"They aren't changing out their core ERP, but they're updating their CRM module," Mathaisel notes. "What SAP and Oracle would very much like to do is go after that new work as opposed to a customer of theirs buying a third-party piece of software and trying to bolt it on. Hence SAP Netweaver and Oracle Fusion: They don't want to get ripped out of the system if customers do a module upgrade."
Netweaver is SAP's technology platform that can be used for integration with other platforms or apps, while Fusion is Oracle's middleware portfolio that features hot-pluggable architecture, allowing users to integrate or better use third-party apps or systems.
"A lot of these installations are sticky in that the cost of replacement is prohibitive," agrees Hamerman. But he also notes current technology innovation, predicting that there will be competitors emerging with different business models like SaaS and cloud computing.
So there are ERP opportunities out there, and not just for Oracle and SAP. The era of the big-bang ERP rollout is on its way out, but companies still have a need for integrated, scalable apps and modular updates. There's still software to be sold or custom-built, and there's room for more competition. For now, it remains to be seen which companies will seize these opportunities.