Why enterprise software will never be the same

SaaS, social networking and key acquisitions changed the landscape in 2011

By , IDG News Service |  Software

Workday announced the Kimberly-Clark deal in December. The consumer goods company is launching a global rollout of Workday's HCM (human capital management) software that will serve 57,000 workers.

While large companies have used SaaS in areas such as CRM (customer relationship management), human resources functionality lies closer to the core of ERP. It remains to be seen whether Workday manages to replace Oracle or SAP financials software with its own financials offering in large enterprises, but that's certainly its intent, as well as a threat to incumbents.

SAP's decision to buy SuccessFactors reflects this dynamic and can be seen as a defensive move. Over the years, SuccessFactors has landed even bigger deals than Workday for its HCM offerings, including a 420,000-seat pact with Siemens. Now SAP will look to upsell the rest of its ample portfolio into the SuccessFactors installed base.

SaaS ERP gains more ground

A series of announcements made last year are set to significantly increase the options for on-demand ERP next year and beyond.

In April, Microsoft announced that all four of its Dynamics ERP suites would be offered on its Azure cloud service. Microsoft "planting a flag in SaaS ERP validates players already in the field," such as NetSuite and SAP's Business ByDesign, said China Martens, an analyst at Forrester Research.

Salesforce.com also edged into ERP this year through partnerships with Infor and Workday, which built upon its previous collaboration with Unit 4 Agresso on FinancialForce.com, an accounting service.

Infor buys Lawson, venture firm grabs Epicor and Activant as ERP rollup continues

Infor's move in March to buy Lawson Software for roughly $2 billion "is a significant story in ERP because Infor is looking to step up as a third major competitor to Oracle and SAP," said Forrester Research Vice President Paul Hamerman. "A third key enterprise apps competitor has been missing since Oracle acquired PeopleSoft."

The purchase made Infor the third-largest ERP vendor after SAP and Oracle, and came not long after the appointment of CEO Charles Phillips, a former co-president of Oracle who was known for his role in that company's long run of acquisitions.

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