ERP and ECM

Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of working closely with members of our Oracle team, mainly the functional guys but also some of the technical people. A couple of things struck me about the differences between a Content Management bod and an ERP bod works:

- Specialisation. The ERP guys are all specialists, and it is not restricted to the Oracle people, I’ve seen it with SAP too. What I mean by this is when you turn up to discuss the solution there is usually a football team (soccer for you US guys) of ERP people each with their own niche expertise such as HR or Finance or Fleet or CRM or Logistics or….. Compare this with the ECM people who tend to cover the full solution. Okay we have specialities but I would expect most ECM guys to understand EDRM, WCM, DAM and the BPM capabilities of the product which is part of the solution at this solutioning stage. Yet when you line up the different components of the solutions the number of components in ECM match those in ERP….although this could be an observation in support of Pie’s recent request for the simplification of Documentum licensing (note I am using Documentum as my basis for this observation but I know there also similarities with OT and IBM, with MOSS you get more and more choice with the additional components).

- Product Components. As I say above the number of ECM components usually works out equal to the number of ERP components. But there is an imbalance here, the projects I have worked on in this space tend to have a weighting in value of 3:1 in the favour of ERP, i.e. the ERP component costs 3 times as much to licence and deploy. Another observation on the components is the amount of hardware needed to support the products, and this also extends into the technical deployment effort. Typically there will be more hardware components to support the ECM components than there are for the ERP, in fact the installation effort for the ERP components is typically much less.

I’m expecting to do much more work with the ERP teams in the coming years as we see our ECM solutions being purchased more as Line of Business applications rather than being procured as ECM deals. Our life would be much easier, and the costs to the customers much less, if the ECM products were much more verticalised in their support of some of these line of business applications.