Dear Santa : The CXO ERP Xmas Letter

Can Santa help ERP users this holiday season? I doubt it. But, if you believe in Santa, maybe this letter needs to come from your firm.
Written by Brian Sommer, Contributor on

************************************************************************** After I penned this, I discovered this CFO letter to Santa on Corefino's site. Click here to launch this video). **************************************************************************

Dear Santa –

All of us here at XYZ company have been good boys and girls this year. We kept up revenue, propped up the share price and even upped productivity in the worst economy our firm has ever witnessed. However, we’re not feeling the love from one of our suppliers: our ERP vendor. We’re hoping you, Mrs. Claus or one of the elves up there in the Northern Silicon Valley Pole can help.

You see, while we faced dire business conditions, closed plants and laid off employees, our ERP vendor actually raised maintenance prices. They gave us an ultimatum, too. They said that we had to upgrade to their current version as they were dropping support for the version we’re using. They also told us that the six products we licensed are being broken into 14 separate products. If want to use them, we’ll have to re-license everything and accept some new, more restrictive terms and conditions.

Our ERP vendor really has us over a barrel. We’ve got lots of SPOTS (that’s Software On The Shelf, Santa) and we can’t afford to implement them let alone pay the maintenance on them.

Our vendor doesn’t understand how expensive it is to maintain and upgrade their product. The sales rep said that this is our problem not his. We’ve already got twenty people working on the latest round of patches and bug fixes. A re-implementation (which we’ll need to do for the next release) will cost our shareholders millions in market value and free cash flow. Compounding our woes, we can’t seem to find an ERP implementer who is willing to work fast, hard and inexpensively. These ‘integrators’ all went to the Willie Sutton school of bank robbing.

Beyond these vendor driven changes, we’re really feeling the increasing velocity of change in the business climate out there. We doubled the number of acquisitions we’ve completed in just the last three years. We’ve never been in more global markets and the speed with which our ever-growing list of competitors keep wheeling and dealing is really putting a strain on our firm, our rigid ERP system and our bottom line.

So, Santa, what we really need this year from you is an ERP system that:

- changes at the speed our business (not the business world of 1970) - costs next to nothing to upgrade - has very predictable costs and costs that stay reasonable - requires little or no implementation services - adds value to our firm (not tank our share price) - comes from a vendor interested in growing our margins not just their maintenance and service margins

We’re really hoping you can come through for us Santa or else many of us in top management will be joining the ranks of the unemployed.

Happy Holidays Santa,

p.s., We hope you added our ERP sales rep, Simon LeGreed, to your naughty list.

Editorial standards