Cloud will be a critical driver for enterprise applications (EA) growth in Asia Pacific except Japan region (APeJ), according to a newly released IDC's Asia/Pacific Semiannual Enterprise Applications Tracker.

The APeJ enterprise applications software market grew 9% in 2012 but recorded only a mediocre growth of 5.1% in 2013.

Asian enterprises became cautious about their investment in 2013 despite their willingness to upgrade existing back-office applications to embrace the 3rd platform technologies such as cloud, analytics, mobility, and social.

The overall EA market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4% and reach US$9.5 billion in 2018.

"Enterprises are moving from an ad hoc deployment of cloud-based applications and other 3rd platform technologies, to a phase of strategic implementation," said Sabharinath Bala, research manager of IDC's Asia/Pacific Enterprise Application Software Research.

Double-digit growth

Markets like enterprise asset management, logistics, and procurement will record double-digit growth in the coming months.

Strong support is also expected from mature markets like financial accounting, human capital management, and inventory management.

SAP, Oracle, Yonyou, Infor, and Microsoft dominated the region from a market share perspective, but faced stiff competition by niche new players as well as the established SaaS/Cloud-based applications vendors.

Cornerstone OnDemand, Kronos, NetSuite, Workday, and Xero posted strong double-digit growth in 2013.

"Vendors that rely primarily on maintenance and upgrade revenue for their existing legacy systems will start losing relevance in the coming days," added Bala. "Vendors offering cloud-based systems capable of delivering the agility, flexibility, and scalability of the dynamic Asian businesses, will trump them in their own game."