A wise person knows to never be the last person at a business holiday party. Things never go well for those who stay too late. And the next day can be really bad.Yet, far too many businesses stay way, way too long at their market party, focusing on the same strategy when they should move into new behaviors a whole lot earlier. They keep partying, becoming far too inebriated with current customers, missing important trends benefiting the more sober.This week Oracle missed earnings estimates, and the stock fell some 14%, from $30 to under $26. For the year, Oracle is down about a third, from it’s high of $37. The question any investor needs to ask is the one headlined by ZDnet.com “Oracle Earnings: An Aberration or Trend?”Oracle is very, very poorly positioned for future earnings growth. Like most big software companies, including Microsoft and SAP, Oracle built its business on the formula of large data centers running large “enterprise applications” supporting lots of independent corporate PC users.And it was clear fully a year (or 2) ago that market simply isn’t growing. Organizations are rapidly shifting away from hard to use, one-size-fits-all (at very high cost) enterprise software applications and large data centers. Users are moving away from PCs to mobile devices, and refusing to use clunky enterprise interfaces. Worse, software is moving away from data centers in client-server configurations tied to PCs.Instead, companies small and large are rapidly shifting to software-as-service (SAS) environments where the company can pay “by the use” for software maintained in the “cloud.” These solutions are scalable, cheaper to buy, cheaper to implement, vastly more flexible and operate on mobile devices a whole lot better. If you’ve ever used Salesforce.com you’ve experienced the benefit compared to more clunky enterprise Customer Resource Management (CRM) applications – like Seibel, purchased by Oracle in 2005 for just under $6B.Oracle missed this trend. Despite all the dozens of acquisitions Oracle has made – such as buying Unix hardware provider Sun Microsystems that sells to data centers, it largely missed the shift to cloud architectures. It has remained far, far too long at its enterprise customer party, enjoying the profit-laden punch, and hoping the market would never shift. As the customer base shrank to fewer, and ever larger, big corporations Oracle did not prepare for changes in its business the next day. Oracle has stayed too long, and its ability to compete in new markets against more flexible solution providers such as IFS with better user interface capabilities now looks really weak.Somehow, Best Buy fell into the same trap. In early December the country’s largest “big box” retailer announced lower earnings after cutting prices to shore up revenues. As a result the stock dropped 20%, from about $28 to $22 – continuing a consistent downhill slide all 2011, dropping nearly 40% from its high of $36.Best Buy felt like it was doing great after Circuit City failed. Circuit City had been a darling of the infamous “Good to Great” text. But Circuit City demonstrated that in a market dominated by a long-term trend away from fixed stores and toward on-line purchases, every retailer is bound to struggle. It’s not enough to have a hedgehog concept when market shifts take your customers elsewhere, and fixed costs kill your profits.When Circuit City failed in 2008 investors worried that a weak economy would tank Best Buy as well. But as all that Circuit City capacity disappeared, Best Buy was a short-term winner. Some customers switched to the “ other” big box company, increasing revenue at Best Buy even as the trend toward on-line accelerated at double-digit rates.