While my colleagues Khudsiya Quadri and Gabriel Georghiu diligently attended numerous conference sessions and reported their impressions of each convention day (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4), my much shorter attendance of the APICS 2009 International Conference in Toronto (Canada) in early October revolved mainly around exploring the expo floor and talking to the exhibitors. My overwhelming impression from the conference’s expo floor was that the main value propositions this year revolved around the flavors of demand management.
This was not too terribly surprising, given that the past two years have dispelled any doubts about the advantages of managing demand effectively. First, as an overture to the recession, companies and consumers were battered by a sharp rise in energy costs (especially crude oil), which resulted in sky-rocketing transportation costs and reduced margins.
Then, when the recession came in earnest, they were hit by the precipitous economic downturn, which resulted in an almost unprecedented drop-off in demand (and fuel prices). Many companies were “left holding the baby,” i.e., their hedge transportation contracts that once seemed to be a smart strategy of locking carrier price and capacity.
(Scroll down for my list of Top 10 ERP White Paper Buzzwords!)
In the first part of this blog, I mentioned that sentiment analysis measures the polarity of opinion—positive, negative, or neutral—regarding a subject, a product, a service, etc.
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A few months ago while I was listening to Dassault Systèmes (DS) executives explaining the company’s sales and marketing strategies and achievements, I wondered what the next move might be since I found the relationship between DS and IBM was becoming more delicate than before. My concern was that a very sophisticated approach would be required in order to grow DS’s own sales capability, while keeping the strong and long-time DS/IBM partnership in good shape. Here’s the answer to my question: a press release from DS on October 26 tells us that “Dassault Systèmes and IBM Announce Intent to Integrate IBM PLM Sales Operation into DS.” Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog post series expanded on some of TEC’s earlier articles about companies’ need for better pricing management and optimization practices. This series, which focuses on the complexity of pricing and promotions in retailing, was inspired by JDA Software’s recent “edu-nouncement” on leading retailers’ consumer-centric pricing and promotion strategies and Revionics’ recent (and still ongoing) educational series of Web-seminars.
To recap Part 1: due to the phenomenon of the “cross-elasticity” of demand, retailers may want to consider whether promoting an item would result in increased sales volume and, if so, whether that increase would represent incremental revenue or merely cannibalize sales of other items. Retailers have to be able to compare items on promotion against the entire department, product category, and subcategory. Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this month, TEC analyst Aleksey Osintsev posted a short piece about the perceived shortcomings of the venerable IBM AS/400 (now the IBM System i). It seems he touched a nerve with the platform’s defenders, who were quick to offer an opposing view in the post’s comments.
The general consensus was that, while it isn’t mainstream, the AS/400 is alive and well. Unfortunately, our commenters say, many system administrators haven’t kept up to date with new technologies, creating the perception that the AS/400 is an obsolete, or at least “vintage” system.
“We’ll get onto a 20 or 40 year old elevator without a second thought, or a 20 or 40 year old air plane,” said one reader, “but when it comes to information technology there is this myth that old is no longer viable.”
According to the experts in our audience, the truth is that, when properly updated, the AS/400 is a reliable workhorse that provides all of the functionality of modern tier-1 systems, and requires far fewer resources to support and maintain. Its age is simply not an issue.
So what do you think? Is newer necessarily better? Is your company still getting tier-1 performance out of “vintage” systems?
Let us know in the comments.
According to Wikipedia, “social media is online content created for people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies.” These days, networking is very different than it was in the past. A lot of social media services like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, personal blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other types of media content generate big volumes of data. But more importantly, people contribute to the creation of this data by chatting, expressing ideas, or making personal and business relations online. They also contribute to the way social media information is organized and published on the Web. Today, these massive volumes of data are the objects of study and analysis. In a sense, there is already an effort to measure the quantitative and qualitative aspects of this kind of data.
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I recently attended Gartner’s CRM Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona (US). During the conference, I bumped into several old acquaintances who are working for various customer relationship management (CRM) software vendors. One of the vendors that attended the conference was BigMachines, a provider of inventive software-as-a-service (SaaS) configure, price, and quote (CPQ)/quote-to-order (Q2O) solutions.
