The Decision: Oracle? SAP? Or South Beach?

LeBron James showed us how to make big announcements with "The Decision." Just imagine if CIOs and vendors did the same.

The next time a high-profile CIO announces a splashy, expensive enterprise-software purchase, he could do it in a press release, like CIOs always seem to do with other major news:

"Providing innovative solutions to our customers around the world is our top priority, so we undertook a thorough evaluation to determine the best-suited business software that could further improve customer intimacy, service delivery and power each of our divisions and regions of operations with industry best practices. SAP business solutions will play an important enabling role in unifying core processes globally and supporting our ongoing strategy of meeting customer needs wherever they are. We expect the SAP deployment to provide significant value to 3M in the coming years."

-Ernie Park, CIO of 3M, in a press release announcing 3M's multimillion-dollar purchase of SAP Business Suite 7


Is it just me, or do we need to spice up these types of announcements? Because this really was, in fact, a juicy announcement—unfortunately the stale rhetoric of a "media advisory" and some canned quotes made it more boring than an "ERP Implementation Kick-Off Pizza Party." ("Who's excited for 24 months of tech upheaval, project mismanagement, finger pointing and massive change?!" Yay! Me!)

To wit: This was a $35 million deal in license revenue alone, according to Chris Kanaracus of the IDG News Service. And that doesn't include maintenance and support fees.

And, oh by the way, SAP bested none other than Oracle to win the 3M deal. (3M was a long-time PeopleSoft shop, which is owned by Oracle.) With an infrastructure as vast and complex at 3M's, there aren't many enterprise software vendors who could have met 3M's needs. So it's safe to say that SAP beat out the best of the best. But you wouldn't know that from the press release.

How could we spice the announcement up a bit?

Well, if there's one thing that we learned from NBA star LeBron James's recent "The Decision" TV special—a one-hour broadcast on ESPN that garnered tremendous ratings and water-cooler chatter—it's that the only way to generate great buzz is to act like a megalomaniacal, self-serving jerk and ensure that you rub the results of the decision into the faces of the city (or company/product/etc.) that you didn't choose.

So, the idea, not unlike my idea for an ERP Reality TV series, ERP Undercover, for which I am offering my services to host, would go something like this::

Cut to the local chapter of the Boys & Girls Computer Club of St. Paul, Minn., where we find interviewer Thomas Wailgum, of, and Ernie Park, CIO of 3M, sitting in a computer cluster. The likely (and visibly nervous) vendors in the mix—incumbent Oracle, SAP, Infor, Lawson, Epicor and Microsoft—are all eager to know Park's decision....

Wailgum: Thank you very much. Everybody is on pins and needles across the country, particularly those vendors who are in the running for 3M's enterprise software business. Are you ready to go, Ernie?

Park: All set, Tom.

What's new? What's been going on with you this summer?

Man, this whole RFP experience with refreshing our core enterprise systems—been looking forward to it.

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