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.

ERP customer survey roundup 2013


December 2013 from CAmagazine and written by Michael Burns – “It’s been seven years since we last asked you to tell us what you really think of your ERP and accounting system. That is far too long, especially given how much technology has changed. So we decided to revive the survey and add some new questions…”



Gartner, Survey Analysis: Customers Rate Their BI Platform

Business Intelligence

July 31, 2103 from Gartner – “This research details the perceptions of business intelligence professionals about 40 business intelligence platforms and their satisfaction with, and usage of, 15 major BI functions, based on a survey conducted for our most recent Magic Quadrant for business intelligence and analytics platforms…”

180 View – This should be a useful article for anyone in the market for a business intelligence (BI) solution. What jumps off the page is “The majority of vendors with above-average deployment sizes tend to have below-average composite product and ease-of-use scores.” This means that the more well-known BI systems don’t score as well as the small and less known systems. The top 5 systems were Panorama Necto, Birst, Bitam, LogiXML, and Board. There were 40 systems from 34 vendors included in the research based on 1,702 survey responses.

We believe that the larger systems, whether they be ERP or BI, tend to have more and more functionality included in their solution at the expense of ease of use. The trick for the vendors is to provide lots of functionality and still keep the system easy to use.


SaaS and Cloud ERP Observations: Is Cloud ERP right for you?

Cloud Computing, ERP

December 12, 2013 from Aberdeen Group – “Over the past six years, Aberdeen has ben measuring the willingness of organizations to consider Software as a Service (SaaS) as the deployment model for their ERP implementations…”

180 View – Although the article is a year old, it is still relevant. The article distinguishes between 2 cloud models – one is SaaS or a public cloud and the other is a hosted model or private cloud. The definition by Aberdeen is confusing as both models are hosted. However public cloud and private cloud does make sense. In the public cloud, organizations are sharing the same instance of the ERP system. In the private cloud, organizations can have their own instance of the software. The public cloud has the advantage of lower costs as multiple organizations are sharing the same resources and are all updated at the same time with bug fixes and enhancements. A private cloud has the advantage of being customized for unique requirements that are not possible without changing source code.

The article does show that there has been a 53% increase in the adoption of SaaS in small organizations which is not surprising in that small organizations don’t have the resources or expertise to manage the infrastructure. The article also claims that SaaS implementations achieved a Return on Investment (ROI) in 23.61 months and on premise achieved ROI in 31.09 months. It’s not clear where these numbers come from but we can’t imagine they are accurate. Our experience is that ROI is wishful thinking in an ERP implementation as many of the benefits can’t be quantified.


SAP Business ByDesign will live on, exec says


October 22, 2013 from ComputerWorld – “…The German news magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported on Saturday that SAP had moved development resources away from Business ByDesign and would essentially put the product into maintenance mode.

In a subsequent statement, SAP said ByDesign would be rolled into the HANA Cloud product line and would “continue to be supported and actively promoted in its current scope.”

…What’s hard to dispute is that ByDesign has been a bit of a problem child for SAP. Developed at reportedly great expense, the product was initially expected to have 10,000 customers by 2010 and be generating $1.4 billion in revenue for SAP. Instead, ByDesign has about 1,100 customers today, according to a spokeswoman. Details on how much money it is making weren’t available…”

180 View – We were involved in a software selection project and ByDesign (ByD) was one of the potential systems being considered. When the story broke about the product’s future, the natural inclination was to pick a system that had less risks about its future. We advised the vendor about our concerns, and one of the top guns from SAP contacted us with the message that “SAP is not shutting down ByD. We are upgrading it and improving it.” I imagine that the person responsible for the initial message about SAP moving development resources away from ByD is now looking for a job. But it’s still hard to understand why SAP shot itself in the foot. Perhaps there was an Oracle double agent working for them.


BA vs IT in ERP

ERP, Project Management

September 5, 2013 from – “Which is more important in hiring a consultant for an ERP implementation, someone with strong information technology skills or someone who is a skilled business analyst? The ideal answer is “both”. You want someone who has the computer and technology skills to help steer the implementation and the business analysis skills to help restructure your business process…

The question then, is given minimal abilities in the other area which competency is more important?”

180 View – We are often asked the same thing. We would agree with the author that business analysis skills are more important. There will be the need for some technical/IT skills but this can be outsourced if the needs are relatively small. But the work that the business analysis should not be outsourced as the business analyst(s) are critical to the success of the project and you don’t want to lose their knowledge after the system is implemented.


Top misconceptions of the Lean movement

Business Process Analysis

October 24, 2013 from Entrepreneur – “…Lean has proven a difficult process to master — not a quick fix, but a long, complex business-culture-changing journey. The Lean movement has also suffered from a number of “misconceptions…”

180 View – The article describes 4 misconceptions. Lean is not a cost cutting exercise (#1) or just about production (#2) and can’t be accomplished without input from other departments in a company (#3) or without input from business partners (#4).


Why Do Big IT Projects Fail So Often?

Project Management

October 29, 2013 from Information Week– “…Industry research suggests that large IT projects are at far greater risk of failure than smaller efforts. A 2012 McKinsey study revealed that 17% of lT projects budgeted at $15 million or higher go so badly as to threaten the company’s existence, and more than 40% of them fail…”

180 View – The article is mostly about the Obamacare’s website failure and potential causes. One simple solution to big project failure is to split the project into multiple sub-projects. The article does point out that the Obamacare’s website was underway for more than three years, yet nothing was made available until October 1, 2013.


Will Google’s Robots Change Business Or Just Scare Everybody?

IT Strategy

December 16, 2013 from WebProNews / Technology – “What many of us have anticipated and joked about (uneasily) for years is now coming to fruition. Google is quickly assembling an army of robots. The company has acquired eight robotics companies (that we know of), and is using them for something that it is saying very little about…

Google does apparently intend to make good B2B use of its robots, however. According to the first NYT report about Rubin and the seven robot companies, Google isn’t aiming at consumers (“yet”), but manufacturing and “competing with companies like Amazon in retailing”. It mentions “automating portions of an existing supply chain that stretches from a factory floor to the companies that ship and deliver goods to a consumers’ doorstep…”

180 View – Follow the money.


Use of Social Media Among Canada’s Small Business Owners Up 42 Per Cent from 2012

IT Strategy

October 25, 2013 from BMP Financial Group – “Small business owners in Canada are becoming increasingly tech savvy, according to a new BMO Bank of Montreal report, with social media leading the charge as small businesses increase their use of digital technology…

Half of all businesses (46 per cent) use social media to promote their company’s brand, while 38 per cent use them to sell their products and services…”

180 View – We were alerted to this article by CPA Canada. The article does not address whether the benefits exceed the costs but it sounds like there are opportunities out there for organizations (including ours) to invest in social media.


Pale Blue Dot


180 View – The link is a photograph of Earth taken by Voyager 1 which was dubbed “Pale Blue Dot.” The site also includes Carl Sagan giving us his spin on it.