The proliferation of the SaaS model as a main venue for software distribution is undisputed. For small businesses, SaaS offerings opened the potential to adopt software solutions that would have been beyond their price range before. The possibility for small businesses to adopt software solutions that were solely in the realm of enterprise players up to that time, paved the way to the proliferation of more and more web-based solutions, in areas such as project management, lead management and CRMs, marketing automation, BI and asset management, to name a few. Marc Andreessen, for one, predicts that
“a whole new series of specialized SaaS apps will arrive to serve specific industry verticals.”
Altogether, the multiplicity of solutions that make up the ecosystem in which a business operates is the modern equivalent of what would previously be described as a business’s ERP system. This ERP is no longer the product of a sole manufacturer, and its different parts usually don’t connect or communicate with one another. This is what I like to call the fragmented ERP. It varies from its former counterpart in that the business now has a choice between competing vendors for each feature of the ecosystem as a whole. Its main shortcoming is the lock-in of company data in the servers of third-party service providers, and the inability to easily accomplish tasks that require intersecting data from multiple such sources.
*This article is part of a business plan I decided to edit into a series of blog posts. You can find the rest of the content here | A variety of web applications now serve the mission traditionally played by an ERP system. We can now choose the best of breed solution for each type of service required by our business, but the caveat is that the different pieces don’t communicate well with one another.