News & Views

News & Views is published monthly by 180 Systems. Our objective is to provide recent articles to our readers on business technology topics. In some cases, our blog contains a title with a hyperlink to a source article, a quote from the article and our comments. In other cases, we have provided a blog without a hyperlink for original content by 180 Systems. We encourage you to post your own comments. You can also access our blog by topic.

The complex art of estimating

ERP, Software Selection

December 2011 from CAmagazine and written by Michael Burns – “Few complex projects are undertaken without some estimating being done. Whether it’s a construction company that needs to do a custom project or an accounting firm that needs to prepare a proposal for a complex audit engagement, someone (often several people) will have to take a stab at calculating the effort and cost required to finish the job…”

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Crystal Ball Is Cloudy for ERP Market

Cloud Computing, ERP

November 14, 2011 from BusinessFinance – “As Workday continues to expand and the likelihood of its IPO becomes a more frequent topic of discussion, so does the movement of ERP systems to the cloud. Thus far, only a minority of companies have chosen to put their ERP and accounting systems in the cloud, but the numbers are growing and there’s evidence of success. NetSuite, for example, reported a 26 percent increase in its revenues to $145 million in the nine months up to Sept. 30, 2011. To be sure, this is not close to Salesforce.com’s size and growth rate over the past decade, but it does indicate a growing acceptance of the cloud for this software category…

Those identified as cloud vendors that publish financial statements are currently showing strong growth. Yet what we mean by “cloud computing” is likely to evolve, as will the incumbents’ offerings. The big vendors have big resources, they have (or will have) cloud offerings and are pursuing broader platform strategies that may provide compelling advantages to some customers. The smaller vendors are showing flexibility. The cliché of the fat lady has yet to sing applies to the current environment.”

180 View – Our view is that it is futile to resist the cloud. The major vendors have jumped on the cloud bandwagon and will soon offer cloud-like alternatives. We find that many small and midsized businesses are ready to take the leap into the clouds and believe there is a business case and that the cloud vendors will protect their data.

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What’s the Role of Technology in Continuous Improvement?

Business Process Analysis

October 19, 2011  from Industry Week – “I have often been asked whether continuous improvement (CI) is possible without technology change, and I tell people that CI is about making changes to business processes, not necessarily technology. Without a doubt, technology change is often an enabler that allows CI to occur, but it is not a prerequisite since it is often working on different aspects of the business. We tend to think of technology change in relation to things like information systems, new product developments and refinements or radical new production processes, while CI is focused more on changes to our business processes…

What you should not do is allow yourself to be stopped from your goal of continuous improvement by others throwing out the red herring that you can’t do anything because it would require substantial changes to the technologies used in your business. It usually doesn’t, so don’t let arguments that they will  stop you on your CI journey.”

180 View – We agree that technology is not the only enabler  of  business process or continuous improvement. The article is not specific about the other enablers that we would include, namely simplifying the business process, changing motivation, improving HR and improving the facilities. However just as money can’t buy happiness, but it sure helps. The same goes for IT in that it does not ensure efficient and effective business process, but it sure helps.

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Most fraud is an inside job, says survey

Business Process Analysis

November 10, 2011 from InfoWorld – “Fraud cost organizations 2.1 percent of earnings in the past 12 months, which is equivalent to a week of revenues over the course of a year, according to the Kroll Annual Global Fraud Report, a recent survey that polled more than 1,200 senior executives worldwide.

The research does contain some good news, however, and found a decline in the frequency of fraud over last year. Of the executives polled, 75 percent suffered some kind of fraud-related loss in the last 12 months, which is down from 88 percent the year prior.

However, fraud remains predominantly an inside job, according to the report, and insider jobs increased this year. The 2011 figures show that 60 percent of frauds are committed by insiders, up from 55 percent last year…”

180 View – The article discusses fraud related to the data that has now become more easily accessible as well as the traditional methods such as procurement fraud or internal financial fraud. Although access to information is much better than before, fraudulent employees could have taken hard copy reports in the past and shared them with competitors. With good access restrictions built into the system which are enforced using third party reporting tools, we think fraud opportunities should be diminished. As far as the more traditional forms of fraud, there are tools that can help reduce these risks. These tools include comprehensive audit trails, workflow which enforces division of duties and access restrictions.

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What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

Personal

180 View – something to add to your new year’s resolutions.

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