According to the adage “When one door closes, another one opens,” there are opportunities and unfulfilled customer needs even in this dour economic environment. Rather than hiding in a cave and waiting for the calamity to pass, some creative business software companies and individuals have been coming up with new value propositions to solve real problems for their customers.
Perhaps surprisingly to some, writing software applications is the easy part, relatively speaking. Making sure that one has a distinct solution to a problem that people are willing to pay for (especially nowadays when cash is scarce) is the hard part.
Generally speaking, the primary difference between good companies and great ones lies in their customer service. Inexpensive and easily deployable software applications that can help companies be more responsive to their customers and provide better service via showing “one face to the customer” (in turn due to much better internal communications) can go a long way even these days. The end result should typically be delighted existing customers, and, especially in this social networking era where news travels fast, happy customers (and their public product reviews and verdicts) should beget more customers.
In fact, some startup companies believe that this is an exciting time to be in the IT business. As established in my recent “SaaSy Discussions” series, software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing are appealing business models for both vendors and customers, and will continue to be disruptive (game-changing) technologies for the foreseeable future. Read the rest of this entry »
In my previous post, Give BI to the Masses, I wrote about the strategies that have been implemented in some companies to empower more and more users to use business intelligence (BI) tools as part of their regular daily tasks.
This extends not only to decision makers and to those in charge of knowledge management, but also to company-wide use. This has the potential to generate very different types of strategies; and thus (as with all innovations) will create the need to address other issues. Inevitably, it will also mean there are new requirements to be managed, including new data sources, and new or modified business processes and strategies. There will certainly be more people involved in the BI/business process management (BPM) processes of the organization. From a business perspective, this represents a great change. Read the rest of this entry »
What you should not do is ignore whatever you see on the screen. If you don’t trust computers, remember that they were created and programmed by humans like you. And if something pops up while you’re working, it’s either because you are about to do something important that needs validation, or because the system encountered an error.
There are two major types of messages that you can get: warning messages and error messages. Let’s take a closer look at what they represent and what you should do when you see them. Read the rest of this entry »
The old adage “he who lives by the sword will die by the sword” might have been best witnessed in the life and demise of erstwhile public software company Click Commerce based in Chicago, Illinois (US). With its roots in the partner relationship management (PRM) or demand channel (chain) management (DCM) space, the company had first gobbled up a number of struggling PRM/DCM peers in the early 2000s. These mergers coincided with a time when there was a growing realization that the niche PRM market was not sustainable on its own.
Namely, the pundits saw the possible PRM future only as a part of a broader customer relationship management (CRM) suite or an even broader enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite. Following up on these PRM acquisitions and some internal development of the quote-to-order (Q2O), content management, and master data management (MDM)/product information management (PIM) capabilities, Click Commerce eventually rounded out its Channel Management division sometime in 2005. Read the rest of this entry »
To achieve success in today’s retail industry, retailers that are small to midsize businesses (SMBs) need to effectively meet their customers’ needs on time, with the right price, in the right quantity—and at the right place, with the right promotions. All of these things can be very overwhelming for a retailer. To get them, retailers require tools that support effective and precise operations. In this volatile global economy, every retailer is trying to beat the competition and win over the customer base. The winners in this race are the retailers that can provide customers the supreme (winning) combination of product, price, and customer service, and do it without affecting profitability. Read the rest of this entry »
The post concluded that, from a higher level overview, Infor has a good synergistic opportunity with the SoftBrands Hospitality solutions but some serious tweaking to do with the SoftBrands Manufacturing solutions. Some issues discussed were the long backpedaled development of the original Fourth Shift product due to SoftBrands’ focus on partnering with SAP for the SAP Business One Fourth Shift Edition product. Read the rest of this entry »
“QlikView says its innovative way of collecting data and not needing a physical data warehouse (DW) structure is the right thing to do in DW/business intelligence (BI) solutions. Can one expect to build a sustainable / scalable corporate data warehouse through such an approach?” Read the rest of this entry »
Undoubtedly, the recent major event at Epicor Software (despite concurrent unfortunate occasional and distracting shareholder power struggles, takeover bids, and CEO departures) was the launch of the next-generation Epicor 9 product suite in late 2008. Epicor hails Epicor 9 as an entirely new generation of business application that “redefines how enterprise systems are both built and used.”
