The customer-engagement application market is projected to be among the fastest growing across industries between 2013 and 2018, according to “Enterprise Application Software Market Forecasts,” from analyst firm Ovum. This trend is corroborated by Ovum's “ICT Enterprise Insights” report, which found growth was the top priority, followed by greater customer focus, compliance, cost reduction, and innovation, across a global population of 6,698 enterprises.

Sales of e-commerce and customer relationship management applications are forecasted to increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 percent in that period, Ovum said, and enterprise applications that support innovation, such as product lifecycle management (PLM) and innovation management platforms, are forecasted to grow 8 percent CAGR over the same period.

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“Globalization and disruptive technologies – particularly social networks, cloud computing and mobile – have had a massive impact, raising customer, consumer, and citizen expectations and giving them greater power,” says Jeremy Cox, principal analyst, customer engagement, Ovum. “This, plus a strong focus on cost reduction through IT modernization and fierce competition for customers, is leading organizations to invest in their ability to adapt quickly enough to remain relevant to consumers.”

Ovum’s software and IT services forecasts are segmented by current market definitions, Ovum said, and include spend and compound growth rates broken down by region, country level and vertical market, as well as rankings of top vendors with their market shares and year-on-year growth.

Manufacturing and health care verticals will be the biggest spenders by 2018, Ovum said. Health care investment will nearly double between 2012 and 2018 to $22.9 billion from $12.2 billion.

China, India, Brazil and the Middle East and Africa region indicate CAGRs of between 13 percent and 16 percent. Europe and the United States have the lowest, with 7 percent and 8 percent, Ovum said.

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