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This last year was a time of ups and downs and highs and lows for many companies and individuals.  The enterprise software and ERP industry was no different, with the industry’s vendors, clients, and consultants all experiencing both high points and low points.

However, despite a fair share of pessimism in business, among consumers, and certainly in the media, 2009 was a year with some noteworthy highlights.  Below is a list of the top ten highlights in the ERP software industry for the year.

2009 Top Ten for ERP Software Industry

  1. Evolution of ERP in the new economy. Given the turbulent economy in 2009, executives were forced to do more with less, be more deliberate with IT budgets, and demand a higher return on investment from their enterprise software initiatives.  To our surprise, while many large companies were cutting ERP budgets, companies in the small and mid-size (SMB/SME), energy, and government sectors were examples of organization types that continued to invest heavily in enterprise software.  These trends were outlined in a recent ERP presentation from Panorama Consulting.
  2. Comprehensive study of ERP implementation results. In January, Panorama Consulting published a comprehensive study of over 1,300 enterprise software implementations across the globe, a first of its kind.  The ERP industry report and corresponding summary research briefings revealed useful benchmark information regarding ERP metrics, such as implementation duration, cost, and business benefits realized.
  3. Shane Company’s enterprise software failure. The year began with some bad news about Shane Company, which filed for bankruptcy and heavily blamed its financial woes on its botched ERP implementation.  In order to make the best of a negative situation, Panorama hosted a webinar outlining some of the lessons learned from this ERP failure (Shane Co. was not a  Panorama client).
  4. Comparison of SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, and Tier II ERP solutions. As part of its series of summary briefings on its ERP benchmark study, Panorama Consulting published one of the most comprehensive quantitative comparisons of leading enterprise software solutions in the marketplace.  The findings revealed significant differences and tradeoffs between leading software providers.  This software vendor comparison was also outlined in a YouTube video presentation available on our ERP video page.
  5. Continuing duel between on-premise ERP and Software as a Service (SaaS). The hype surrounding SaaS and cloud computing continued to intensify throughout the year, as did the corresponding myths and misconceptions.  Panorama hosted multiple ERP webinars to help clients and colleagues understand the tradeoffs between SaaS and on-premise ERP.
  6. Manufacturing and Distribution ERP Software Report. Panorama’s series of reports of it’s ERP benchmark study continued with an overview of enterprise software benchmarks in the manufacturing and distribution space, which outlines some of the challenges unique to this industry vertical.
  7. Debut of “ERP Strategies and Solutions” podcast. Panorama continued to extend its communication vehicles to the ERP industry by debuting its bi-monthly podcast series, which featured interviews with clients, Panorama ERP experts, and other industry leaders.  Topics focused on ERP issues related to ERP software selection, implementation, and organizational change management in the manufacturing and distribution, life sciences, chemicals, non-profits, and other key industries.
  8. Organizational change management steals the spotlight. Given tough economic conditions, increased pressure to provide accountability to board members, and the need to mitigate risk, an increasing number of CIOs invested more time and money in organizational change management and benefits realization than in years past.  This is partially demonstrated by the fact that Panorama’s organizational change consulting practice saw a huge increase in business in 2009.
  9. ERP consulting services skyrocket. Although official 2009 company results won’t be published until January, Panorama is well on the path toward record revenue and profits.  At the time of this post, our year to date revenue was up over 80% compared to last year.  Several new clients turned to Panorama to help them with their enterprise software selection and implementation initiatives in 2009, including Champion Window, Maxon Lift, Focus on the Family, dpiX, Bioness, Alliance Laundry Systems, and Robert’s American Gourmet, the makers of Pirate’s Booty snacks.
  10. Launch of new ERP resource site. In November, Panorama launched a new and improved web-site for its clients, employees, prospects, recruits, and industry peers.  The site highlights the company’s extensive enterprise software expertise and thought leadership, including a 360 ERP Blog and our resource center which features ERP videos and podcasts, ERP software vendor comparison tables, a mock ERP selection process, and other useful resources.

These are just a few of many highlights in the ERP space in 2009.  Many of these trends will continue or evolve into 2010, which will make for another exciting year of opportunity.  From all of us at Panorama Consulting, we wish you a happy holidays.