Holes in Hypocrisy Claim
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.