There has always been tension between the way IT needs to run and the way the business wants to operate. For the better part of two decades now, IT has won most of those battles by rolling out large-scale enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that forced the business to conform to a set of best business process practices whether it liked it or not.
Early on, ERP software was a positive influence on the business because it brought some structure and discipline to many places where it was sorely lacking. But over time, many businesses found it hard to differentiate the business from competitors based on an actual business process because every rival had the same set of software and associated business processes installed.
Mark Johnson, vice president, Oracle Accelerate for Midsize Companies, says Oracle has been working these past five years to strike a balance between flexibility and structure when it comes to enterprise applications. Accelerate is a program that Oracle developed to reduce the complexity associated with deploying Oracle applications, including its E-Business Suite and J.D. Edwards applications.
Johnson says the need for business process flexibility is especially acute in the midmarket, where resistance to enterprise-class software, because of fluid business conditions, is especially strong.
The Oracle Accelerate Applications offering provides a set of highly customizable tools and templates that are designed to allow customers to select when to apply a best practice business process provided by Oracle or their own custom business process. The end result, says Johnson, is application software that, on average, can not only be deployed in less than 150 days, but for the first time can actually bend to meet the needs of the business, versus forcing the business to bend to the software.
That may seem like a simple concept, but as anybody who has ever tried to come up with an innovative business process can tell you, enterprise software can be the biggest single impediment to making that happen.