Is Agresso ERP Software Really BPM Under the Hood?


Agresso recently sponsored some interesting research by CFO magazine affiliate, CFO Research. (CFO is in turn part of the The Economist Group.) The research - available on Agresso's web site for free - looks at the total cost of ERP software ownership after the initial license and implementation costs. (Conversely, other research addresses upfront cost issues when it comes to ERP.)


The CFO research is worth a read simply just to see the reasons companies like yours are changing their ERP system after all that work and expense of installing it. The answers, in reverse order, are: regulatory reasons; mergers; reorgs; the CFO wants to keep the books a different way; and the winner - business process change. This is why I ask (see this recent blog post) if ERP is reaching commodity status. If so, why do you need to customize your ERP package? Especially if you are one of the mid-sized enterprises that CFO surveyed at Agresso's request. Use business process management (BPM) functionality instead.


The rub is customization. I still remember an SAP executive in 1995 shaking his head in disbelief as he explained that R/3 allowed 800 different business process set permutations and yet the first guy in the door when they set up shop here in the U.S. wanted his business processes to flow in a way SAP had not contemplated. That was the event that launched thousands of consulting assignments, billions of dollars in professional services fees, and more than a few law suits.


As an aside, I had my first look at Agresso in many years on April 1. Naturally, company representatives tell me their ERP system will simplify and reduce the costs of your ongoing ERP change requirements. I cannot verify that claim after a short meeting and without talking to some users. But I did come away with an opinion that might give Agresso's claim some legs: I think they really have some very adaptable BPM hiding under that ERP nametag.