Part I of this blog series introduced the concept of complex event processing (CEP) and possible needs for CEP software applications. One such broad CEP platform, Progress Apama, has been offered by Progress Software Coporation after acquiring formerly independent Apama LTD in 2005.
Part II then discussed Apama’s current state of affairs and its real-life deployments at companies outside its traditional stronghold of capital markets and algorithmic trading. So, what makes this product particularly attractive? Read the rest of this entry »
If you search for business performance management (BPM) on Google, you’ll get around 700,000 results. Out of this huge number of results, you will presumably refer to a popular source—Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, BPM is “a set of processes that help organizations optimize their business performance.” The same source affirms that some people see it as the next generation of business intelligence (BI). Both of these explanations—unfortunately—lack clarity.
Read the rest of this entry »
Nowadays a company should not even question whether it needs business intelligence (BI) or not. Those who do not have it yet should include it in their future strategies, while those who do have it should search for ways to make BI work at its full potential.
You Don’t Have It Yet?
Let’s first analyze and understand why a company may not have BI:
I certainly anticipated that the nearly 60 acquisitions by Oracle since 2005 would help the largest business software company in the world (with more than 320,000 customers in over 145 countries) continue to make even more money (e.g., via increasing cross-selling opportunities and by penetrating more markets) and deliver an array of reliable upper-range technology products. What I did not expect back then, though, was that Oracle would concurrently solve some shortcomings that had customarily plagued the powerhouse before this (still ongoing) acquisition spree.
Namely, Oracle was not then known for being the most partner-friendly company. The giant was also largely a horizontal technology infrastructure (i.e., relational database and middleware) provider rather than a trusted industry solutions adviser (and provider) at the time. To be fair, Oracle had an established presence in certain industries, but that was more coincidental (e.g., many financial service companies have bought Oracle Database or Oracle E-Business Suite) than a deliberate attempt by Oracle to provide a vertical industry solution per se.
With its techno-macho corporate culture (as opposed to more touchy-feely approaches by former PeopleSoft or JD Edwards), Oracle was also more of a fit for the largest global corporations than for the lower-end of the market. Indeed, its customers include 100 of the Fortune Global 100 companies. Well, what difference a few years and several dozen acquisitions may make!
In an upcoming series of blog posts, I plan to analyze Oracle’s recent moves to mitigate its abovementioned traditional shortcomings. The series starts with this post on Oracle’s strategy to become both a better partner in general and to attract smaller partners and customers. Read the rest of this entry »
Product lifecycle management (PLM) originated decades ago in the discrete manufacturing area, and for quite a long period of time remained mainly as a solution for the upscale market in industries such as aerospace and automotive. However, recently PLM has become more approachable for smaller-sized businesses in more industries. It is not difficult to have this impression when you see increasing versions of PLM solutions targeting small and medium business (SMB) and mushrooming solutions such as PLM for consumer packaged goods (CPG), PLM for fashion, PLM for retail, and so on.
On the user side, based on statistics from TEC’s PLM Evaluation Center, it seems that users are willing to take the same direction – compared with 2007, more smaller-sized business users are considering PLM in 2008. At the same time, more potential users are from industries that traditional PLM doesn’t fit well.
While attending a number of vendors’ annual user conferences and/or by being briefed by vendors about their future directions, I’ve lately discerned this trend: virtually every vendor is attempting to win its users’ hearts and minds (as well as wallets) via a more intuitive and appealing user interface (UI). But it would be a real understatement to attribute everything to improved screens without talking about improved (i.e., “rich” and targeted) user experience (UX) design as a whole.
Namely, a UI is a means to an improved UX end, and the recipe for success is to deliver forms and screens designed for a particular user’s role in the organization. In other words, employees can now log into their own role-tailored user profile and personal place in the business management system. The role-personalized UI displays only the selected tasks, metrics, alerts, and activities they need to perform, providing the users with an overview of what they’ve done and what’s next in line. Read the rest of this entry »
Some time in mid-2005 TEC published a six part article on IQMS, a relatively small and obscure enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor based in Paso Robles, California (US), with offices across North America (i.e., in Chicago, Canada, and Mexico), Europe (i.e., Sweden and with recently announced indirect presence in the UK) and Asia (i.e., China and Taiwan). Some readers were likely wondering why I “made so much mileage” out of a seemingly unimportant vendor of fewer than 70 employees and with only a few hundred customers at the time.
