How many vendors do you usually evaluate when trying to determine the best solution for a contract? Ten? Twenty? How about 100?
As reported yesterday, that's the number of vendors who bid for Elders Limited's (think the Bunnings of the bush) request for tender for its ERP suite.
While we can't ascertain the value of the contract (these things aren't usually revealed), we do know the suite will be rolled out to 300 Elders stores as part of a AU$10 million project for the business.
More interesting however is who Elders judged to offer the best solution. The ERP market has some of the biggest companies in the IT industry such as Oracle and SAP, and while we only know a few vendors that tendered, the result was still a surprise.
After nine months of consultations with its 300 stores, Elders handed the deal to a 20-person outfit in Melbourne, Mid-Comp International.
Founded in 1995, Mid-Comp has focused on some niche areas, but is starting to tailor its products more to the mass IT market. The company specialises in supply chain, managed availability and IBM systems management.
Mid-Comp's win is a reminder of just how many players there are in the ERP market, and that if you scratch below the surface, you may find more than you expected.
Elders' decision also makes you question the conventional wisdom of just who the "market leaders" really are.