Twenty companies to watch in 2010

We meet hundreds of interesting lesser-known vendors every year but we just don't have room to write about all of them. Here, with the help of analyst firm MWD Advisors, are some companies worth keeping an eye on next year

The Judges:
Angela Ashenden, principal analyst, MWD Advisors
Bola Rotibi, principal analyst, MWD Advisors
Neil Ward-Dutton, research director, MWD Advisors
Martin Veitch, Editor in Chief, CIO


Online communities firm Jive Software (www.jivesoftware.com) manages to bridge the gap - both in terms of its technology and its strategy - between the many startups in this market and the software giants. Its Social Business Suite provides a comprehensive set of capabilities, packaged in a solutions-based model that will enable the company to scale quickly and effectively. Jive is also unusual among smaller collaboration software players in that it targets buyers on the IT side, as well as business leaders, with strong messaging around hosting, integration and security, rather than focusing solely on end-user functionality. AA

Related:

Sonoa Systems (www.sonoasystems.com) is one of a clutch of small vendors focusing on helping companies manage and govern cloud-based services - specifically they provide a set of offerings that monitor, -analyse and govern quality-of-service related- to cloud APIs. This is a critical space, because application and platform security and reliability are key concerns for those looking to invest in cloud computing. It recently launched Apigee.com, a SaaS version of the technology, as a free taster. NWD

Nimbus Partners (www.nimbuspartners.com) is a UK-based specialist vendor in BPM and business transformation programmes. It doesn't take the full-on automation approach that most of the specialist tools vendors do: rather, it offers a capability that you might call ‘actionable knowledge management'. Authors use the tools to map out and solidify business processes; but rather than being automated at run-time these processes are made available to users as interactive guides.

Users can step through processes and call up guidance documentation, interact with back-end systems and so on - but the runtime system is lightweight, non-invasive and designed to keep the user very much in control of their own work environment. NWD

Original Software (www.origsoft.com) is a small testing vendor with good technology and customer reach. Possibly one to watch out for in the acquisition stakes. BR