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.

Get on my cloud

Cloud Computing

August 2012 from 180 Systems – The hottest technology trend is in the clouds. Cloud computing enables organizations without IT resources to deploy applications such as ERP or CRM over the internet. All the vendors are jumping into the clouds whether they are a small company such as Blue Link (developer of an ERP system targeted to small and mid-sized distributors) or a large company such as Microsoft. In speaking with Mark Canes from Blue Link recently, he told me that most of his new clients will have their system running in the clouds. Blue Link offers a private cloud for each client. A private cloud means that a client has access to their own version of the software in their own private environment.

Other vendors such as NetSuite and offer a shared cloud using multitenant architecture whereby their clients share the same instance of the software on a server. When NetSuite updates their software, they can do it one place and all clients can be updated at the same time thereby reducing the costs to upgrade. When developers of private cloud solutions upgrade their software, they need to do it for each client separately. The private cloud offers some advantages in that the solution could be customized, but these days, customizations are avoided as much as possible because of the initial and ongoing costs. Microsoft has announced that Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 is scheduled to be released in October of 2012 and it will available in the clouds or on premise (on the ground in the customer’s office).

The Rolling Stones wrote “Get off my Cloud” in the 60’s. Today the software vendors are singing a different song – “Get on my cloud”


ERP software survey 2012


September 2012 from CAmagazine and written by Michael Burns – “This year we have added more functionality to the survey, including questions about ease of use, multiple companies, workflow, mobile applications, cloud readiness, browser support, dashboards, online analytical processing, back-order fulfillment, available  to promise, multisite production, customer relationship management and ecommerce…”


System selection done right – Part 4

Software Selection

August 2012 from CAmagazine and written by Michael Burns – “Since January/February, we’ve looked at the software selection process from start to finish. We’ve also considered the roles and responsibilities of the people involved. But before even getting on the road toward a new system, you need to present a good business case. Sometimes that might be easy because the existing system is no longer supported or the business itself has changed. But what if you are frustrated with your existing solution and don’t know what to do?”


Maximizing enterprise resource planning ROI: A guide for mid size companies

Business Case, ERP

April 2010 from IBM – “To determine the ROI, calculate the total costs of your solution by including components such as software, hardware, upgrades, support, maintenance, training, customization, implementation services and more. Compare those costs with the tangible benefits the investment will provide and you will have your ROI. Tangible benefits could be in the form of process improvements enforced by the ERP that have helped your company improve its efficiency, or a rise in revenues or profits because you were able to identify new opportunities.”

180 View – We recently received a link to this article so we have assumed IBM thinks it’s still current thinking. The inconvenient truth with the article and with so many vendors’ promises is that most ERP systems don’t have a positive ROI. However there can still be compelling reasons to invest in a new ERP system without having ROI (such as the old system is no longer supported) and there can be intangible benefits that can justify the expenditure. Also when adding up the costs, don’t forget to include internal costs as IBM has conveniently not specifically included above.


Technology hype vs. reality: How to tell the difference

Business Case, IT Strategy

August 13, 2012 from Computerworld – “There’s one thing everyone working in enterprise IT agrees about: Technology for its own sake is bad. Every new product you adopt has to bring a business value to your organization, either by reducing costs or otherwise improving the bottom line.

Sounds great, in principle. In practice, every technology vendor has a detailed explanation of how each of its products will help your company. It’s up to you to figure out which ones really will. Here are five questions that can help, courtesy of Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Nucleus Research, which specializes in measuring the ROI of technology projects…”

180 View – The 5 questions were good especially the one “Will it pass the Mom test?”


10 Ways to Use ERP to Lean the Manufacturing Supply Chain

Manufacturing and Distribution, Supply Chain Management

Whitepaper from IFS – “…In short, we will discuss:

  • Four tips to help you bring lean supply chain improvements to your manufacturing operation.
  • Six technology tools that help automate these lean supply chain practices…”

180 View – This whitepaper does not contain the usual marketing spin found in many whitepapers published by vendors, and could be helpful to manufacturers. The whitepaper is old but the concepts still apply today.


Where the hell is Matt in 2012?


180 View – We included Matt’s 2008 video in our February 2009 newsletter. This one is even better.


Where the hell is Sabadell?


180 View – Sabadell is in Spain