"ERP really was successful," Rick Beers, Oracle's senior director of product management for Fusion middleware told iTWire.
It delivered standardised data and processes, and was efficient from a CFO's perspective. Oracle and other vendors "made a big difference."
But somewhere around the late 90s the three-to-five-year upgrade cycle fell apart. While standardisation based on the 'best practices' embedded in the software worked in some parts of an organisation, others - such as manufacturing units - needed differentiation, so "customisations 'snuck in'," making upgrading more difficult.
Balancing standardisation with differentiation is a CIO's hardest job, but "we want to provide the optimum balance."
The idea is that Oracle will continue to provide the core ERP engine, as without a single engine organisations will not be able to achieve a sufficiently low total cost of ownership.
That will be surrounded by three layers in a scheme the company has dubbed AppAdvantage - see page 2.