Re: Just say no ...
Councils should definitely be looking at alternatives
The problem with any commercial alternative is that the tactics of Oracle, SAP (not to mention Infor and Epicor) are simply to allow smaller and often better ERP competitors to grow, and then when they become commercially significant, they buy the company, and either snuff the product and force customers onto the expensive-and-crap core product, or borg the new software and force that down the throat of all their customers, on the normal userous licencing terms. Even the likes of Infor and Epicor are probably only biding their time, waiting for a bid from Oracle or SAP, and in turn the small fry often grow by acquisition:
FOSS or home brew is the most sensible solution, but no councils have the expertise, courage or resources, and after the Munich capitulation ("I have in my hand an offer from Microsoft...") none now will. Given the combined buying power and common needs, it really should be a simple job for councils to commission one, maybe two public sector focused ERP systems to common standards, in which they own all of the IP. But that gets you back into the world of failure, pain, incompetence and waste that are endemic in any public sector shared service or IT project.