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.

Customer survey of accounting and ERP systems


With CAmagazine, we are conducting a customer survey of accounting and ERP systems. The last time we did this was in 2006 and you can check those results out at But 7 years is a long time especially when it comes to technology. This time, we have created three surveys based on the following criteria applicable to the customer of these systems:


Tier one

Tier two

  Tier three




Number of employees




Licence fees




Annual fee for Software as a Service (SaaS)




Implementation fees:License Fees




The survey must be completed by September 20 and can be accessed by clicking on one of the following links:

We can accept only one completed survey per organization and it must be completed by an employee or director working for a US or Canadian company which does not sell or implement systems. Please pass this on if you know anyone who might be interested in participating. The results will be published in December.


Blue Link Case Study


February 2013 and written by Michael Burns – “Golda’s Kitchen (GK) is the leading Canadian on-line shopping site for over 13,000 quality kitchenware products — baking, cooking & measuring equipment; specialty cake decorating, chocolate & confectionery supplies; and a wide assortment of kitchen tools, knives & appliances. The company was having challenges keeping up with their growth using their older systems that were not integrated and selected Blue Link in the summer of 2011 to automate accounting, inventory, POS, purchasing and order processing…”

180 View – Please contact us if you know of any organization that would be interested in a case study written from an independent perspective.


Interview with Don Kennedy from Kennedy Vomberg regarding the benefits of cloud-based ERP system

Cloud Computing, ERP

February 6, 2013 – Kennedy Vomberg implements Deltek Vision, which is one of the leading systems for professional service-based organizations. I asked Don to discuss the impact of Deltek Vision now available as a Cloud-based solution rather than needing to install it on a local server (on-premise). Don explained the Cloud model has, in some instances, brought certain expectations with it. For instance, given the ease in which a company can request and access cloud software (as opposed to the time typically incurred in preparing an in-house environment and subsequently installing the software), some people perceive that the system can be just turned on and is good to go, and that all they need is some basic training. The reality is that the implementation does not change much with the Cloud model. You still need to engage in upfront design discussions, configure the software to reflect your design decisions, and test your configured model to ensure it meets your needs. 

The savings in vendor implementation time may only be about 5% given that the software installation component is the only step no longer necessary.  But there are other savings in avoiding the time to source and set-up an on-premise server-based solution and install and maintain the system.  Don did point out that more timely access to upgrades was something his clients constantly mentioned as providing immediate benefit to their firm especially when the upgrades required a change in database or network as his clients would not need to upgrade their infrastructure.


2013 ERP Market Share Update: SAP Solidifies Market Leadership


May 12, 2013 from Forbes – “During 2012 the worldwide Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) market experienced sluggish growth of just 2.2%, yet Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), financial management and Human Capital Management (HCM) applications showed potential for breakout growth. Through the challenging times of the previous year however, SAP  still retained worldwide market share leadership…”

180 View – The vendors that made it on pie chart in order of market share are:

  • SAP
  • Oracle
  • Sage
  • Infor
  • Microsoft
  • Kronos
  • Totvs
  • Concur
  • YonYou
  • UNIT4

I had not heard of YonYou before which “was founded in 1988 and is now recognized as a leading enterprise management software, solutions and cloud service provider in China and the Asia Pacific region” according to the company website. Ditto re Totvs and according to their website – “TOTVS is a software, services and technology company. An absolute leader in Brazil with 55.4% of market share and also in Latin America with 35%, (according to Gartner institute), it is the biggest software company in emerging countries and the 6th in the world.” Who knew? Another interesting finding was “The fastest growing ERP vendors in 2012 include Workday, Cornerstone OnDemand, WorkForce Software, Ventyx and NetSuite.”


5 Ways to Screw up an IT Project

Project Management

July 17, 2013 from Computerworld – “Paul Simon famously sang that there must be 50 ways to leave your lover. Similar could be said (if not sung) regarding projects: There must be 50 ways to screw up your IT projects. Indeed, ask IT executives and project management experts, as did, and they will rattle off dozens of reasons why projects go astray. For the sake of brevity, however, we are starting with the top 15 ways to derail a project–and how to avoid these project management pitfalls…”

180 View – We liked the reference to Paul Simon as well as the pitfalls to avoid.  Not all of the pitfalls are obvious.


User Survey Analysis: Customers Rate Their CPM Vendors, 2012

Business Intelligence, CPM

June 4, 2013 – “Gartner’s survey of 275 customer references from 13 corporate performance management vendors between September and November 2012 has produced valuable insights and benchmarking data for IT leaders assessing CPM solutions. Don’t just focus on the megavendors when evaluating prospective providers…”

180 View – This analysis from Gartner is provided by LongView, which scored really well. There are also 13 other vendors included in the report consisting of:

  • IBM
  • Prophix
  • Board International
  • Host Analytics
  • Longview
  • Oracle
  • Tagetik
  • Bitam
  • KCI Computing
  • SAP
  • SAS
  • Infor
  • Prevero

Buried in software licensing

Contract Negotiations, ERP

August 2, 2013 from Computerworld – “David Steinour is at his wit’s end with enterprise software cost increases. In each of the past three years, the CIO at George Washington University (GWU) watched his annual maintenance and support costs for Oracle Financials and related enterprise software jump by at least 10%.

“Oracle works very well, but at the end of the day we pay a huge price for that service,” Steinour says.

Today, 99% of the fixed-cost increases in the university’s IT budget come from software maintenance price hikes. “That’s just not sustainable,” says Steinour, whose IT department supports 20,000 students and 1,600 faculty members…”

180 View – This problem will eventually undermine the leading ERP vendors who charge their clients a fortune in maintenance each year without providing enough value in return. Customers are between a rock and a hard place. Their systems work by and large but they hate the high costs of maintenance.


Supply Chain and Logistics Technology: ERP vs. Best of Breed

ERP, Supply Chain Management

July 1, 2013 from Logistics Management – “Shippers continue to grapple with the age-old dilemma of having to choose between ERP-developed supply chain software and those targeted solutions produced by best-of-breed providers. Here are a few tips that could make the choice a little easier…”

180 View – We are always running into the question of ERP vs. Best of Breed. As my MBA professor often said, the answer to the question is “it depends.” There will be situations when the needs of an organization compel it to invest in a best of breed solution as the ERP vendor only scrapes the surface. The problem with best of breed is integration despite all the technology advancements such as web services/xml. Ideally the ERP or accounting system is already integrated with the best of breed. If not, make sure you have a well-defined specification as well as an understanding of costs to implement as well as to stay in synch as the integrated systems are upgraded.

1 Comment

The Big Joke About Big Data

Business Intelligence

July 29, 2013 from Wall Street Technology – “It never ceases to amaze me how frantically people rush to shoehorn their products, companies or internal IT strategies into the latest buzzword. Every large banking, investment and insurance company claims to have a big data strategy. The big joke is that these strategies are often very small…”

180 View – The article goes on to say that big data is really found in unstructured format in social media, email, online customer chat, call centre notes and open-ended survey questions, and that “big data strategy that deals just with log files (structured data) is risky and virtually guarantees you will be delivering legacy on arrival.” We agree with the comment about how people jump on the latest technology bandwagon but don’t agree it’s a waste of time to analyze structured data. The jury is still out on analyzing unstructured data despite claims by the author who just happens to work for a company that sells a system that will analyze unstructured data.