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More consolidation in ERP

After Activant became an acquisition in the Thomas Cressey Equity Partners Portfolio last week — moving the OpenERP solution (formerly eXegeSys) into a bigger conglomerate — another 3000 solution has gone deeper inside a massive buyout. Infor, a $800 million company with offices and customers "including many of the world's leading process and discrete manufacturers and distribution companies," is purchasing SSA Global for an eye-popping $1.36 billion.

SSA Global is well-known to the several hundred MANMAN customers running the application on the HP 3000. SSA purchased Computer Associates ERP businesses several years ago, then turned some heads by telling 3000 sites they didn't have to migrate off the MANMAN application, despite HP's advice, so long as no major enhancements was an okay future.

Now the combined company is primed to be the third largest ERP application provider in the world, just after SAP and Oracle. There's a lot of AS/400-i5 energy among its development managers and customers, making IBM look closer at what's become the leading supplier of apps for the i5 platform. It's also become a company with 7,000 employees and 37,000 customers. A few hundred of those still use HP 3000s, for now.

A brief note from ERP consultant Terri Glendon Lanza on the MANMAN mailing list was titled, "Here we go again," probably the sentiment that a MANMAN community feels after being passed from parent to parent, each bigger than the last, over the past six years.

A good report on the merger from the IBM i5 perspective notes that the two companies have a track record of never sunsetting an application — with the exception of MANMAN, "where a platform has been killed off by its owner, such as Hewlett-Packard's HP 3000 server platform."

Killed off? We don't know about that, but finding someone to answer questions about MANMAN's future might feel like a death march in a company getting as big as Infor-SSA. Oh, and Infor's owners? They're the Golden Gate Capital group that now also owns parts of WRQ and Ecometry. There must be some gold in those enterprise customer hills. The SSA deal is scheduled to close this summer, but insiders own 84 percent of the SSA shares that Infor is purchasing. Done deal, probably.