Friday, October 31, 2008

Whither Go ERP Packaged Apps?

Judith Hurwitz recently wrote a great article entitled “Will Packaged Applications Sink Under Their Own Weight? Five Recommendations For Change”. Highly recommended reading, especially for Oracle and SAP apps users.

What appeals to me most about Judith’s article is that she has articulated very well the types of things that have been bubbling up in my own mind lately. Judith is actually a bit ahead of my own thinking, in that she has organized and clearly communicated those things that were just beginning to take shape for me. The old “best of breed” approach to ERP is an early solution iteration in response to the fundamental changes taking place in the ERP marketplace over the past eight or nine years.

Frank Scavo takes Judith’s ideas a step further with his own review of Judith's article, a blog post on the Enterprise System Spectator. Frank concludes that Judith, in her five recommendations, is essentially describing the essence of a service-oriented architecture. In my opinion, Frank hits the nail right on the head.

Now I’ll take it a step further. One of the risks inherent in SOA is the possibility of organizational stovepipes – organizational clusters, formed around processes or groups of processes, that fail to communicate with each other. While organizational stovepipes don’t necessarily need SOA in order to appear, the risk does seem to increase with an SOA environment. This is where social networking and Web 2.0 concepts come into play. Social networking, even behind an enterprise firewall, breaks down the organizational stovepipes by encouraging people to exchange ideas. Social networking keeps an enterprise communicating across functional boundaries even as the organization reforms around business processes. So maybe the realization of the value proposition of social networking in the enterprise is tied, at least in part, to the changes taking place in the ERP marketplace? Hmmmm…let me know what you think.

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