by October 9, 2006 0 comments

Recently, I spent quite a bit of time with IT professionals who had come
visiting the PCQuest Enterprise Solutions Showcase. And if the questions they
were asking during that showcase were any indication, then Indian organizations
are into the third wave of IT enablement.

The first wave was getting the basic infrastructure, particularly the
hardware in place. Basic software was part of this first wave. The most
significant milestone for many in the second wave was the implementation of the
basic elements of an ERP system. Why was this a significant milestone? Because
of the simple reason that an ERP system signaled the move away from isolated
islands of computation within the organization to a more integrated way of
planning and operations.

Like the infrastructure wave, the ERP wave also did not hit all organizations
at the same time. In fact, both happened over time with the waves hitting
different verticals and different organizations over different time spans. And
often the same organization has had to go through multiple cycles or wave hits,
as I would like to call them.

Krishna Kumar, Editor

And like I said, we are now on to the third wave. You could call this the
second phase of ERP or the phase of collaborative applications. Because those
were what most of the questions were about. Number one and two on the interest
list at the ESS was CRM and SCM solutions, fairly closely followed by
collaboration apps. The questions at the ESS were no flash in the pan. As I
speak to more and more IT professionals, the same pattern is coming through. In
short, we are on to the third wave.

And as we enter the third wave, it would be useful if we could learn from the
mistakes we did during the earlier cycles and avoid those and similar ones this
time. A big mistake of the ERP wave was the extended implementation cycles,
which often saw the business objectives going out of sync with what was
originally planned and was being implemented. This had led to many projects
requiring costly reworks along with time and cost overruns. An even bigger one
was, the unrealistic expectation that was created, particularly during the
earlier stages of the cycle.

Potential buyers were virtually sold the moon in many a case, and to be fair
to the vendors and consultants on the other side of the table, many an
enterprise was only too eager to believe in the promised utopia. The ERP wave
has now run for almost a decade and the collaborative apps phase can be expected
to be as long if not longer lasting. As we embark on this new wave, a healthy
dose of realism, if not positive cynicism is what is perhaps required to make it
a success.

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