extremely Important” – rankings that have, over the years, been reliable indicators of imminent investment.

Figure 1: Ranking CMSA Competitive Value

Source: Saugatuck Technology Inc., 1Q2013 global web survey; n = 218

CMSA is truly a simultaneously evolving set of services and capabilities, helping to change enterprise IT from a monolithic entity into sets of loosely-coupled, complementary services.

But as much value as each of these provides (or is expected to provide), even greater value is seen from combining them with each other, and with business management applications software and processes in key enterprise systems. Figure 2 summarizes our survey data regarding how business and IT leaders see combinations of Mobile, Social and Advanced Analytics with enterprise business systems as adding the greatest business value to the enterprise. The higher the percentage, the more survey participants see business value.

Figure 2: The Integrated Value of CMSA with Enterprise Business Systems

Source: Saugatuck Technology Inc., 1Q2013 global web survey; n = 218

Clearly, Cloud-based Mobile, Social, and Advanced Analytics are seen as relatively less beneficial to business when used individually (in most cases) than when used in combination with each other, and as part of enterprise business systems. In short, while Mobility, Social IT and Advanced Analytics each have intrinsic value, that value is typically multiplied with coordinated use.

Why is it Happening? With past IT architectures, single or serial evolutionary trends tended to define the evolution, and IT became more and more focused on (obsessed with?) tightly-integrated technologies and systems. This grew through the almost manic progression of 1990s-era distributed and client-server architectures, which brought increased scrutiny on IT costs, resulting in edicts to standardize and integrate, which in turn led to a renewed emphasis on tightly-coupled architectures and technologies.

What makes the combination of CMSA different is that buyers, users, and increasingly some IT leaders are starting to see the potential value and utility of systems, technologies, and business operations that are only loosely-coupled and not tightly integrated. Integration is readily available and reasonably affordable in the form of Cloud-delivered services that alleviate many requirements for tightly-coupled technologies and systems. Cloud Integration services also expand the choice for building out certain capabilities beyond the traditional vendors of complicated, pre-built solutions and heavy customization, toward building a functional alternative from a variety of better suited products from different vendors without the tight coupling at their core.

The high value of Analytics, both alone and when combined with other capabilities and systems, is easy to understand, as the ability to better analyze and then utilize business data has long been a goal of IT and business leaders. In short Analytics almost intrinsically adds value everywhere. Mobility enables greater reach and utility of most business systems; and Social IT enables improved collaboration, which in turn adds value by improving group and resource communication and coordination. And with Cloud, they can often be added, used, and removed as needed –an additional value from the inherent flexibility of loosely-coupled, Cloud-based services.

Finally, more CMSA offerings are being architected with multiple, often open, standards-based interfaces that enable them to work with a wider array of business systems and data. They are enabling Mobile, Social and Analytics capabilities that recently cost significant amounts of additional money when included with traditional software (and didn’t always work as well as needed or expected). Buyers have wanted some combinations of these capabilities for years; making them available cheaply via Cloud has accelerated and expanded their adoption and use.

For an extended version of this Research Alert, visit Saugatuck Technology.