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Should our group implement ERP on a single shared instance?

Read Josh Greenbaum's advice to a group of companies looking to implement ERP independently or on a single shared instance in this tip.

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?
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.

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