Every new economy recovery and boom brings new type of business paradigm. It is true about economy in general as well as every market niche. General economic development should be left over to the economists and philosophers to review. Here we will try to draw the trends as we see them through the golden Clinton era time to the recession of 2000-2004 and now economy recovery for ERP consulting company. In our case we are Microsoft Business Solutions and IBM Lotus partner. This small article is not intended to become an initial topic for the discussion – it is rather targeted for ERP client to analyze the trends in our industry and make right decision on the system and business partner:
• ERP market consolidation. As ERP (Accounting, Logistics, Distribution, Warehouse Management, etc) become more and more mature product, we see less and less attempts to build new ERP package from scratch again – it would seem as reinventing the bicycle. We see the consolidation on the mid-market level: Microsoft Business Solutions: Microsoft CRM, Great Plains, Navision, Axapta and Best Software: MASXXX. When large companies serve mid-market through their VARs and implementation partners – the barrier to enter into the niche increases and it is difficult to start new business, targeted to midmarket clients: certification, initial purchase/investment, etc.
• VARs consolidation. When we saw large number of independent Great Plains Software resellers, competing fiercely with each other (especially in Los Angeles and suburbs) – consulting rates were on the relatively low level ($130 per hour) and you, as a potential customer could get a deal on the software price discount. When recession hit the market, customers placed the hold on new ERP purchases as well as new computer equipment, this trend left ERP consulting companies without cash flow and forced them either close the doors or merge with auditing firms to survive. New conglomerates dictate higher consulting rates and stay firm with the software pricelist. This strange fact leaves huge opportunity for opening new businesses simply hoping to provide decent service with small company low overheads
• Consulting Paradigm Change. If you read classical business consulting literature, you can learn that 1960th were the time of business consulting, when you were going to the client to train them in classical marketing, management, accounting, etc. Universities took it over and all these disciplines soon become imbedded into the standard knowledge set of the university graduates. In the earlier 1990th consultant was onsite at the client place to train users to use ERP application. Now we have universities doing this job and employer is hiring graduates trained to use one or another ERP. Now we expect technical and application consulting combination, especially considering next bullet
• Different Platforms Harmony. In 1990th such platforms as Windows, Macintosh, Unix (Linux, Solaris, AIX) considered counterparts as enemies and were fighting for the market to take over. Little by little they become to the conclusion that they all have rights to the existence and they need to communicate to each other in order to survive. Such inventions as multiplatform Java/EJB/J2EE, XML, HTML, JSP prove the future harmony. For the ERP consultant it means that she/he should be familiar with the competitors and be ready to suggest the integration between the platforms
• Offshoring. This is really dangerous trend for the folks who are trying to make the career of the computer programmer in the States or Continental Europe. However most of these guys are from India, Russia, Pakistan, East Europe, Philippines, Brazil, so instead of giving up – go ahead and launch your own practices and deploy the expertise of your overseas friends. Manufacturing is now went offshore – now it is time for the programming to go offshore.
Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer in Alba Spectrum Technologies – USA nationwide Great Plains, Microsoft CRM customization company, serving Chicago, California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, New York, Australia, UK, Canada, Continental Europe, Russia and having locations in multiple states and internationally ( http://www.albaspectrum.com ), he is Dexterity, SQL, C#.Net, Crystal Reports and Microsoft CRM SDK developer.