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The incredible shrinking system

Alan Cane
Financial Times
14 May 2009 

The clamour of small and medium sized companies for the improved productivity and efficiency that was once the preserve of big organisations with deep pockets and plenty of hired help is changing the market for enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

But over-ambitious targets and poor project management, the bane of software development everywhere, still dog companies in their search for business improvement, creating horror stories, which, some experts say, unfairly damage the credibility of the systems that should be their salvation.

Extracts from the article

Tim Welburn, an IT expert with PA Consulting, points out that for many companies, ERP installation has been traumatic. “They have derived little benefit, have often taken multiple attempts at delivery and spent millions of pounds to implement fairly ordinary solutions that do little more than what was already in place,” he says.

“This view of the large, costly and painful ERP implementation puts fear into mid-market organisations.”

But things are changing, he says. “Smaller ERP providers are expanding and starting to challenge the established vendors. Conversely, the larger ERP vendors now provide functionality in manageable modules with service-oriented and hosted solutions.

“These two approaches are meeting in the middle, where falling ERP costs, increased competition from suppliers, modern agile architectures and a more mature delivery capability are resulting in fewer project failures.”

It seems clear that if ERP is successfully to be deployed by businesses small as well as large, more than a simple name change will be required.


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