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.

Why Oracle May Really Be Doomed This Time

ERP

February 11, 2012 – “…Back when it was starting its $20 billion buying spree of companies in 2006, analysts all said the strategy would fail. There were a lot of compelling arguments why.

People said that the assets of a software company are the engineers and the engineers would go elsewhere. People argued that Oracle fundamentally didn’t know how to write good application software, and they couldn’t buy their way into changing that DNA. People argued that stitching together the disparate systems of PeopleSoft, Siebel, Oracle into Project Fusion would create a Frankensteinian mess of unshippable bloatware. I once wrote a BusinessWeek profile of John Wookey– the man tasked with Fusion in the wake of all the purchases - It’s telling that he’s now at salesforce.com…

What customers wanted instead was convenience and stability. So much work and money had gone into implementing these programs, and no one wanted to rip them out, no matter how much they hated them. They would happily just keep paying on-going maintenance fees to stick with the status quo. By mopping up the cash-rich but growth-challenged enterprise giants, Oracle could amass an installed base and bottom line that would be the envy of the tech world…

180 View – The author believes that many companies are now ready to switch to new systems because of a number of factors which are described in the article. I don’t think that the reasons given are sufficient as the reasons have nothing to do with a compelling business case. We think the title of the article is misleading as there is no evidence that Oracle is anywhere close to being doomed. Even the author “would not count Oracle out”.

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Massive Air Force ERP software project still struggles

ERP

February 13, 2012 from Computerworld – “A massive Oracle ERP (enterprise-resource-planning) software project being conducted by the U.S. Air Force continues to experience difficulties, with the defense agency deciding to toss out some completed work as part of a restructuring plan that will be announced soon, according to an official communication released last week…

Dubbed the Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS), the project was started in 2005 and is supposed to replace more than 200 legacy systems. Its total estimated costs, which were originally placed at about $3 billion, have grown to more than $5 billion…”

180 View – And you thought you had problems. It is hard to understand how such a high profile project could fail so badly. But the problems are likely the same problems that plague other implementations such as lack of clearly defined requirements.

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Oracle Rejects $272M SAP Award, Demands New Trial

ERP

February 9, 2012 from CRM Daily – “Business software maker Oracle Corp. has turned down $272 million in court-ordered damages from SAP AG in hopes of leaving a much bigger dent in its rival’s pocketbook and reputation during a second trial over allegations of corporate theft…

After SAP took over TomorrowNow in 2005, Oracle uncovered evidence that TomorrowNow was breaking into Oracle’s computers to steal instruction manuals and other technical information  about copyrighted software.

SAP acknowledged much of the misconduct before the first trial began in 2010, but argued it shouldn’t be penalized severely because it didn’t gain that much from the stolen data. SAP estimated it picked up about $40 million in revenue from the skullduggery, prompting it to set aside $160 million for the damages that it thought it might have to pay…”

180 View – We think Oracle made a smart move in rejecting the offer. The reason given is they believe they should have been awarded a lot more than the $272M. I think another reason is that they can continue to embarrass SAP in the court of public opinion.

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Benchmarking: A Critical Element in Finance Transformation

Benchmarking, Business Process Analysis

February 6, 2012 from BusinessFinance – “Finance, like other key corporate functions, is under pressure to reduce operational costs while increasing the business value it generates for the larger enterprise. To do so, executives need reliable information that can help them understand whether they are accomplishing their objectives and how their performance stacks up against their peers. Such information can be acquired with benchmarking.

What’s surprising is that fewer than a third of finance organizations, according to Accenture’s own data, use benchmarking. That may be why, as reported in the Accenture report, “The Changing Role of the Finance Organization in a Multi-Polar World,” that only 29 percent of 350 survey respondents said they have a good understanding of where their organization stands in relation to finance functions in comparable enterprises…”

180 View – We agree and have built the business process benchmark tool to help – see http://www.180benchmarks.com/.

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Dynamics CRM Going Fully Mobile with Update from Microsoft

CRM

February 6, 2012 from Newsfactor.com – “Days after Salesforce.com announced the release of a customer service desk for mobile devices, Microsoft has announced that the new service update for its Dynamics CRM will feature the ability to access full functionality on any device. The cloud -based, mobile client service is intended for Windows  Phone 7.5, iPad, iPhone, and Android  or BlackBerry devices…”

180 View – There has been a lot of hype about enterprise software such as CRM, ERP and BI being available on mobile devices and it looks like reality is catching up with the hype.

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Supply Chain News: Dr. Elli Goldratt’s Unplugged Interview with SCDigest

Business Process Analysis

February 1, 2012 from SupplyChainDigest – “Last week, we noted the 2011 death of Dr. Eli Goldratt, originator of the “Theory of Constraints,” author of “The Goal,” which introduced TOC to the world, founder of the Goldratt Institute, and much more…

There are two pillars to the Theory of Constraints. One is the starting assumption of all the hard sciences, which is that in all real-life systems there is inherent simplicity. If you can just find that inherent simplicity, you can manage, control and improve the system.

The other pillar is “that people are not stupid…”

180 View – Dr. Goldratt was a brilliant man and we can all learn something from him whether or not we work for a manufacturing company.

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Steve Jobs explains the rules for success

Personal

180 View – Good advice that most of us don’t take.

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