If you were doing an IT Job in early and mid-1990s, you would remember the Euphoria around ERP systems. Almost every organization wanted to implement an ERP system so that they have an integrated view of their processes, business applications and financial data. Lot of organizations, consultancies as well as product companies benefitted during that phase of ERP implementations across the globe with US leading the way and Europe not far behind. Especially consulting organizations had a windfall of revenue just because they could package their services along-with Business Process Reengineering and ERP product implementation capabilities which included customization abilities too. Customization became a new tool to make money by consultants and the cost of customization and support for an ERP project started going through the roof sometimes hitting 5 times the size of implementation fees.
ERP has come full circle in last 20-25 years and realization in client organizations as well as ERP product organizations, that customization is not the right way to go, started bringing changes in the solution and the way it was used. ERPs now became liabilities instead of assets because of inabilities to peacefully upgrade or take advantage of a new functionality in product as some or other customization is blocking it to be used in some or other way. The product organizations started a new trend of cloud with leaders like Oracle and SAP leading the pack by introducing products like Fusion Applications or Line of Business SaaS respectively. The new age is talking only about Cloud based ERPs (mainly Software as a Service Model) and the old guard is expected to give way. The ERP (on premise model) has started dying as all incremental applications have already started moving to Cloud which will be followed by the core business processes also making their way out of organization owned data centres.
If you are a services organization, it is highly likely that you already have a plan to kill existing ERP and move to cloud (do you?) but if you are a manufacturing company or a trading organization that deals with mainly products and assets, you still are waiting for others to take the plunge first. It is expected that there will be around 8-10 years difference in ERP life at services organizations and manufacturing organizations as ERPs traditionally have done a good job in mapping the processes and delivering results for a manufacturing company rather than a services company, but the end is near for sure.
The big questions are: Are you ready? What is your plan? Are you still struggling to fix business analytics reports based on ERP because of data integrity issues or have started thinking to move to state of the art best in breed applications on cloud that that have their own analytics capabilities?
Is it really the time to shed your love for existing ERP that you implemented, nurtured and supported all these years or it is time to move on and take on new challenges so that your organization can be early mover and can take a competitive advantage using new technology?