10 ERP deployments show that megaprojects are standing strong--though they've changed in focus and function.

Laurie Sullivan, Contributor

July 8, 2005

9 Min Read

FedEx didn't start out with a global deployment of its PeopleSoft applications, so it, too, began with multiple instances of the software. But as FedEx learned ERP and got better at it, the company concluded that it didn't want to manage all those instances. "There is so much to be gained on this common set of practices that we began to shrink those into single instances," Struminger says.

Going forward, companies like these are considering how to take advantage of the next set of changes coming from vendors. These include Oracle's plans to add business insight via embedded analytics and management reporting in its own applications as well as those it has acquired from PeopleSoft, and SAP's move to component-based architectures for its NetWeaver middleware. "NetWeaver is very interesting to us," says Gorriz of DaimlerChrysler, describing an "ideal world" in which NetWeaver is able to be combined with Java extensions to easily integrate other applications and trading partners.

Microsoft is garnering increasing interest as an ERP vendor, as well, taking its place among the top five suppliers in terms of ERP revenue in 2004. The vendor plans to transition its Axapta, Great Plains, Navision, and Solomon ERP platforms to a common architecture and code base in the next few years.

Obviously, there's always more to do on companies' venerable ERP platforms. "There is no steady state for ERP, because you're always looking for upgrades and improvements," says Whirlpool's Sezer. "As new business developments continue, so will the implementations."

-- with Jennifer Zaino and Beth Bacheldor

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