I’ve just finished reading the first part of Computerworld ‘The future of ERP‘ story. It’s a long article, well written, and puts several good questions on the table – is the vision of ERP, as a single, central application, managing all data as well as business transactions , dead? Did the latest economic crisis, along with the advent of disruptive technologies (cloud computing and open source ERP) made CIO re-think their entire ERP strategy?
Large enterprises, deeply invested in current SAP or Oracle implementations, despite being sunk deep to their throats in yearly maintenance fees,are not likely to abandon their multi-million dollars investment for a different solution (a SaaS ERP or an open source ERP offering), according to the story. What is happening is a change in the dynamics between the megavendors – SAP and Oracle – and their customers, as large customers are able to re-negotiate maintenance fees, which have become a sour point in the ERP vendor-customer relationship.
The story also sees customers opting for an integrated solutions – both traditional, heavy duty ERP backends, as well as easier to implement ERP solutions – again, open source or SaaS offerings, which are more suitable for smaller plants or remote offices.
The good (actually great) news for the open source ERP industry is that finally, open source ERP solutions are considered as a viable alternative to the large, propritery solutions. A couple of years ago, the foollowing paragraph would not have been written:
Do they stick with their PeopleSoft, R/3, eBusiness Suite, JDE or other aged ERP versions inching closer to losing support from the vendors (and, conceivably go off that vendor’s maintenance and support services, moving to a third-party); or take the plunge on a new and different ERP package, such as a cloud-based or open-source suite?