Everything evolves, so is ERP

Friday, February 17, 2012

Recently, I received a forward note from my friend about an article "The End of ERP", however could not agree with key point mentioned in the article and hence thought of sharing my view points.

Any high tech product, whether hardware or software evolves over period of time, one would normally end up getting a better product by features and easier in use over certain period of time. Now to the topic of discussion, ERP had evolved over period of time. It was started as MRP(Manufacturing industry) and mainly in a mainframe environment, in early 90's with advent of client / server technology it evolved into ERP with finance based modules introduced. Still remember the days, in late 90's when ERP did not have modules to support marketing or sale activity and generally it started, with the business flow from order processing.

With Internet boom starting from year 2000 onwards, saw ERP vendors venturing into 3 tier architecture of browser, middle tier and DB tier. Naturally, when field force like sales and service can access ERP system from anywhere the ERP module footprint got extended into sales, service, CRM etc. All this time, the server and  application had to be procured and owned. In the last few years, a new paradigm is getting evolved in the form of cloud or subscription based computing model, where the company need not procure IT asset. This concept is catching up slowly, but may not be without challenges particularly if data is related to financial / statutory requirement. Some countries, may not allow a company financial transaction data to be stored in a different country due to statutory requirement.

These days with even business intelligence part being integrated with ERP, the ERP module footprint getting wider across industries with standard industry specific modules built and put to use. Hence, one cannot compare features across modules of ERP with specific functionality of sales and further ERP module footprints and features will evolve over period of time.

The cloud computing or subscription based model is more to do with where and how data is stored and accessed or its about the ownership of IT infrastructure. Hence, I feel this yard stick cannot be used to compare the specific products or its features.

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