The U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit to block Oracle Corp.’s proposed takeover of PeopleSoft Inc. is predicated on the argument that only three vendors meet the needs of customers seeking enterprise-strength ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems: Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP AG. But for its own ERP purchase, the DOJ looked beyond the Big Three. The agency said Tuesday it has selected American Management Systems (AMS) Inc.’s Momentum software to run its financial management system, in a deal worth up to US$24 million.

That price tag places the deal on the high end of the ERP spectrum — precisely where the DOJ argues customers’ choices are limited. In its legal filings it refers to Oracle as “one of only three vendors of high-function enterprise software,” and argues that other vendors can’t match the product quality, scale, and support levels available from market’s three leading ERP developers.

Government agencies shop for their financial systems off an approved list maintained by a coordinating group known as the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program. Five software packages are currently on the organization’s list of systems that have met its certification standards: Those from PeopleSoft, Oracle, SAP, AMS and Savantage Solutions Inc.

A DOJ representative was not immediately available to comment on the agency’s ERP choice. The DOJ’s system is intended to reduce the time needed for the agency to procure goods and services, and to increase the DOJ’s inter-agency communication and reports on program performance, according to AMS, a Fairfax, Va.-based software and services firm that includes government business as one of its specialties. The company recently agreed to be acquired by Canadian IT services firm CGI Group Inc.

The DOJ has purchased a number of components from AMS’s Momentum software suite, including modules for budgeting, project cost accounting, travel accounting, acquisitions and analytics, AMS said.

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