What Netbook Fans and Frustrated ERP Customers Have in Common

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Today, many CIOs, business executives and users are finally saying "Enough!" to their ERP vendors.

Ray Wang, VP and principal research at Forrester Research, has pulled together an illuminating and troubling series on his blog that examines the enterprise customer and vendor relationship as it stands today. In brief: Vendors are paying more attention to shareholder interests than to their stakeholders' (customers and partners) well-being and actual needs, Wang writes.

Wang recently posted Part 4, which, when combined with earlier parts, ties neatly into the subject of excess and glut in enterprise software right now.

Here's just a paraphrased sampling of what CIOs, business apps professionals and other IT managers are telling Wang:

We're being forced by enterprise vendors to spend more money with them on applications and upgrades that we don't need, to keep a "low rate" for maintenance; vendors are selling us additional products that have no future roadmap for the vendor because of conflicting post-acquisition roadmaps; additional consulting gigs require more product purchases; vendors are making us re-pay for the same functionality we already have; and vendors are continually failing to deliver on promised product roadmaps.

Taken together, Wang's series paints a scathing picture of ERP vendors brandishing a brazen and short-term view while taking advantage of locked-in, shell-shocked and frustrated customers who don't need any excess at this point.

While those customers may be locked in right now, they may not be that way for much longer. Open-source and SaaS options and alternatives are coming—and are already in use by many IT groups that recognize the innate and disconcerting excess in traditional ERP client engagements. IT shops that have dumped the ERP giants are benefiting from ending these broken and one-sided "relationships" (if you can actually call it a relationship).

So vendors, you may have your customers over a barrel now. But it won't be long until more and more customers just say no more.

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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