For one, Epicor 9’s functional footprint is based on the best of everything Epicor has developed (and acquired) since its inception. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog series introduced some common supply chain challenges and resulting spend management opportunities for companies of all sizes. The article then went into the philosophical and functional differences (if any) between the “spend management” and “supplier relationship management (SRM)” monikers.
Further discussion was about what exact functional parts of this software category small and medium enterprises (SMEs) might need. To that end, Part 2 focused on typical Sourcing and Procurement capabilities that cover most of the spend control needs for mid-sized enterprises.
The future is tomorrow’s present. Many have tried to predict it using silly or scientific methods, from chiromancy (palm reading), aleuromancy (fortune cookies), and other -mancies, to the three Ps (possible, probable, and preferable futures) and a W (or wildcard—low-probability events with a high impact on the future) used in futurology. Read the rest of this entry »
Just when I had begun to think that Ned Lilly’s ERP Graveyard blog might go out of business soon (or at least change its name and charter), here came his new blog entry in early June 2009. The blog post’s cause was the official press release (PR) entitled “SoftBrands Enters Into Definitive Agreement To Be Acquired By Affiliate Of Golden Gate Capital And Infor.”
Now, the acquisition was certainly not an earth-shattering event by any stretch of imagination; after all, we are talking about a moderate US$80 million price tag here. Still, this move at least has a psychological and morale-boosting significance for Infor. Read the rest of this entry »
In a call yesterday with xTuple’s Ned Lilly, we had a chance to catch up on the open source ERP vendor’s current business. I wanted to say a word about the company’s recently launched xChange online store, which I think is a smart way for an open source enterprise software vendor to provide clients convenient access to community and partner innovations. It may also be a cost-effective means for acquiring specific ERP-related functionality and services as needed. Read the rest of this entry »
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems or similar IT packages have become widely used in businesses of all sizes and types. From my understanding, small and family businesses or companies are the only ones yet to join the mainstream trend of implementing ERP software, although the vast majority of medium and lower-medium-sized companies have already performed an implementation at least once (some of them twice or even more often). But I thought it might be interesting anyway to see how my personal experience and the conclusions I have drawn for myself correlate to implementation issues and business practices in different regions and sizes of businesses. I placed the 5 categories of problems in ascending order based on the degree of “entanglement.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog series introduced common supply chain challenges and resulting spend management opportunities for companies of all sizes. The article then went into the philosophical and functional differences (if any) between the “spend management” and “supplier relationship management (SRM)” monikers. Further discussion was about what exact functional parts of this software category small and medium enterprises (SMEs) might need.
The real question should always be, “Do we manage spending and, if so, what solutions do we use to do it?” To my mind, sourcing, procurement, and spend analysis capabilities cover most of the spend control needs for midsized enterprises. Read the rest of this entry »
Here at TEC, we spend a lot of time talking about how easily software selection projects can go wrong. One mistake we see over and over is that companies fail to properly define their functional and technical requirements—the things that their new software must do and support.
That’s a big problem—because accurate, well-defined requirements are a critical part of any selection project. Get them right and you’re on the road to success. Get them wrong, or take shortcuts, and you risk making a bad choice. Worse still, you may not even know how bad a choice it is until after the implementation—when it’s too late.
But putting your requirements first isn’t always easy. Software selection is a juggling act, and your requirements aren’t the only ball you need to keep in the air. You’ve also got to analyze reams of data from vendors (some of it fact, some of it marketing hype) to find out if their products actually meet your requirements. And you need to make sure that you’re analyzing those data the right way—using the right tools and a proven methodology.
That’s where TEC’s Evaluation Centers come in—helping you stay focused on your requirements without dropping anything else.