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The End of the Web… Seriously!

February 15th 2012




I'm not used to it, and, above all, I have no interest in sensationalism, polemics for polemics, in short for demagoguery. But here, the misinformation is a bit too exaggerated for me. Excuse this post, maybe a little more emotional; I will recover my senses for the next one.

My title is meant as a nod to a recent article that appeared on Forbes on February 9, an article called "The End of ERP".

I want to thank  Nicolas Roberge, whom I very much appreciate and greet in passing, for having served as a transmission channel in relaunching the distribution of the article in question. In fact, I must say that it was the title "The End of ERP" itself that bothered me rather than the general idea that Mr. Tzuo wanted to express, at least, I hope so...

At the rate at which we keep up to date and now read, I don't really like this type of headline that launches the wrong assertion, information that can remain the central message in busy readers' minds. Also, I admit, it's hard for me to stay silent when it comes to playing on my field. Nicolas, was he trying to trigger a reaction? Anyway, I bit!


I have read and reread the article by Mr. Tien Tzuo, CEO of Zuora, and really, with all the respect I suppose I owe him for his achievements, I am stunned to see a personality of so much stature lend himself to this type of easy disinformation which aims, of course, to position its corporate approach as being the future.

Obviously, I have nothing against positioning your company favourably through relevant writing in the right media. On the contrary. However, I prefer those who do it based on well-founded information more than those who try to do it with fanfare for their ends, without regard to the basis of the information they are disclosing.

So, I first encourage interested readers to remember the "ERP" concept with the Wikipedia definition.

When you have read this definition, please let me know if it goes against mobility, interconnectivity, interoperability, cloud computing, in short, everything associated with characteristics essential to have by the company wishing to evolve successfully in the new era of the Web.

Contrary to what Mr. Tzuo argues, the ERP concept is not strictly focused on the product concept while forgetting the client.

The ERP concept is first and foremost centred on processes and the flow of information to increase productivity and decision-making quality. Here we touch all of the operational poles of an organization. Talk to Gartner, who pioneered the term.

So we understand each other: the "ERP" concept has nothing to do with the concepts of "Services" business model (Subscription Economy) or "Product" business model (Product-based Economy).

If Mr. Tzuo has not found an answer with the ERP concept to his fundamental questions; Who are my clients? How can I price this service the way I want to? Where's the renew Button? Why can't I sell to everyone? What's going on with my financials? Well, it's just because the answers aren't unique to technology, but always in the way to exploit them.

What Mr. Tzuo should have emphasized in his article, and which transpires a bit, I agree, is that the old business models no longer hold up. That, indeed, the client must be the center of our concerns from now on, that the Web offers countless new possibilities to increase customer loyalty at substantially lower costs, that the business that fails to accept all of the previous facts is doomed to disappear from the map eventually.

Did I mention a "SaaS" approach, some Web Base application, or a classic SAP application?

Yes, the ERP concept must evolve in its company establishment by taking advantage of the most recent technological possibilities. But the company that decides to go ahead with this type of project must first choose the economic model that it considers the best for its sector of activity and then evaluates the ERP systems able to improve its preferred business model.


What matters here to be true to my professional beliefs is encouraging the serious manager not to automatically trigger a thorough questioning of his ways each time he lands on an article that announces the coming end of a technology that he exploits. New technological possibilities challenge our ways of doing things daily and, with this in mind, we must remain lucid and objective, in addition to constantly sharpening our business vision to develop our business.

Launching the message "The end of ERP" for free with the new possibilities of the Web as a justifying backdrop to automatically generate a more agile and more efficient company is like asserting "The end of food" to move forward and justify the idea that soon we will be running on pills to save time. Yes, maybe, but we will still need food… At least from what I currently know about human biology. At the risk of disappointing some, the concept of "food" may endure for a little while, even if the concept must evolve and take another form, borrow another medium in the future.

As long as going there with such statements, why not the end of the world in 2012! Weird, I have a feeling of already heard, which is nothing to reassure.


Good management!

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