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Should our group implement ERP on a single shared instance?

We are a group of companies with similar business activities but different JV partners. We are planning to implement ERP. We have two choices: Allow the companies to implement the same or different ERP packages independently OR implement one package on a single-server single instance mode centrally. What choice would be better in the long run?

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There's no real easy answer to your question without knowing more about the sizes of your companies and the industries they serve. What I can say from the limited information you've given me is that I would recommend that each company in your group implement a separate instance of the same ERP system. Unless you are legally bound to operate forever in conjunction with one another, as your businesses expand and evolve – in potentially other directions and lines of business – a single shared instance will be a burden you'll wish you didn't have.

This was first published in April 2006

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