This is Part 8 of a 9 Part Series on the History of ERP.
2010s: The Great Cloud Migration
The 2010s witnessed another major shift as ERP vendors race to move their systems to the web. Many had already done this in the 2000s but most traditional ERP vendors were waiting to see if cloud computing would really take off. It did. As of November 2016 we continue to talk about the cloud and benefits to ERP users and it’s not looking like it’s going to stop anytime soon.
The 2010s were eerily reminiscent of the past. What I mean by this is that the 1990s saw older vendors trying feverishly to update their products for Windows with a new graphical user interface. This is similar to what we’ve been experiencing for the past few years as the vendors and products of the 19990s are being ported and redesigned for the cloud. Is this just more lipstick on a newer pig? In some cases – yes. In others, no.
The smaller the ERP vendor, the more likely they are simply hosting their ERP software and touting it as “cloud.” The larger vendors are truly moving their products to the cloud and investing heavily in the redesign of their products to run online across data centers that are often separated by oceans.
The fastest growing enterprise software vendors in the past few years are easily NetSuite and Salesforce.com and we’ve seen so many others that have come of age including FinancialForce, Acumatica, Intacct, Kenandy, Workday, and Plex.
But a funny thing is happening with the next generation of enterprise ERP applications – they’re paving the way for what appears to be a completely new wave of entrepreneurs to do some amazing things. It’s now easier than ever for anyone to develop a small app that can connect to multiple ERP systems (assuming they know what they’re doing) and it’s so much easier for them to promote the app on the web that new products are literally showing up every single day. Go to an ERP conference this year, mark down all the exhibitors and then go back next year and see who’s gone and how many new vendors are at the show. I’ve been doing this for the past several years and there is are relatively few who are no longer there but there are dozens of new vendors and products added to the show annually.
There are also a lot more standards out there in respect to software design and integration that are also making it easier for best of breed to make a strong come back in the market and we expect this to continue. Given that so many newer players have grown as pure-play SaaS vendors – we fully expect for continued M&A as the next generation of ERP vendors clamor to increase the functionality in their relatively young products.
To be honest, the market has been relatively quiet since 2010 but we have a feeling that things are really going to change as we prepare ourselves for the 2020s.
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