Giants in the Cloud

Will your company follow the Giant's Footsteps or take the Magic Beans?

By Andy Scott • Managing Director

In Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) there has been a long-term trend towards single-platform policies.  Or is it just mega-buck marketing of software giants that fill our heads with the myths that fund their empires and control systems evolution?

Owning the large corporate market, the big players have moved into the Small to Medium-Sized Enterprise space (SME).

Back in the eighties, nineties and noughties, specialist software automated just about every business process.  But the specialists stayed small or died.  With the power of marketing, the leaders were Oracle with their extended database approach; SAP with the top-tier corporate automation approach; and once Microsoft had taken control of the desktop, and the network, they set out to control business, acquiring ERP Great Plains and Navision and joining things together under the mighty Microsoft banner.

Then the Cloud gave us another ERP delivery channel, with NetSuite setting the pace and re-joining the Oracle camp from whence it was spawned - ‘Born in the Cloud’.

On the SAP side there is Business By Design and Business One, which are based on the highly functional main SAP solution, but one where customisation is not an option, and the other which is said to be too complex for a growing business.

Microsoft is now at Business Central, and Dynamics 365.  The reviews I have read, say it is based on Navision, which Microsoft acquired in 2002, and has been configured and developed for the Cloud.  Not so much ‘Born in the Cloud’ as ‘Landed on a Cloud’.  It is very well integrated into Microsoft Outlook 365 and other Microsoft tools that most of us are familiar with.

Then up walks Jack and all his open-source tree-hugging friends.  They were sent to the market to make a living out of their skills. They visited a stall run by Fabien the Magician.  He had a handsome Python in a basket that moved under the control of his libre pipe.  He listened to Jack and his friend's story, of how they could do clever things with their code, and there was a friendly community that had developed thousands of applications.  But they didn’t make any money.

Fabien the Magician listened carefully and said “You will need to be very careful with your journey going forward.  Your friendly community will still exist, but you must have strict controls in your enterprise.  Take these Java beans, along with the Python and these tools, and use your powers to help even the smallest business grow.  They must pay you a small fee every month to help the Java beans grow, feed the python, and help you manage your controls”.

And so, Jack and his friends returned from the market.  Their parents could not see how they could compete with the Giants who ruled their planet.  “You must ask the Giants if you can work for them.  You have great skills, and they have all the money and control the business world – that is what you must do”.

The boys and girls were not happy.  Every day they went to visit Fabien the Magician in his cave.  And every day they saw the beans that they planted and nurtured with their tools, hard work and discipline, grow into a plant that took them to the Cloud.

The Giants scoffed:



And they both looked to the third giant, Christian, who considered the size of his customers and his product portfolio.  Global domination was the aim, but he didn’t want the business crumbs – they’re not profitable, “LET THEM HAVE THE CRUMBS.  IF THEY GET BIG, THEY WILL COME TO US ANYWAY.”

They looked to the heavens and saw Larry, Bill, Dietmar and the rest of the Giant Gods laughing.

Jack and his friends were undeterred by the Giants.  In October 2022, they took advice from Fabien, and offered all 70+ Apps, all for a small monthly user subscription fee.

They wondered “how long will the Giants be laughing now?”

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