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When I walked through the exhibitor booths at the ISM conference, I was struck by the rather large number of software vendors who were trying to explain how their software would "solve" the problems of procurement,bidding,contract,supplier relationship and add "visibility" to the supply chain. Many of these solutions could speak to your legacy systems and most of them were web based and did not involve buying software and all the challenges that are involved in getting a system started. This was a sudden but clear change from earlier exhibitions I have been attending where "mega" ERP companies would be intimidating visitors by the daunting task and budgets involved in actually getting these systems to work and realizing the benefits that the system promised.
The question is : where does all this lead the manager of a large enterprise or the owner of a small one in these tight economic times ? Adoption of these systems should be much easier than the early ERP systems but a clear and compelling articulation, for every customer that adopts these systems, would help the customer in quickly capturing the cost savings or revenue growth that these systems promise. Does this happen during the sales cycle for the system? It probably does in the presentation slides of the software sales teams – but the challenge for the buyer is to capture the "benefit of the benefit" during the sales and buy process of the software and try to articulate it to the functional goals of the "owner" department. The luxury of the disconnect between why you acquire a system and what you can do with it might be somewhat reduced this way.