ERP is still a big business. You\u00a0only need attend Oracle OpenWorld to get a real sense of the huge scale and growing footprint of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).\nOn face value, the OpenWorld conference held in September provided observers with a vivid display of the sheer size and complexity of the ERP ecosystem. Between the 41,000 participants, almost 9,000 different events and sessions, and the ever-present legions of partners, vendors and consultants, the conference was a fair reflection of the vast number and variety of options now facing IT leaders.\nThe conference also served as a strong signal of an economic recovery. Attendance numbers were significantly up from the past few years, indicating not only a loosening of corporate purse strings, but\u00a0also the resurgence of ERP on the CIO agenda.\nThe most obvious is the move towards the integration of systems in Oracle's Fusion Application suite. The much anticipated package is significant for two main reasons.\nThe first is that it provides a path for existing PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel customers to migrate to an Oracle platform. For IT leaders managing multiple platforms across various geographies \u2014 often a symptom of rapid M&A and globalisation \u2014\u00a0this package may bring them one step closer to what some consider their dream of a single system.\nBut any CIO with an existing ERP system will need to conduct a rigorous value-based assessment of their current systems and future business needs. Rather than rushing headlong into a wholesale migration, IT leaders must carefully balance the benefits gained by doing so,\u00a0against what can\u00a0be\u00a0achieved through the strategic optimization and consolidation of current systems, supported by software upgrades and deployments.\nThe new Fusion package\u00a0also represents a\u00a0wider trend to bundle a much broader variety of business software under the ERP umbrella. This includes enterprise performance management, business intelligence, and governance, risk and compliance.\nDespite the maturity of the overall market, vendors struggle to create industry-specific solutions that are tailored to the needs of each sector and\u00a0provide the right accelerants for successful deployment.\nThe impact of cloud computing on both users and vendors was also a common topic.\u00a0The subject\u00a0took centre stage this year, almost stealing the show. And while nobody yet knows exactly what effect cloud will have on ERP infrastructure, it is clear that IT leaders should consider the impact of this\u00a0\u2014 and other disruptive technologies\u00a0\u2014 on their infrastructure planning.\nOverwhelmingly, it reinforces the need for a fundamental shift in thinking about the purchase of these big-budget systems. Rather than selecting components that provide 'best fit' solutions and planning around them, IT leaders should be looking at ERP in terms of the broad basket of services and resources that are required to address the needs of the business, and selecting the components that best meet those requirements.\nThis will leave CIOs \u2013 who generally want to simplify and consolidate systems where possible \u2013 having to choose from a bewildering array of options and components.\nThis may force some critical thinking about the availability of in-house skills, the project's alignment to business priorities, challenges of technical integration, value drivers and \u2013 at the end of the day \u2013 how to run the system as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. It will certainly force CIOs to rethink the way they present the benefits of their ERP strategies\u00a0to their CEOs and CFOs.\nMost CIOs will find that the question should no longer be about selecting the right ERP system at all, but about choosing and optimizing the right level of service provision to meet the unique and future needs of their organisation.\nBryan Cruickshank, the Global Leader for KPMG's Technology Advisory practice, shares lessons, insights and best practices from his experience working with global CIOs and IT leaders. Mr. Cruickshank can be reached at email@example.com.