Well, I might have been somewhat vindicated in early 2009, when IQMS announced that it closed 2008 with double-digit profitability and a 10 percent increase in new customer accounts. Even as manufacturing markets have tightened and doom-and-gloom sentiments have pervaded the globe, IQMS has accumulated revenue gains for several years. Namely, in 2005 and 2006, the company grew by about 25 percent each year (which was a multiple of the industry’s average growth), demonstrating its value proposition to selected manufacturing industries worldwide, including medical devices, automotive, aerospace, plastics, and consumer packaged goods (e.g., appliances, electronics, computers/business machines). Read the rest of this entry »
When there is an outsourcing failure in the application software area, “poor partner performance” is a reason that frequently appears in the post-mortem report. But, who is responsible for choosing the outsourcing provider? Instead of blaming the lousy job that you’ve received, it is more helpful to investigate how you have ended up with this incapable partner if you don’t want to fall into the same trap again.
You can never be too careful when choosing outsourcing partners and you should look through all the aspects or features of your candidates that will affect your selection decisions. Some of the aspects (e.g., business size, level of certifications, and employee educational level) are quite explicit, but aspects such as development methodology, skills, and experiences are harder to measure during the selection process. One good approach to examining those inexplicit aspects is to break them into finer granularity and make them more measurable.
In this blog post, we’ll look at one single but very important aspect—experience. And to give you a better grip on matching partners’ experiences with your business needs, we’ve broken experience down into six main types. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog series set the historical background for the supply chain management (SCM) evolution and presented the advantages and shortcomings of vertical vs. horizontal integration. The analysis then moved onto the generally embattled retail sector, where a select group of innovative retailers has found a “happy medium” approach to stay well above the fray. Retailers such as PetSmart Inc., Aéropostale Inc., Coach Inc., Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, and Target have realized the need to become serious product innovators and not just merchants of national product brands or sellers of their own knockoffs.
Kurt Salmon Associated (KSA), the leading global management consulting firm specializing in the retail and consumer goods industries, dubbed this strategy “Act Vertical” in its seminal research study. The firm presented the highlights of the study at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Annual Convention & EXPO 2009 (also known as the “Retail Big Show“) in January 2009 in New York City. The accompanying slide deck can be downloaded here.
The gist of the matter is that these avant-garde merchants no longer see the division of labor between suppliers and retailers as the customary one of “they invent and make it, and we sell it.” In fact, the retailers control (without owning per se) every piece of the value chain, from creating new product concepts to getting finished goods into the hands of consumers. Read the rest of this entry »
With all the recent talk of the economy and the environment, I thought it would be relevant to look at some of the small things we, as individuals, can do to help our companies battle the economic downturn while saving our planet. Today, social responsibility is not only good PR, it makes good business sense. Here are some simple steps you can take to help your company go green while still keeping extra “green” in its pockets: Read the rest of this entry »
Part I of this blog series introduced the concept of complex event processing (CEP) and possible needs for CEP software applications. One such broad CEP platform, Progress Apama, has been offered by Progress Software Coporation after acquiring the formerly independent Apama LTD in 2005. It is worth analyzing what has happened with the Apama product since being acquired by Progress Software. Read the rest of this entry »
Introduction to Pronto Software
I’m pleased to say that the certification for the PRONTO-Xi enterprise resource planning (ERP) system has been completed by TEC’s analyst team. Here I’d like to share my impression and some conclusions regarding this system with you.
Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series went through the five previous generations of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision) product. In late 2008, at the European Microsoft Convergence user conference, attendees saw the sixth major release of the product, dubbed Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009.
The product’s subsequent launch in the US was in February 2009 (the replay can be seen here). But rather than merely reciting the enhancements from the official PR and sounding like other media and analyst reposts, this final part will try to focus more on the nitty-gritty. Namely, it will analyze how this particular product release might have mitigated many of the traditional flaws of Dynamics NAV (and former Navision) while building upon the product’s traditional (if not proverbial by now) positive traits. Read the rest of this entry »
Crises such as the one we’re currently going through seriously damage the trust bestowed by individuals upon corporations. Read the rest of this entry »