Open-Source ERP Grows Up

Wary of mounting acquisitions in the business applications sector harming his enterprise resource planning investment, John Rogelstad searched for an alternative that could carry his small cut-and-sew manufacturing company to the next level.

He took an unexpected turn down the open-source ERP road.

The director of operations at Marena Group, a manufacturer for post-surgical garments, Rogelstad had a Lilly Software Associates ERP system in place, but after Lilly was acquired by Infor Global Solutions, he found a dramatic decrease in support. With several big IT initiatives in the pipeline, Marena started to feel uneasy with Infor as a partner. “We felt like since Infor acquired Lilly, they were getting very bureaucratic and disorganized. Our sense was they were more interested in acquisitions than working on their core product or developing a new core,” said Rogelstad in Lawrenceville, Ga.

In the course of his due diligence to find a replacement suite, Rogelstad found Lilly wasn’t the only ERP company to be acquired; just about every suitable midmarket player out there had been (or was in the process of being) acquired. In addition to Lilly, Infor had acquired Datastream, Formation Systems and Mapics before it acquired SSA Global earlier this year; SSA Global had acquired a dozen companies since 2001, including Baan, Marcam, Epiphany and Provia. Oracle, which has been on an for the past two years, snatched up PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel Systems, along with a host of vertically aligned vendors such as Retek and G-Log. Then there’s Microsoft, which, between 2001 and 2002, acquired two ERP mainstays—Great Plains (which had acquired Solomon) and Navision (which had acquired Axapta).

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