|Oklahoma Land Rush|
For those unfamiliar with US history, in 1889 the US government opened unoccupied lands in Oklahoma to settlement. Settlers could claim up to 160 acres, live on and improve the land, and then legally obtain title to it. Such an opportunity led to a land rush,
in which thousands of settlers raced into Oklahoma to make their claims.
Today, cloud ERP is like Oklahoma in 1889, mostly unoccupied land, and there is a race as cloud vendors rush in. NetSuite and Plex were two early settlers. Today NetSuite has more acreage (number of customers), while Plex has fewer acres but more development of those acres (functionality)--at least in manufacturing. Cloud-only providers such as Rootstock, Kenandy, AscentERP, Acumatica, Intacct, and SAP (ByDesign) are also in the race. Traditional providers such as Microsoft Dynamics, Infor, Epicor, Oracle, UNIT4, and QAD have also entered the land rush, although they are moving more slowly, as they need to pull wagons full of their traditional on-premises software along with them.
In the larger suite of enterprise applications, such as CRM and HCM, the land rush is further along. Salesforce for CRM and Workday for HCM have already staked out large claims and are rapidly developing them. But Microsoft with Dynamics CRM, SAP with SuccessFactors, and Oracle with its Fusion HCM are also adding to their acreage. Core ERP functionality, on the other hand, is earlier in the land rush. There is still a lot of open territory with a lot of unclaimed land.
FinancialForce Staking Its Claim
One provider that is clearly in the land rush is FinancialForce, which today announced new branding to signal its claim in cloud ERP.
The company is now referring to its suite of enterprise applications as FinancialForce ERP
. The new branding is necessary
because FinancialForce long ago ceased to be a provider only of
financial management systems.
FinancialForce previously added professional
services automation to its portfolio and late last year acquired Less
Software, which provides inventory management and order. Vana
Workforce is another acquisition from last year, which adds human
capital management (HCM) functionality. FinancialForce also added its
own functionality in areas outside of financials, such as advanced
quoting and revenue recognition. With this broader footprint,
FinancialForce now qualifies as a cloud ERP provider.
Building on the
Salesforce.com platform, FinancialForce has direct integration to the
Salesforce cloud applications as well as to all of the other providers
in Salesforce's AppExchange marketplace. The recent evolution of this
platform to Salesforce1 gives FinancialForce additional capabilities for
building out its mobile deployment options.
How many acres will FinancialForce claim? The signs are hopeful. The company is
reporting strong results: 80% growth in its revenue run rate, and 62%
growth in headcount year-over-year, bringing it to over 260 employees
globally. FinancialForce now has customers in 27 countries with users
in 45 nations worldwide. By all accounts, the company is on a strong
Plenty of Land for Everyone
The economic and strategic benefits of cloud computing accrue to end-user organization that completely or at least largely eliminate their on-premises IT infrastructure. Our research at Computer Economics
shows that cloud user companies save more than 15% in terms of their total IT spending, and the money that they do spend goes more toward innovation and less towards on-going support. But it is difficult to move away from on-premises infrastructure if an organization's core ERP system is still on-premises. Therefore, the move to cloud ERP is essential if organizations are to fully realize the benefits of cloud computing. You can move your CRM and HCM systems to the cloud--but if you are still running on-premises ERP, you still have one large foot stuck in the old paradigm.
In my view, there does not need to be one clear winner in cloud ERP. Just as there were dozens of on-premises ERP vendors in the 1990s, especially when sliced by industry sector, there is plenty of room for many more cloud ERP providers. There is plenty of land for everyone.
Computer Economics: Cloud Users Spend Less, Spend Smarter on IT
Four Cloud ERP Providers on the Salesforce Platform
NetSuite Manufacturing Moves on Down the Highway
Kenandy: A New Cloud ERP Provider Emerges from Stealth Mode
The Simplicity and Agility of Zero-Upgrades in Cloud ERP (Plex)
Plex Online: Pure SaaS for Manufacturing
Computer Economics: Cloud Players Storm the Gates of ERP
Key success factor for SaaS suites: functional parity
Labels: Acumatica, AscentERP, cloud, Epicor, ERP, FinancialForce, Infor, Intacct, Kenandy, Microsoft, Oracle, Plex, QAD, Rootstock, Salesforce.com, SAP, SuccessFactors, UNIT4, Workday