Business One, All-in-One ,what sets them apart

The two SAP products compete directly with Oracle’s Special Edition for small businesses and Microsoft’s Dynamics AX, an ERP suite Microsoft purchased from Denmark-based Axapta, which has been gaining momentum.

If SAP is selected for consideration, the decision between the Business One and All-in-One products should be made very carefully, Shamia said. Small business owners should consider several questions before choosing between SAP’s products.

1. What are your plans?

If a small company plans to maintain current staffing levels and keep the status quo, Business One may be the right choice, Shamia said. If plans call for aggressive company growth over the next three to five years, the All-in-One suite may be a better choice to manage that growth and the business processes changes, he said.

2. How complicated are your business processes?

A pharmaceutical company that deals with complex compliance and manufacturing processes would benefit from an All-in-One installation, Shamia said. The All-in-One product is scaled down, but has all the mySAP attributes to it and can handle complex business processes, he said. A firm with limited compliance concerns and fewer, less complex business processes should choose Business One, he said.

3. How much do you want to invest in automating processes?

Some companies may have less emphasis on automating business processes, while others depend on up to 80% of business processes and need those processes covered by an application, Shamia said. Small businesses need to start a dialogue within the company to understand the culture and the processes, and to determine what areas could be automated. All-in-One could take on more process automation and is also flexible enough to integrate new processes as the company grows, he said. Business One may be a better choice if only a few processes are being automated, he said.

When small businesses begin to show signs of growth and business processes need to be pulled together and automated, small and midsized businesses (SMBs) look for software suites with more functionality, said Sanjeev Aggarwal, a senior analyst for small and medium business strategy at the Yankee Group.

Larger vendors are competing for a share of the SMB market once small businesses seek software to automate processes beyond payroll and inventory management, Aggarwal said.

Microsoft, Oracle and SAP are all competing in the SMB market segment using channel partners. Other firms, such as Siebel Systems Inc. and offer on-demand services for specific business processes such as customer relationship management.

"As you go up in the midmarket, there is a demand for more functionality in the software and that’s where we start seeing Oracle and SAP competing," he said.

ERP info from searchsap

Fosters boots SAP

Wine producer Southcorp has been forced, despite investing millions of dollars in a SAP ERP system, to dump it after being acquired by the Foster’s Group earlier this year.

The company’s IT assets will be standardized on the Oracle-owned JD Edwards application which Foster’s uses, according to an internal employee memo issued by integration director Michael Brooks in the wake of the acquisition.

Brooks said that following an assessment of the benefits, risks and costs of leveraging the Southcorp systems, Foster’s management decided that Oracle, JD Edwards, and PeopleSoft best meet the company’s mid-term needs.

The decision was based on strategic considerations and integration risk management, rather than a qualitative analysis of the two platforms, the memo said. "Adopting SAP across the business would have involved more risk and time," Brooks said. "It was a choice of migrating two organizations onto a largely new system, mySAP, or migrating Southcorp onto the existing Foster’s platform."

While a company spokesperson was unwilling to disclose the cost of its SAP investment, Computerworld understands it was upwards of $20 million.

"It is important to note that this decision is no reflection on SAP software, we needed to migrate to one system and the JDE platform provided us with the best opportunity," a Foster’s spokesperson said, adding that the integration will take place over the next 18 months.

Foster’s CIO Ian Farnsworth told Computerworld integration planning for the two systems is progressing "very well" and in the last two weeks migration to JDE in the US was a smooth transition.

"In Australia, Foster’s is already well advanced in establishing a common platform for its wine and non-wine operations and a considerable effort has already been made in establishing a footprint to benefit our business operations," Farnsworth said.

Foster’s enterprise systems include JDE in conjunction with a "tailored distribution module" to support the front-end sales processes.

"There is also an industry-specific wine manufacturing module being developed in collaboration between Foster’s and Oracle as a standard application, which will be incorporated in the ERP suite," Farnsworth said.

Oracle’s E1 manufacturing is in use by wine companies globally and is being considered to replace legacy beer manufacturing solutions while its financial suite is being implemented across all Australian-based businesses to take advantage of the vendor’s "clear specialty" in this area, he added.

PeopleSoft is used locally for human capital management and payroll.

"Underpinning the ERP suite, other integrated solutions are being standardized across businesses to provide advanced supply planning, manufacturing optimization, business intelligence and other corporate management needs," Farnsworth said.

SAP Australia’s southern region general manager Allan Fairhurst said it is inappropriate to comment on the Southcorp migration.

Competing enterprise software vendor SSA Global’s Asia-Pacific vice president Jeremy Goddard said when it comes to buying ERP solutions go with the vendor that can solve business issues instead of "just selling you something".

ERP Systems info from computerworld