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“The ERP Orchestra: A Beautiful Listening Experience” by Paul Saunders

by Debbie Wilson  |  June 1, 2020  |  Comments Off on “The ERP Orchestra: A Beautiful Listening Experience” by Paul Saunders

As companies are looking to build the flexibility and
agility into their operations that Postmodern ERP and Enterprise Business
Capabilities (EBC) has talked about for years, there is an interesting dynamic
taking place.

Business boundaries are blurring; the distinctions between
who is an ERP company, a service provider, a hyperscaler, a systems integrator is
harder to determine.

The ERP orchestra is made up of all of these pieces and even
though some instruments and musicians will change over time, the orchestra must
adapt to play any piece of music with a sound that is melodic, harmonious and

All vendors and providers want, and need, to be an important
part of their customers’ orchestras.

Many vendors are realizing that the customer’s ecosystem (the
orchestra) is more important than their product alone (a single instrument). They
are shifting to a co-enablement strategy from a defensive one. However there
remain some who insist on trying to own the entirety of the stack, trying to lock
in customers through licensing and proprietary technology, rather than by being
a critical, valued and trusted partner. They want to play in the customer’s
orchestra but dictate the music, the tempo and the arrangement. They are the
brass section that wants to play during the piano solo.

ERP vendors, system integrators, ISVs etc. – you are so
critical right now for your customers. You must focus on the customer first,
then your partnerships, then your company. In that order. The days of being My
company-centric instead of My customer-centric are over. Be the certainty that
your customers need right now. If you are the first chair violinist work hard
to keep your place but understand that you are but one of a larger orchestra.

ERP customers – select and partner with those companies that
have your, and your customers, best interests at heart. If you expect your
vendors to change the relationship with you, you must also change the
relationship with them. It is your eco-system, not theirs. You decide who gets
to participate, but you must change your mindset and practices too. Transactional
vendor relationships don’t provide the outcomes you will need. You are the
conductor of the orchestra; you don’t get the best results by continually
beating the first chair violinist or by telling the cello to play Shostakovich
while the piano plays Stockhausen.

The ERP orchestra is dynamic. It adapts and responds to the
needs of the listener. The instruments change, the composers change, the
musicians change, but the orchestra focuses on the music and the listener’s

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Deborah R Wilson
Managing Vice President, ERP Strategy Team
12 years at Gartner
20 years IT industry

Deborah Wilson, a recovering Gartner research analyst, leads the Gartner ERP strategy research team. Read Full Bio

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