PwC adds mid-tier players to portfolio

Mid-market manoeuvring continued in the enterprise resource planning market last week when PeopleSoft unveiled a new joint implementation strategy in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In the same week, Baan, the troubled Dutch ERP vendor, extended its relationship with PwC Consulting, highlighting the power struggle among the Big Five consultancies and ERP giants, all of which claim to have tailored their products for second-tier corporates.

The PeopleSoft strategy relies heavily on PwC as its main implementation partner. PwC, however, has a string of partnering deals with other mid-range vendors such as Agresso and Platinum, as well as the high-end players.

But Nick Griffin, managing partner at Deloitte & Touche Management Solutions, Deloittes’ mid-range consulting arm, said PwC lacked the necessary internal structures to deal with the mid- and high-end markets simultaneously. ‘PwC just has a single consultancy practice. There’s been a scramble for the mid-market because the Big Five have just woken up to it. We set up a consulting practice for it three years ago,’ he said.

Ian du Cros, a senior manager at PwC’s global risk-management practice who works closely with Platinum, played down fears that the firm was spreading consulting resources too thin in the ERP market by backing so many different vendors. ‘We have a critical mass for the mid-market and it’s not a new market for us. High-end ERP companies are not always right for our clients,’ he said.

The strategy is an obvious response to market-leader SAP’s ASAP rapid implementation programme for SMEs. But Alastair McGill, UK marketing director of PeopleSoft, said the company had tailored its strategy for UK businesses following extensive market research. ‘Our mid-market strategy in the US is called Select, but is very low-end and would miss a big sector of the UK market,’ he said.

McGill added that, although many medium-sized companies would not need a whole ERP suite, PeopleSoft would not scale down the functional capabilities of its software. ‘Mid-size companies don’t need “lite” solutions and have the same business pains,’ he said.

Last week, PwC also strengthened its consulting relationship with Baan, despite the company’s repeated profit warnings and speculation over the future of the acquired Coda Financials.

Baan UK product marketing director Richard Anning said the deal will see PwC provide end-to-end consulting for Baan and Coda Financials. Prior to the deal, Baan used PwC for project management during software implementations.

Related reading

aidan-brennan kpmg