News & Views | ERP

News & Views is published monthly by 180 Systems. Our objective is to provide recent articles to our readers on business technology topics. Our blog contains a title with a hyperlink to the source article, a quote from the article and our comments. We encourage you to post your own comments. You can also access our blog by topic.

Infor bets big on Amazon Web Services for cloud ERP

Cloud Computing, ERP

March 26, 2014 from Computerworld – “Infor is betting big on Amazon Web Services for its cloud ERP (enterprise-resource-planning) software strategy, with plans to begin offering a series of product suites on the company’s IaaS (infrastructure as a service)…”

180 View – We just completed contract negotiations with another vendor that uses Amazon for hosting its system. The vendors need to pay Amazon and also add a markup on the hosting fees leading to an expensive solution for the client. There are alternatives which are less expensive. The trouble is that the alternatives probably don’t have a lot of experience with the application. Our client wanted one throat to choke if there was a problem and so chose hosting from the applications vendor using Amazon Web Services.

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ERP Support Requirements Range Widely

ERP, Software Selection

March 2014 from computer economics – “…Our study, ERP Support Staffing Ratios, shows the typical range of ERP support staffing ratios for installations of all sizes. At the median, there are 58 users per ERP support staff member, rising to 131 users per ERP staff member at the 75th percentile. At the 25th percentile, each ERP staff member supports just 29 users…”

180 View – A key question in the selection process should be the effort required to internally support the system. It is really hard to get this information from the vendors and references should be asked this question.

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Enterprise Software: Suites Don’t Always Win

ERP

February 6, 2014 from The Enterprise System Spectator – “The major enterprise software providers promote their pre-built integration as a selling point in capturing new business from existing clients. They argue that, rather than attempting to integrate different systems from different providers, organizations should buy everything from a single provider and get the integration for free…”

180 View – The Enterprise System Spectator continues to be a good source of independent thinking. This article is about ERP vs Best of Breed and there is no winner.

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SAP defers profit goal to build cloud business

ERP

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.

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Disintegration of ERP into services accelerates

ERP

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.

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Top ERP Trend? Usability, Says Nucleus Research

ERP

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.

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ERP customer survey roundup 2013

ERP

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…”

 

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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.

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SAP Business ByDesign will live on, exec says

ERP

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.

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BA vs IT in ERP

ERP, Project Management

September 5, 2013 from Toolbox.com – “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.

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