Customer apps rise in ranking

As the spotlight of the traditional enterprise resource planning model shifts to a customer focus, a new model, collaborative commerce, is emerging said a Gartner analyst.

So far, enterprise resource planning (ERP) has been the centre of the universe with customer relationship management (CRM) and supply chain management (SCM) revolving around it, according to Nigel Rayner, research director at Gartner.

However, by the end of 2004, SCM and CRM will be equally as important as ERP in the new online marketplace.

"By 2004, no more than 40 per cent of the companies' applications will be provided by ERP," Rayner said, meaning that pure ERP is only becoming part of a much larger and more complex inter-enterprise system.

In the traditional business model, where ERP is key, the focus is on user productivity.

Rayner said this has been the case since 1995 but from now until 2004, a more dynamic online marketplace will emerge, where companies can collaborate with employees, customers, stockholders, sales channels and suppliers through a multi-enterprise framework.

This development creates new challenges for the ERP vendors, who will have to go in one of two different directions, Rayner said.

A number of vendors will be offering software to help companies deal with different aspects of this new online marketplace, either offering different ERP, SCM and CRM pieces that companies will tie together into a collaborative commerce (c-commerce) system, or offering some kind of over-arching software architecture, according to Rayner.

"ERP vendors will either focus on components or on the c-commerce framework," he said.

The key to success for those focusing on components will be to achieve positions as functional leaders, whereas the vendors concentrating on the c-commerce frameworks will need to achieve positions as technology-standard leaders. Rayner said the Internet marketplace will continue until 2003 in its current "transaction phase", which started in 1998, then, between this year and 2005, overlap that with a move into the "transformation phase" of c-commerce.

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