Independent software vendors or ISVs play an important role in today’s technology ecosystem. While traditionally seen as smaller players compared to large technology companies, ISVs are increasingly becoming strategic partners for many organizations. This article takes a look at the current landscape of ISVs and their growing impact.
What are ISVs?
A Brief History
Independent software vendors or ISVs are companies that develop, market and license software applications that run on major technology platforms. ISVs emerged in the 1970s as software began to be developed independently of hardware manufacturers. Early ISVs focused on developing productivity applications like word processors and spreadsheets to run on systems from manufacturers like IBM. Over time, ISVs expanded to leverage virtualization, cloud computing and other technologies. Today’s ISVs range from small startups to multi-billion dollar public companies.
Key Benefits of Partnering with ISVs
One of the key benefits that ISVs offer is specialized domain expertise. ISVs focus their resources and R&D efforts on developing solutions for a targeted industry or functional area. This allows them to build deep expertise that tech giants with broader portfolios cannot match. For example, ISVs have developed specialized solutions for industries like healthcare, manufacturing, education and more.
With their focused approach, ISVs are often more nimble and able to bring new solutions to market at a faster pace compared to large enterprises. They face less internal bureaucracy andcan pivot quickly based on customer and market feedback. This allows ISVs to keep innovating and stay ahead of the curve in their domains of focus.
As technology ecosystems become more complex, ISVs play an important role in extending the capabilities of platforms from vendors like Microsoft, AWS and Google Cloud. Recognizing this, technology giants actively partner with and support ISVs. This allows ISVs to build on top of major platforms, extending their value for joint customers.
The Changing ISV Landscape
Transition to SaaS
Like many industries, ISVs are increasingly transitioning from licensed software products to subscription-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models. Offering applications as cloud services lowers barriers for customers while allowing ISVs to generate more predictable recurring revenue streams. Today, the majority of new applications from ISVs are cloud-native SaaS solutions.
Emerging Platforms Drive Opportunity
Emergence of platforms like low-code/no-code environments have democratized software development, lowering entry barriers for new ISVs. At the same time, cloud platforms allow ISVs to quickly launch and scale innovative new solutions. This is driving more entrepreneurs and developers to establish independent software ventures to capitalize on emerging technologies.
Acquisitions on the Rise
With the increasing importance of software across industries, larger tech companies have been on an acquisition spree to enhance their portfolios. In 2021 alone, Microsoft acquired Xandr, Nuance and Activision Blizzard totaling over $70 billion. Many of these acquisitions are of specialized ISVs that bring domain expertise and applications. This trend is likely to continue as markets consolidate.
The Growing Influence of ISVs
As Independent software vendors the examples above illustrate, ISVs play a dual role in the technology ecosystem – focusing on deep domain expertise while extending the value of major platforms. This positioned them for an increasingly strategic role versus just being ‘smaller players’. Looking ahead, expect ISVs to continue innovating in specialized domains and gaining more influence through partnerships with leading technology companies. Their role in accelerating digital transformation through focused applications is clearer than ever before.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it