Holes in Hypocrisy Claim

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-04-12 Print this article Print

To my knowledge, Gartner analyst Lee Geishecker was the first one quoted in the media to point out the reasons why the hypocrisy charge is full of holes. The DOJs case focuses on one subset of the ERP market: enterprise customers who need the highest levels of support and software capabilities. Outside of that subset exist myriad other subsets with very distinct needs for their ERP software, including, most notably, the public sector. That made sense to me, so I bounced the argument off of Daniel Clifton, executive director of the American Shareholders Association. He scoffed at the notion of the DOJ not being a significant buyer that needs substantial support and sophisticated features from an ERP implementation. The U.S. government is a huge and significant buyer of this type of networking service, he said, and whether you get into a legal definition of whether the ERP software at the heart of the Oracle suit is for Fortune 500 enterprises alone or whether the government is included, the DOJs purchase of AMS software clearly spells out the lesson that there is competition in the market that goes above and beyond what the DOJ claims.
For his part, ACT President Jonathan Zuck just laughed at the notion that the public sector would be ruled out of the picture when it comes to slicing and dicing the customer base for ERP software. The DOJ has been slicing and dicing the market so finely to make sure that there are only three players; the next thing you know, the suit will be about the needs of salesmen who wear neckties on Tuesdays, he told me.
I mean, cmon, ERP is ERP, he said. How different can government needs possibly be when compared with the commercial sector? Different enough so that these huge government organizations dont count when it comes to determining what exactly is the market for large ERP implementations? Well, thats a very good question. To answer it, I decided to chat with AMS officials to ask them what, if anything, about the government market would make its preferred software unsuitable for the commercial sector. Vice versa, too: What makes commercial software such as products from SAP-Oracle-PeopleSoft unsuitable for the government market, if anything? Next page: The nature of government ERP.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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