There seems to be a blurry line between business intelligence (BI) and business performance management (BPM) applications. Some software vendors offer solutions that actually incorporate BPM and BI within the same application, which makes it harder to distinguish between these two software solutions. The following are some—certainly not all—key differentiators between BI and/or BPM functionality that could help you have a better understanding of BI and BPM tools. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday, SAP announced the release of the SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand solution. This new product will enable users with no previous experience with business intelligence (BI) applications to use a BI toolset with complete ease. It also will let users access and navigate through their on-demand and on-premise data by incorporating the complete set of BusinessObjects tools. This announcement brings to mind the phrase “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” with respect to increasing interest in the SaaS market segment on the part of BI vendors. Read the rest of this entry »
Some signs of a modest economic recovery and cautious optimism are shyly popping out, although they might be only be crumbs of comfort for many unemployed regular Joes. I also saw improved optimism at the recent National Retail Federation’s (NRF) BIG Retail Show 2010 in New York City in mid January. In contrast, the atmosphere of the same retail show one year ago felt like attending someone’s memorial service, where almost everyone was waiting for the other shoe to drop (no pun intended).
Namely, this year’s show exuded an upbeat feeling in addition to an about 20 percent higher attendance. The “big guys” in retail, such as IBM, Microsoft, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, SAP, Oracle, SAS, JDA Software, and so on, expectedly had their large and perhaps gaudy stands (some with interesting entertainment gigs by the local artistic groups). But I am always more keen on seeing what some smaller, and often more innovative vendors have to say and exhibit. For an exhaustive list of this year’s exhibitors, see here.
Without a doubt, software-as-a-service (SaaS) as a software delivery model has become a hot topic in the enterprise software field and has gained some noticeable shares in sectors such as customer relationship management (CRM). On the other hand, the product lifecycle management (PLM) industry has seen increasing awareness of SaaS. Oleg Shilovitsky, the most active PLM blogger, has talked about SaaS and cloud computing in some of his recent blog posts on Daily PLM Think Tank Blog. Mark Burhop form Siemens PLM Software also initiated a discussion on cloud computing in a recent blog post. However, SaaS remains as a limited option for PLM users as I see it. Read the rest of this entry »
Change happens all the time—but why are changes in our personal lives similar to those in our professional lives? There are some major events that occur and change things forever. For an individual, such a change can be caused by marriage; for a company, by the selection of an ERP system. There is always a way out when relationships stop working (both between people and companies), but it can be painful—and stressful to go through. Read the rest of this entry »
Part I of this series analyzed the opportunities (as well as the related strings attached) stemming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), a.k.a. the Economic Stimulus Plan. The inspiration came from my attendance of the Deltek Insight 2009 user conference last May, where Deltek decided to fill a market need and interest by convening a separate “track” that was entitled “Stimulus & Beyond (Navigating the Brave New World).”
Part II of this series then analyzed why Deltek believes it can help government contractors and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms, as well as other public sector organizations in their endeavors to obtain ARRA funds (i.e., the opportunity part) and duly report on them (the strings part for transparency and accountability). Part III then expanded on the construction industry’s current challenges, its outlook, and market trends.
Although Deltek inspired this series and while the company caters to AEC firms, its focus and software capabilities are in the design or planning stage of an infrastructure object. But the entire infrastructure lifecycle management (ILM) encompasses the following phases that denote yet another three-letter acronym (TLA) – “PBO”:
Here’s an often overlooked factor in ERP software selection, and it’s got nothing to do with ERP functions or features:
If you have followed my previous posts of this blog series (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), I guess you may have an idea about who will be the third vendor I’m going to discuss concerning the relevance between its product lifecycle management (PLM) offerings and the lean product development (LPD) concept. Yes, it is PTC. Like Dassault Systèmes and Siemens PLM Software, PTC is also located in the CAD-PLM camp (read this article if you want to know more about how I categorized major PLM vendors into two categories) that provides both PLM tools and PLM as the management platform. Read the rest of this entry »
Technology Evaluation Centers will be launching a buyer’s guide for enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions for small businesses. Here’s a preview of the guide describing the idea behind it and what it can do for you.
Why an ERP Buyer’s Guide for Small Businesses?
