Assess, Stabilize, Invest & Evaluate

AMR offers advice for companies adopting enterprise commerce management

Boston  July 10, 2001  Companies looking to maximize their investments in various enterprise-class information technology systems by applying enterprise commerce management (ECM) should begin by assessing their current systems' compatibility with ECM and by putting new technology investments on hold and evaluating these initiatives within the ECM model, according to technology consulting firm AMR Research.

AMR today outlined these and other key first steps customers can take to achieve the benefits of enterprise commerce management (ECM), the consultancy's blueprint for planning, managing and maximizing disparate investments in enterprise resource planning (ERP), e-procurement, customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM) and other business applications.

Bob Parker, AMR analyst and author of the consultancy's recently released report on enterprise management entitled, "Enterprise Commerce Management: The Blueprint for the Next Generation of Enterprise Systems," is heading the ECM initiative for AMR.

"We developed the ECM concept to provide a roadmap for companies to put strategy and structure around the broad range of applications they have acquired, how best to deploy them and how to maximize the benefit received," Parker said. "ECM is not an application users have to buy or a software market in and of itself. Rather, ECM unifies the whole universe of enterprise applications and provides technical standards for software suppliers to meet to determine their level of ECM compliance."

Parker offered recommendations for first steps that companies can take in moving toward an ECM model:

-- Assess readiness. Most applications today meet few, if any, of the ECM requirements, according to AMR. Companies need to honestly assess how close their specific applications are to compliance and evaluate upgrades and new investments on their level of ECM compliance.

-- Stabilize the existing environment. AMR Research advises companies to complete mission-critical projects, but put other technology investments on hold until they can evaluate them within the ECM model.

-- Invest aggressively in a private trading exchange (PTX) platform. AMR Research believes that the PTX is the most important technology investment a company can make in the next 18 months.

-- Evaluate suppliers on ECM criteria. The closer suppliers come to compliance, the smaller the cost of maintenance and the greater the potential for business benefit for applications within a corporate environment.

"The ultimate goal of ECM is to put users back in control of their systems," said Parker. "The inherent message to technology providers is that they need to re-examine how they are developing and delivering applications, and to encourage them to design new software with the end users' needs in mind."