ERP for Services The Forgotten Market

In today’s enterprise software market ERP has dominated many conversations and has become a corporate standard.  The many vendors in the ERP software market have made enterprise software evaluation even more difficult.  SaaS vendors while very useful have clouded the waters and have confused companies even more.


Many ERP software packages have evolved functionality to include ERP features for service-based organizations but very few software vendors have built an ERP specifically for Services from the ground up.  This market is funny in the respect that much software covers service-based industries but are they built from the ground up to cater specifically to these types of organizations, not usually.  ERP software is built around other venues and processes such as manufacturing or distribution and the like.  The services type of business not only have unique needs but do things differently which may not conform to stringent ERP standard practices.   ERP’s were built to service one type of industry such as manufacturing, distribution, oil and gas, healthcare, lifesciences etc.   Then, the service components were added to these systems to cater to service-based industries.


Since service-based businesses do things differently than other types of organizations their needs for an ERP system are not quite as diverse but rather they need depth of functionality for certain tasks and flexibility.  In order to accommodate these types of businesses the software needs to be configurable and easy to make changes without much or any vendor intervention.  This where business agility is often talked about as service based businesses can quickly change its services, structure, bundles, cost and offerings.  These rapid changes require an ERP system to able to change accordingly to accommodate the new business practices, costing and possible invoicing changes that may be required to deliver the new services.



Upon much recent research and review of the top ERP vendors in the space, a lot has changed.  Recently, they have incorporated a newer SOA that is more conducive to change.  One such company that has taken this to the next level is Agresso Unit 4.  Their philosophy is BLINC – businesses living in change this is their SOA platform that caters specifically for the service based types of businesses mentioned.  The SOA was built form the ground upto accommodate the rapidly changing business conditions that service-based organizations are faced with.  Unit 4 architecture allows many types of service-based organizations from many industries to take advantage of their unique platform.  Industries such as Engineering, Oil and Gas, Renewable Energy, Environmental Consulting, Construction, Commercial, IT, Professional and Creative, Financial services and Staffing companies are types of companies that Agresso targets.


The architecture combines configurability, workflows, analytics, business processes and facilitates post implementation changes which promote lower TCO, quicker response, lowered risk and expediency that organizations can execute themselves.  Their VITA architecture enables changes to all of these areas of the business without having to involve the vendor. The notion of changing your ERP every 5-8 years is no longer necessary if this type of underlying architecture is available to aid in the evolution of your business.


A new feature that is released is their self-service analytic bundles. This unique approach to enterprise performance management (EPM) basically separates business units into self-service usable chunks so that individual users can unlock the hidden analytics within their ERP system.  It uses the VITA architecture to allow individual users from departments to define their own analytics that is specifically for their department such as procurement, sales, invoicing etc.  Users can subscribe to this service as an additional product on top of the Unit 4 system.  Often, other ERP’s made it difficult to define any EPM metrics and it was difficult to access.  These bundles are prebuilt with common templates and can be quickly customized for individual users by the users themselves.


Eval‐Source is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations. Our consulting practices encompass cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP, Supply Chain strategy, social media and technology consulting. Eval‐Source is an industry leader in the analysis of software technology and our thought leadership has placed us in the elite of consulting/analyst firms. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and infrastructure planning of their technology systems. Eval-Source can assist organizations in any phase of their selection process.,    twitter: @eval_source

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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