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The return of Big ERP?

Inside the Enterprise: SAP and Oracle are seeing turnover return to pre-downturn levels. Are businesses taking another look at large-scale ERP projects?

The UK economy shrunk back towards the end of last year: figures announced this week show that GDP fell by 0.5 per cent. Despite this, manufacturing managed to post growth, and there is some evidence that companies are starting to spend again, even if consumers are keeping hold of their cash.

Manufacturing managed to grow by 1.4 per cent, perhaps not enough to herald an industrial renaissance in the UK, for that matter, the Government's much-vaunted rebalancing of the economy. But it does suggest that manufacturing firms are in a better position to invest in IT than they have been for the last two years.

At the global level, this is supported by figures from SAP and managed a 27 per cent rise in revenues in its fourth quarter, even though it has to pay damages of $1.3 billion (818 million) to Oracle in damages arising from the TomorrowNow case.

Last December, Oracle announced that its second-quarter revenues were up 47 per cent on its revenues for the first quarter of its 2011 financial year.

According to Jim Shepherd, of industry analyst firm Gartner, these figures are no surprise. Last year saw a "quiet comeback" for large-scale ERP projects, still bread and butter business for companies such as SAP and Oracle. According to Shepherd, last year saw a steady upturn in the number of Gartner clients asking for advice on ERP implementation or consolidation.

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