Without question, one of the best acts on the enterprise software stage in the past decade was Oracle's "Applications Unlimited" strategy that has prolonged the deaths of the Siebel, JD Edwards and Peoplesoft code bases. Essentially, Oracle promised Siebel, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers that they would continue to support them on current versions, as well as continue to develop the individual product lines into the foreseeable future when Fusion applications would take over. The result of this strategy has been growing revenue and maintenance streams for Oracle that would delight all but the biggest numbers curmudgeon.
Earlier today, I posited that Ariba will most likely find a way to consolidate the Procuri code base. If they plan to move onto a common platform, this will be all the more critical to do quickly and right given the J2EE (Ariba) vs. .Net (Procuri) architecture and platform differences between the two solution providers. Without consolidation, there will be no simple development synergies between the two providers.
However -- and I'm just positing this to be contrarian -- might Ariba pursue a "Supply Management Unlimited" strategy, keeping two different platforms ala Oracle for a number of years? Since the great majority of Procuri customers are quite satisfied with their choice in vendors -- and I'm sure many will be wary about switching to a new UI and a new platform -- perhaps the Supply Management Unlimited Strategy is not that outrageous after all. And maybe Procuri could become Ariba’s platform play for the middle market -- it's unlikely, but possible. This "maintain Procuri" strategy also would counter the predatory strategies and FUD sales points that Emptoris and others will no doubt make to get current Procuri and Ariba customers to switch vendors in the next six to nine months -- the greatest period of platform strategy uncertainty and the best time for competitors to swoop into Ariba's and Procuri's customer base.
So will we see a "Supply Management Unlimited" strategy? Only time will tell, but perhaps this notion which at first appears absurd, could in fact be quite astute. I’d love to hear what others think on the subject, so please, chime in with your thoughts below.