Chasing SMBs

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2004-08-02 Print this article Print

All of the ERP vendors are trying to package and price their products to be more useful and affordable for SMBs. "Were not seeing a big wave of midmarket adoption, but they are making inroads," he said.

The general turmoil caused by Oracles pursuit of PeopleSoft is creating uncertainty through the entire ERP software market, Doane said. Its not just the PeopleSoft buyout, Doane said. Its also PeopleSofts buyout of competitor J.D. Edwards and the revelation that Microsoft had engaged SAP in preliminary talks about a possible merger before they decided to drop the idea.

Customers are wondering whether they should go ahead with their purchase plans for ERP software and consulting services "or whether they should simply wait for the dust to settle over this lingering round of corporate acquisitions," he said.

But SMBs are limited in the amount of growth they can add to the market, Gow contended. SMBs "are not a complete green field opportunity. Its been around for a long time," Gow said. All of the ERP software companies have had some midmarket presence for nearly as long as theyve been around, he noted.

ERP vendors are pursuing this market because there are a lot of customers in the space, Gow said. But this market also doesnt usually provide the multimillion-dollar sales to supply software for thousands of individual users, he said.

SMBs will add some momentum going forward, but they cant serve as a sustainable replacement for the enterprise sales that are the industrys bread and butter, Gow said.

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John Pallatto John Pallatto is's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.

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