Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
The situation in our section of the industry has been interesting over the past 12-18 months. Our department focuses on PeopleSoft and Lawson primarily, and both are in the midst of a period where the majority of the customer base is facing the choice of upgrading to the latest versions, or paying for extended support on their current versions. The need to upgrade has historically been a matter of when rather than if, but in the past those timing sequences for the respective systems have never coincided as closely as they are now.
Beyond the upgrade or extend decision, customers have plenty of reason to invest in significant projects for their enterprise software to support their business. Oracle and Infor have both been racing to compete in the cloud solution space, as well as enabling web-based applications, expanding functionality for mobile devices, and growing their selection of industry vertical specific modules to help customers get the most out delivered functionality and reduce or eliminate the need for extensive customizations to fit their particular processes.
Another driving factor for project work has been an uptick in mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, and other large corporate transitions that create a considerable amount of work for employee data and business process migrations. Clients see the value in getting this kind of project experience for their internal employees, so they’ll look to augment their staff on the daily production support side, while those internal staff gain the valuable project based experience. This experience helps ensure a more self sufficient company well into the future.
The surge in projects is creating a tighter, talent-driven market, and the demand for qualified resources has been impacting our clients’ ability to hire and retain full-time staff. As quickly as clients hire or develop talent in-house, those people are being recruited for lucrative, exciting, and skill-set building consulting work. The trend is causing many of my customers to show more interest in a managed services model for long term, process-driven technical support engagements.
From a Business Development perspective, it’s maybe never felt more important to be thoughtful and strategic about how you invest your time and with whom you invest it. Understanding industry ebbs and flows, fiscal year cycles, and the impact of national economic factors are all influencing what you get out of what you put in.
Mike Simonson, CTS
Infor/Oracle Business Development