The New CIO Business Leader and Change Management Expert
Today’s chief information officer (CIO) not only has to be knowledgeable about technology, but frequently, the CIO is called upon to align the strategic goals of senior management in addition to managing on-going, day-to-day technology issues—the technology that provides visibility in the decision-making process.According to the IBM survey Expanding the Innovation Horizon: The Global CEO Study 2006, of 765 global chief executive officers (CEOs), most are finding there is a gap in the integration of their business and their technology, which hinders customer satisfaction as well as speed and flexibility in managing the business.A survey sponsored by the Gartner Group, Cost Cutting in IT, states that “2008 represents an important year in the transformation of IT’s role. Executive expectations for IT will accelerate towards greater support for solutions that attract, engage, and retain customers.” Notwithstanding the progress made in the area of aligning business requirements with IT skills, the gap has still not narrowed significantly, as a generational shift has occurred: IT employees in their mid to late 30s have only ever worked in IT, and they may have not had the opportunity to grow inother areas within the organization. Many baby boomers, on the other hand, have been entrenched in one organization for a number of years, and possibly in a number of positions within several company facilities.
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Even in such a volatile stock market and under investor/regulatory scrutiny, going public as a means of getting some capital investment is still an option — the most recent examples being Deltek and NetSuite. On the established public vendor side, CDC Software, Epicor Software, Lawson Software and Oracle (if not even SAP too) would be examples of mostly unrelentingly acquisitive vendors in the enterprise applications space.
On the other hand, there has been a general feeling lately of a money crunch in the private equity and venture capitalist (VC) world for those software companies that still prefer to remain privately-held and yet acquisitive. Some of these vendors have been discussed in my recent “ERP Reincarnations” posts, Part I and Part II.
In other words, can the likes of Infor, Consona Corporation and Solarsoft really continue without running out of steam? Namely, besides Solarsoft’s continued acquisition activity of late (including the offer to acquire the United Kingdom (UK)-based Chelford Group, where the SSI-World’s versatile TROPOS product is a part of the business), once seemingly unstoppable Infor and Consona have lately taken a noted break. Read the rest of this entry »
Puzzled by process? Dazed by discrete?
First, let’s understand who should use a discrete ERP application.
Lawson Software (NASDAQ: LWSN), headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, the United States (US), and with offices around the world, provides software and service solutions to about 4,000 customers in manufacturing, distribution, maintenance and service sector industries across 40 countries. Its solutions include Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II), Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and industry-tailored applications.
Lawson has not lately been accused of being too exciting, glitzy or so, at least not compared to a decade ago, when its erstwhile slick marketing machine was crafting catchphrases like “self-evident applications (SEA)”, “drill-around”, “web-addressable applications” and so on. Some recent attempts in touting corporate social responsibility (CSR) and a witty marketing spot on YouTube have been noted (even acknowledged by the competition), albeit with mixed reviews/reception.
Nevertheless, according the “still water runs deep” adage, Lawson’s relative quietness certainly does not mean that the vendor has not been active in the field and in its research and development (R&D) labs. I’ve been made aware of many recent moves to execute on the roadmap that was outlined at the vendor’s CUE 2007 conference. Read the rest of this entry »
Emerging Trends in the Logistics and Distribution Knowledge Areas
RFID technology is the hardware used to communicate information (typically bar code information) to computer software systems that gather and use the data (such as a WMS). The manufacturing of RF equipment is dominated by several market leaders that typically go to market through various distribution channels, including resellers.
It is important to recognize that RF technology provides the backbone—but not the nerve center—of a physical operation.In other words, RF provides the ability to gather data, but not necessarily to make use of it. RF and bar coding technologies need to be implemented in conjunction with software systems that not only gather the data, but that also respond to it in real time or in batch mode. Read the rest of this entry »
Regardless of the economic environment (and sentiments), I always think of the opportunity within the aftermarket service and support as a profitable, high-margin and customer-captive business, and yet, still underserved. General Electric (GE) would be the proverbial example of a company that has focused on aftermarket opportunities, going so far as to call itself a “services” company as opposed to a “products” company.
GE indeed, starting with Jack Welch’s long chief executive officer (CEO) tenure, has been widely reported to have significantly increased both its total revenue and profitability by focusing on services opportunities in addition to developing world-class products.
The manufacturing corporate giant has certainly proven the value of serving the product aftermarket, which has recently been purported in a quantifiable manner by many pundits as a high margin business. For instance, AMR Research reported recently that businesses earn 45 percent of gross profits from the aftermarket, yet it is only 24 percent of their revenues, while a recent article in Harvard Business Review claims that we all spend US$1 trillion every year on assets we already own.
A related software category term was mentioned in TEC’s 2003 article titled Service Lifecycle Management - Tapping into the Value of the Product Aftermarket. Namely, Service Lifecycle Management (SLM) is a business initiative focused on servicing a company’s products, and the customers that bought them, after the product has been sold. Simply put, SLM focuses on making more money from the product after the initial sale. But it is more than that — it is also a way to become a strategic part of the customer’s business after the sale is completed. Read the rest of this entry »
Just one generation ago, the courier industry was essentially nonexistent. Today, in 2008, it is one of the largest means of transporting daily shipments for all industry sectors. According to the US Department of Commerce statistics, air freight accounted for nearly 40 percent of all international trade merchandise in 2007, equaling about $4.8 trillion (US), with express delivery accounting for 20 percent (or $2.4 trillion) of that amount Read the rest of this entry »