ERP Suites Have Caught Up,but There Is Still Room for Specialists!
Contributed by Neev Technologies on 12 Dec 2011
The ERP giants have enhanced their products greatly over the past few years, so their functionality matches the specialists in most criteria and even exceeds it in others. Many enterprises with relatively simple, consistent ERP landscapes will not look beyond their incumbent, deciding that qualities such as brand, financial strength, and ease of integration will outweigh any (alleged) functional deficiencies. Alternatively, many procurement executives will also consider eProcurement specialists who may deliver:
- Faster supplier enablement and better supplier support. The ERP suites’ P2P model assumes that suppliers will flock to an enterprise’s supplier portal without needing much persuasion. This approach won’t work for all companies — many find that their suppliers resist pressure to transact manually via multiple customers’ websites. The eProcurement specialists provide tools, expertise, processes, and resources to connect clients with their suppliers.
- Wider user adoption, thanks to a superior user experience. The ERP giants’ early attempts at eProcurement lacked usability, so many of the specialists grew by providing better catalog management and search front ends to ERP’s purchasing modules. However, although the bestof-breeds still stay slightly ahead, the suites have largely closed the usability gap.
- Category-specific expertise. Basic catalog search and shopping cart creation are commodity features, but most of the problems come from the complex categories that generic products cannot support very well. Most products let you tailor input forms and workflows, but some specialists have developed productized solutions for these difficult areas, and these may be the most important differentiator in your decision.
Reference: Forrester Research
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