Generally speaking, Web-based product configurators empower user enterprises to sell more, faster to their customers. These customers can be either other businesses or individual consumers.
A recent blog post CRM for the Finance and Banking Industry – Part 1 by Gabriel Gheorghiu touched on a pain point of many of today’s enterprise IT environments. Due to the inconsistency of customer data amongst different systems in use, the bank employee “asked three or four of her co-workers for help, and took about 15 minutes” to simply change the address of one customer. As a matter of fact, the bank that Gabriel mentioned is not the only one in this situation. Recently at the Gartner Master Data Management Summit 2009, I learned from a case study that prior to the master data management (MDM) initiative, a large Canadian retailer had over 45 million domestic customers recorded in its various systems, even though the entire country has a population of less than 34 million. Read the rest of this entry »
Many midsized companies have to deal with a very particular problem: the need of a true business intelligence (BI) solution, while having to select and deploy one within a tight budget. On September 29, 2009, IBM Cognos announced the launch of Cognos Express, a new product specially designed to meet the needs of the midsized market. Of course, here at TEC, we took the time to give it a try. We downloaded the trial, and got our hands on this brand new BI tool.
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The “Four Ps” of marketing strategy, also known as the “marketing mix,” are basically applicable to all businesses. TEC’s two-part blog post series in 2008 talked about the importance of pricing management in a down economy. Price and promotion in particular are the lubricants in retailing, although the two remaining Ps–product and place, are indisputably important there as well.
In his guest author article in Retail Info Systems (RIS) News, Wayne Usie, senior vice president of retail at JDA Software, remarks that one doesn’t have to go far to see the impact the economy is having on retailers. The evening news is plagued with store closings, while “going out of business signs” and ominously empty “for rent” spaces seem to pop up on every corner. Read the rest of this entry »
This year, I had the honor of attending the 12th Annual Human Resources (HR) Technology Conference held at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois (US). While many of the events at the three-day conference piqued my interest, none did so more than the 2nd Annual Talent Management Shootout. This shootout reminded me of TEC’s very own shootouts and showdowns, done several times throughout the year. While our shootouts are a little less “extravagant” (in the sense that we don’t have the players live on stage), we still find them to be highly effective in allowing our readers make better-informed decisions about the software they choose.
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“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If this proverb were applied in today’s operations, every organization would be in a reactive mode of maintenance and work against the lean manufacturing concepts.
Any breakdown or downtime on the manufacturing floor, in the warehouse, in transportation, or any other business process will create missed customer commitments, failed deliveries, idle time, and lost labor hours. Instead of taking the risk and being in reactive mode, wouldn’t it be nice to have systems or procedures through which an organization can know the status of its equipment? In today’s fast-paced market environment it’s beneficial for organizations to know which equipment needs preventative or scheduled maintenance for better planning, commitment, and allocation of resources. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog post series followed the progress of Manhattan Associates from its inception in 1990 throughout the mid-2000s. During this time, Manhattan was the epitome of a well-managed supply chain management (SCM) software company in terms of market share, growth, profitability, and its products’ capabilities. Indeed, the company set the industry standard for the supply chain execution (SCE) space and was the envy of its competitors.
But lately, the two competitors that had long looked at Manhattan from behind, RedPrairie Corporation and JDA Software, have been posting much more upbeat news in terms of growth in contrast to Manhattan’s declining revenues. Part 2 analyzed some possible reasons behind that occurrence and focused on RedPrairie’s emergence.
Part 3 of this blog post series will analyze the current market dynamics in the retail sector, and try to explain the ongoing resurgence of JDA Software. Read the rest of this entry »
As you may know, TEC performs all types of system selection projects with clients in which analysts are usually involved to a lesser or greater degree. In collaboration with a client, analysts usually prepare the “to be”—the future system business and technical requirements document, or request for information (RFI)—and make corrections or additions to the template based on the client’s current needs. Often analysts are astonished about the kind of future requirements that users demand—especially the users of early Application System 400 (AS/400). I clearly understand that with that statement, I am at risk of inciting anger in AS/400 system proponents; nevertheless, I cannot keep silent and as such need to share what I have discovered during these projects.