My experience as a trainer and consultant in ERP showed that most small businesses have a very subjective, therefore inefficient manner of selecting ERP software. Read the rest of this entry »
Labor management systems (LMSs) are used primarily as a way for distribution operations to manage and track its labor activities. This includes real-time interaction with warehouse management and warehouse control systems in order to collect data on what workers are doing, how many locations they have visited, what inventory they have handled, what equipment they have used, and what paths they have traveled.
Most often used within the supply chain, an LMS helps a distribution operation improve worker productivity by providing the ability to
• report on all labor activity;
• compare labor activity to historical data; and
• report labor activity against established labor standards. Read the rest of this entry »
While Microsoft Corporation has not usually been that forthcoming about breaking down its revenues per individual product lines, during one earnings announcement call for financial analysts in 2009, the worldwide leader in software, services, and solutions for people and businesses pointed out the following three products as its best performers: SharePoint, Microsoft Unified Communications, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In fact, as stated in my previous blog post on Microsoft’s technology for enterprise applications, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics AX (formerly Axapta) already have built-in unified communications (UC) traits and collaborative SharePoint portal capabilities.
Microsoft claims that its so-called “CRM+” combination (i.e., Dynamics CRM and SharePoint) has become a compelling customer value proposition. The entire Microsoft Dynamics portfolio is now an over US$1 billion business with more than 300,000 worldwide customers and 10,000+ business partners. Still, the entire Dynamics line of business had a 7 percent decline in Fiscal 2009 (although Microsoft has kept almost religiously mum on providing financial data on individual Dynamics product lines).
We all are—except consultants who praise the importance of business processes, but sometimes don’t practice what they preach. Business processes can be simply good or bad habits that people follow mostly because it’s what they’ve always done rather than it being a way to work more efficiently. Read the rest of this entry »
In 2009, I attended two Gartner Summit events: the Gartner Business Process Management (BPM) Summit in March in San Diego; and Gartner Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Summit in September in Scottsdale. I not only saw a number of same vendors at both events, but both events also had many similar themes, such as customer service, workflow automation, business processes, collaboration, customer retention, social media, key performance indicators (KPIs)/performance metrics, and so on and so forth.
It might be indicative that BPM and CRM are quite converging disciplines in that Gartner found enough synergy to host its CRM and BPM summits back-to-back in Washington, D.C. in late 2008 (events I did not attend). While BPM vendors are beginning to offer more CRM capabilities, CRM vendors are “returning the favor” with BPM features (e.g., workflow and business rules engines).
This process (no pun intended) may have begun several years ago. Namely, in 2005, the former Onyx Corporation (acquired by Consona Coporation in 2006 and meanwhile renamed into Consona Customer Management), began shifting its focus from highly contested and commoditized CRM applications toward more adaptive BPM-enabled applications via the former Onyx Process Manager in 2005. Consona’s CRM division does not sell its BPM module outside its CRM offering, but is proud to talk about its product’s adaptability due to native BPM features.
Both software categories also grew (CRM about 5 percent and BPM about 10 percent) in 2009, in contrast to a decline in most other enterprise applications. When money is tight, shrewd businesses look for ways to do more with less, and BPM seems to hold the promise of improving the customer’s experience. As companies cite business processes affected by CRM as their top challenge, CRM vendors have moved from focusing on pure technology to enabling processes, and BPM capabilities have taken a greater role in CRM suites. This convergence leads me to quote Forrest Gump: “We goes together like peas and carrots.”
Part 1 of this blog series analyzed two white papers entitled “Customer Relationship Management: The Winning Strategy in a Challenging Economy” and “Maximizing CRM Effectiveness During Lean Times,” authored by Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Oracle CRM, respectively. My post made the case for forward-looking enterprises to leverage customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to help them both weather the ongoing storm and prepare for the inevitable turnaround.
In addition to several macroeconomic trends that seem to be helping CRM solutions prove their worth, I also analyzed the recent technological enablers that are making CRM offerings more affordable, flexible, and easy to use. One enabler is the software as a service (SaaS) or on-demand subscription-based deployment mode and the other is the fact that CRM has lately expanded from its traditional “operational” realm into also being “analytic, collaborative, and social.”
Succession planning is about finding employees that can someday replace others who retire or decide to leave the company. In my opinion, there are two major factors that will have a great impact on the future of succession planning: the aging population; and rapidly-evolving technology. Read the rest of this entry »