The business services and enterprise software industry is facing more challenges than ever before. Several years of global financial pressure, along with intensifying competition and acquisitions, has changed the industry skyline, leaving once strong and independent companies either gone or gobbled up. Nevertheless, it’s the hope of many that all of the pain now being experienced will ultimately result in more efficient, cost effective, and technologically creative system and service offerings.

The primary reason for the existence of business service and enterprise software companies is the increasing complexity of the environment in which businesses must operate. Gone are the days when all it took to compete was a good product and a collection of dedicated people adding up the monthly results with pencil and paper. Businesses today must deal with a world where an increasing number of variables are related electronically, made possible by a dizzying array of hardware and software options. The complexity, of course, is not limited to office number crunching. It can take the form of sophisticated production and control operations, advanced communication networks, and a seemingly infinite collection of industry-specific systems and equipment.

The expertise required to sort through and implement all of the possibilities has become almost impossible for all but the biggest companies to consider handling in-house. Nearly everyone else has begun turning to outside services with the technical knowledge and connections to analyze the requirements and put together a workable answer, sometimes continuing with the implementation and management of the solution. This growing need has transformed the business services industry into a leviathan, generating hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

But the global recession, together with dramatic new technologies and approaches such as cloud computing, have challenged all but the strongest. Below are just a few of the large and small business services and enterprise software companies that continue to hold their own in an increasingly competitive environment.

• IBM (NYSE: IBM) – The granddaddy of business computing, IBM services virtually every industry and government application worldwide, and continues to drive new technologies.
• SAP (NYSE: SAP) – Considered the world’s leading provider of business software. With customers in more than 120 countries, SAP is known for enterprise resource planning and related applications such as supply chain management, customer relationship management, product life-cycle management, and supplier relationship management.
• Tata Consultancy Services (BOM: TCS) – Operating in the U.S, Europe, and India, the principal activity of TCS is providing information technology and business process outsourcing services, for such industries as banking and financial services, insurance, manufacturing, telecommunications, retail and transportation.
• Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) – Industry leader Oracle provides what it considers to be the most complete, open, and integrated business software and hardware systems in the world.
• Wipro Technologies (NYSE: WIT) – Wipro Technologies is a global IT services company that provides Consulting, Business Process Outsourcing, Business Technology Services, Enterprise Application Services, Infrastructure Management, Testing, Product Engineering, Engineering Design and Product Support, with services spread across a range of strategic domains.
• Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) – Offering the world’s leading open source application platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. Red Hat also offers consulting to help businesses migrating to its unique platform.
• QAD Inc. (NASDAQ: QADI) – An international manufacturing software company, QAD focuses on supply chain collaboration.
• RightNow Technologies (NASDAQ: RNOW) – RightNow offers cloud-based customer sales, service, and analytics, part of the growing trend toward cloud computing.

An obvious strength for any company attempting to present itself as an overall business solution provider is its ability to represent and work with a wide range of technologies and industries. One of the best examples of this is NetSol Technologies (NASDAQ: NTWK). Based outside of Los Angeles, NetSol has become a global leader in innovative customized systems management solutions for manufacturing, equipment distribution and usage in the field, as well as financing and retailing. Their suite of products and services include credit and finance portfolio management systems, hospital/healthcare information management systems (HIMS), SAP consulting and services, custom development, systems integration, and technical services. In short, they’ve grown by being able to tap a range of technologies and expertise. And today, that’s what business services is all about.

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