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Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. His business interests include a diverse range of industries from manufacturing to property to technology. As a technology commentator he has a broad presence both in the traditional media and extensively online. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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4 responses to “What Does “Fully Featured” Really Mean?”

  1. Zoli Erdos

    Ben,

    This is definitely not a question of size or functional richness.   I think we should separate a few concepts here:

    Breadth of functionality – i.e. the major business processes a system supports, such as financials, projects, human resources, CRM, manufacturing, supply chain management.etc. When you do most of this in an integrated fashion, you have an ERP system, and in that respect, I can accept the first Wikipedia quote. But the rest of the Wikipedia article is quite a joke: accounting and payroll does not make a system “ERP”.  Crowdsourcing is great, but expertise does not hurt, either: we have to know when to rely on Wikipedia as a source.

    Fully featured to me also includes the richness of functionality within those modules, and is not necessarily a criteria for an ERP system. Intacct was originally a financial package, but as the extended to order entry, inventory ..etc, it is now taking the shape of an ERP-like offering – but I would think NetSuite is functionally richer in most of those areas, outside Intacct‘s core competency, accounting. And SAP is certainly functionally richer than NetSuite, yet they all can be labeled ERP.

    High End, Size, Price – these have nothing to do with being considered ERP.  Netbooks is (was?) a tiny ERP solution for very small businesses:  it pretty much covered most business functions (roles), albeit with not much flexibility, customization options within those areas.  (Too bad they are back re-architecting.). 

    Finally, the ERP moniker is a valid one, albeit it’s fading out – it seems to have the stigma of the 90’s reminding us of expensive, long, sometimes failed implementations, questionable ROI.  No wonder the major “ERP” players no longer refer to themselves as such.  The only reason the term is still used is that for upcoming players it’s still the simplest way to claim “we’re no longer a single-function company” :-)

    In the end it’s all about meeting business requirements, whatever the label is…

  2. dahowlett

    @zoli – I’m guessing you saw my hatchet job on this post. We might disagree on some of the details but it looks like we’re not a million miles apart and have a basis for taking discussions forward. That’s helpful and I thank you.

    On the ‘ERP’ thing, that now officially stands for European Recycling Program -:)

  3. Zoli Erdos

    @Dennis,

    Of course I’ve seen it, and for the sake of our readers, here’s the link (for some reason the trackback only appears on another post).

    What can I say – I’m glad you’re calling it a hatchet job, because it really is. As you can see, we, bloggers here disagree from time to time, but we can debate our views publicly, to the benefit of readers, without switching to attack mode, and I’d prefer to keep it that way…

  4. Ben Kepes

    Stop press – despite previous comments suggesting that ERp level functionality in SaaS is a misnomer, and in fact that ERP is a long dead moniker, it seems I’m now joined in this assertion by others. It’s nice to not be alone.

    http://www.accmanpro.com/2009/03/16/pearl-goes-free-with-new-express-service/

    ;-)