The choice of enterprise wide systems has never been so great, so full of promise…and complicated!
After years of predictable improvements the sector is undergoing significant disruption from new commercial models, more agile technology architectures and commercial innovation. Industry leaders SAP and Oracle are suffering increased competition from Microsoft Dynamics and recent entrants such as Salesforce.com and NetSuite.
We are often asked to provide independent guidance on strategies for ERP, both by organisations who have already implemented a solution and are concerned to maximise their investment, and those that have yet to determine their best solution.
Here are some of the things we help clients consider when building an ERP strategy:
- New Commercial models – The pricing model of SaaS replaces capital expenditures with subscription pricing and removes both the need to buy data center hardware and employ IT operational staff. This model reduces IT complexity while promoting ubiquitous access. Opensource ERP has now entered the market. This can allow per seat costs to be significantly less than the traditional incumbents. Vendors are also offering new licensing arrangements and new support options
- Hybrid or Two-tier ERP – ‘Two Tier’ approaches, combining legacy systems or Tier 1 ERP with the agile architectures available in modern systems like Microsoft Dynamics, can meet the Corporate centre’s needs for reporting whilst satisfying the smaller and emerging market divisions’ simpler business needs and lower cost requirements
- Mobile ERP – Some ERP vendors have responded to rapid growth in smartphone adoption by developing mobile interfaces for their applications
- Social Media Integration – Internal tools are being developed to foster greater collaboration among employees through integration with Facebook and Twitter, for example
- Single Global Instance vs Market specific Instances? – “Best of breed” application strategies for vertical-specific businesses are increasingly preferred, providing the opportunity to evaluate suppliers and their solutions to support different markets
- ERP analytics – Businesses are asking for usable and meaningful analytic data on enterprise wide business functions, often with autonomous market / division complexities.
Investigating the Hybrid Model
The Hybrid Model is becoming increasingly attractive to organisations who are decentralised, or have a mix of established / major markets, and new emerging, or growth markets. Often those new markets struggle to justify the investment required to adopt a Global Template / Standard, with the result that the global exploitation of a chosen ERP stalls.
We look at the options available to each client, with a view to providing an un-biased recommendation on the best approach: