to Enlist BPA Systems in its Mid-Market Quest
S. McVey - October
18, BPA Systems announced an arrangement with Oracle Corporation in which its
flagship product, BP LINK/SC will be integrated with Oracle's latest package
for mid-sized companies, FastForward(SM) Distribution (RPM) (Rapid Configuration
Model). BP LINK/SC will help the Oracle application accelerate receiving, inventory
and shipping transactions using bar code and data collection technology. Oracle
hopes the deal will lead to increased sales of its FastForward solutions to
companies with between $50 to $500 million in annual revenues.
is the latest vendor to join Oracle in its pursuit of the mid market. The $8.8
billion ERP vendor faces an immense challenge in convincing smaller companies
that its monolithic application suite and architecture can be replicated on
a more petite scale. Whether or not Oracle is successful in capturing a piece
of the SME (Small-to-Mid Enterprise) market, these moves can have tremendous
implications for other vendors in this space. Vendors who decide to partner
with Oracle are often restricted to exclusive agreements, preventing them from
forming similar alliances with other complementary software providers. While
some advantages can be gained in the short term from this type of arrangement,
dependence on Oracle can become a huge handicap for BPA if the former fails
to convince prospects that FastForward is an effective mid market solution.
Case in point: supply chain execution vendor, Industri-Matematik, suffered a
33% drop in license revenues in recent years when sales from its exclusive agreement
with Oracle began to sag.
A close look
at Oracle's FastForward success stories will reveal that, by and large, the
implementors have chosen to use the solution "out-of-the-box" with little or
no modifications. Clearly, only those companies that have textbook business
processes will profit from this type of approach. Turn-key solutions rarely
include customizations in the license fee and often prohibit them altogether.
Users attracted to the proposed integration between FastForward and BP LINK/SC
should consult a client reference in the same industry and spend time understanding
what compromises were necessary to realize a true "turn-key" implementation.