20 December 2009

ERP Software Predictions for 2010

    Again on Panorama Consulting Group’s 360 ° Blog post on Top Ten ERP Software Predictions for 2010. Sorry, given the current economical context, excepting the eventual acquisition moves and few sporadic attempts to change something in ERP vendors’ strategy I don’t feel anything big coming for the next year. Most probably ERP vendors like any other companies will be more focused on cutting down losses, reducing the headcount, introducing one or two features in their products, maybe putting on hold some of the projects they are working on unless immediate profit is expected, the shift changing from “thinking big” to “focused thinking”, keeping the flag up.

    It’s true that the crisis we are going through stresses the importance of having tangible benefits after implementing an ERP solution, cutting down the costs, breaking such projects in easily chewing pieces in the attempt of reducing the risks and obtaining results faster, though whether phased rollouts is best approach for that it’s more a philosophical question. Even more, an ERP solution is just a piece of the puzzle, you have to consider in the end the overall infrastructure, the many other systems floating around as isolated islands, the culture of people, the maturity of the business, and maybe the most important - the means by which an ERP system could be leveraged to higher level of performance, and maybe this is the best factor considered when calculating the ROI; however you can’t achieve that if you’re not having in place adequate (business intelligence) tools and mindset to derive benefit out of your ERP system! Maybe that’s the direction CIOs have to follow – striving for performance and eliminating waste, thinking lean and green, sustaining business value.

    The crisis stressed also the importance of having in place adequate risk management, though that have been on managers’ plate since several good years, and if they ignored it until now, most probably they won’t change things over night, as some experience and again mindset is required in order to get things right.

    I agree on the increased adoption of SaaS by SMBs, though I wonder if that can be achieved at large scale, how SMBs will deal with specific requirements, how they will integrate the SaaS ERP solution with the existing systems. I don’t think the ERP and SaaS market is mature enough to address the challenges concerning the merging of the two solutions, of course that don’t mean that attempts won’t be made in this direction.

    For small vendors will be difficult to enter on a market dominated of giants like Oracle and SAP, it takes lot of time and effort to come up with a feasible ERP system, maybe small vendors can better address the requirements of SMBs by offering more customized solutions, better and cheaper support than big vendors do. Everything is possible, first of all you need to have a good product, a good marketing strategy, gain customers’ trust and maintain it over time.

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