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.

Lesson Learned

Software Selection

Our software selection process includes scripted demonstrations. The first demonstration is based on requirements, takes on average of 3 hours and is used as a way to select two final vendors for a more detailed demonstration based on business processes. The script can be challenging and some vendors would rather perform their usual demonstration sometimes called a dog and pony show. These vendors typically suffer the consequences as our clients will judge them harshly for not following the script. But we did recently experience a case where the vendor did not follow the script very well and our client did not reject them. In fact, this vendor was eventually selected. The vendor had so much experience in our client’s industry and was able to make the attendees feel comfortable with the solution which appeared easier to use than the other systems.  One of the reasons the system appeared easier to use was that the vendor did not demonstrate all the requirements. Lesson learned – We need to ease back on the number of requirements to be demonstrated in the first demonstration.

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Business Process Review

Business Process Analysis

A business process review is essential to any potential business process improvement or system selection project. But there is a huge variance in what is included in these reviews by the organizations that conduct them. A business process review has the following benefits:

  • Requirements are exposed based on the as-is business process and requirements to overcome the problems
  • The impact of the problems are useful in making a business case
  • The documentation will be useful to potential vendors who should be able to reduce the billable scoping work that they normally complete
  • The problems identified in the business process review should be considered opportunities for business process improvement and will help ensure that these problems are resolved

SAP defers profit goal to build cloud business


January 21, 2014 from Reuters - “…The global cloud services market last year grew by almost a fifth to an estimated $131 billion, according to research firm Gartner. IBM Markets Intelligence estimates the market could be as big as $200 billion by 2020…”

180 View - The big vendors such as SAP and Oracle are late to the cloud party. They are making up for it by making acquisitions of cloud-ready software. But it remains to be seen whether their flagship products will ever get off the ground.


Disintegration of ERP into services accelerates


February 4, 2014 from ZDNet - “Gartner recently issued a prediction that massive enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are bound for the scrapheap of history. In the long run, it ultimately makes sense - but Gartner only gives them another two years…

Now, cloud, which puts those abstracted services into extremely user-friendly packages, is accelerating the stripping away of ERP systems…”

180 View – Don’t believe that ERP systems are dying or that somehow they become extremely easy to use if they are in the clouds or integrate with “cloud point solutions”. Organizations have complex business processes and want systems to automate them and one throat to choke if there is a problem. Complexity does not go away if the system is in the clouds or has the slickest of user interfaces or integrates with point solutions. In fact, you could argue that integration with the point solutions actually increases the complexity.


Top ERP Trend? Usability, Says Nucleus Research


January 9, 2014 from enterpriseAPPStoday - “Vendors realize they must make investments to reduce the complexity of ERP and make it more usable for end users. It’s not just doing mobile, but making mobile more intuitive. It’s not “just adding new features but really thinking about making the UI more user friendly,” she said. “Nobody is making their ERP decisions based on a long, detailed feature and function checklist anymore; they’re really looking for how to get more value out of it.”

180 View – We disagree that nobody is making decisions based on detailed features. Vendors typically need to respond to long lists of requirements. The article discusses getting more value from a system based on a “consumer-like experience they’ve come to expect”. Although we agree that a simpler user interface is very helpful, it does not eliminate the features needed by many organizations to solve complex business processes.


Big Data — Are We to Repeat the Past?

Business Intelligence

December 12, 2103 from Industry Week - “Only time will tell if Big Data is the next RFID, but don’t look for it becoming universally employed in an efficient way anytime soon…”

180 View - Big Data has become the latest killer application and the vendors are making a big deal about it. The author of the article raises a number of good questions about whether Big Data is all that it is cracked out to be. We think that Big Data analysis does make sense for some larger organizations that have people with the right skills who can harness the data to make predictions about the future. But it does not replace human insight and intuition.


5 Big Business Intelligence Trends For 2014

Business Intelligence

January 31, 2014 from InformationWeek - “In some respects, 2014 will echo themes heard in 2013, but the message is getting louder when it comes to visual data discovery, cloud, and mobile. Big data also will continue to garner attention, but people will take a pragmatic approach to adoption. Simplicity, meanwhile, will experience a second coming.…”

180 View – The article describes the trends and the corresponding new functionality from some of the vendors.


How to Get to Mars


180 View - And you thought your ERP implementation project was challenging.