Let's be clear: It's not as if Amazon.com's main e-commerce page is now hawking Compiere's ERP application right next to the Kindle e-book reader or U2's latest CD. But the fact that Compiere's open-source ERP application is now available on-demand (for a "low cost," according to Compiere) via Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (or EC2) web services platform is worthy of note. It's another example of significant change in the ways in which companies are now able to buy, implement and use ERP, CRM, BI and supply chain apps. In pockets here and there, the enterprise applications market is, indeed, morphing. (In terms of speed, picture an ocean liner doing a 180, in the middle of a hurricane, with an overwhelmed crew and full complement of panicked passengers.) Business software users today are sick to death of (take your pick): expensive ERP packages that are less than satisfying; BI systems that don't work as advertised; vendor lock-in nightmares; absurd software licensing tactics; and data "blind spots" in their supply chains due to information silos. Here are some of Compiere's claims about its new offering: Cloud Edition "is delivered with a complete technology stack, certified by Compiere, comprised of an operating system, application server, and database that can be deployed on Amazon EC2 in a matter of minutes." In addition, based on its (Danger! Danger!) "internal estimates," the Cloud Edition "can save companies up to 80 percent in the total cost of ownership of ERP software." There are certainly other mitigating factors that can adversely affect those marketing claims, so this is just another case of buyer beware: do your homework, talk to client references and verify everything. For sure, while SAP, Oracle and other leading enterprise application aren't quaking in their boots (I can just imagine their utter ambivalence to the Compiere-Amazon.com announcement), they should feel uneasy, at the very least. (Remember when the mainframe giants thought PC servers were absolutely ludicrous, guys?) ERP for sale through Amazon.com's cloud? Why the hell not? Change. It's happening not just inside Washington. Today's news is further indication that competition is alive and well in the enterprise software space, which is fantastic for the user. At the least, when you see "flexibility, ease of use and cost-effective" in the same sentence as the term "ERP application," you are probably less likely to burst out laughing.