My recent article entitled “Why Should Enterprises Manage their Contracts Closely?” analyzed the importance of enterprise-wide contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions and stated that many enterprises still use inappropriate makeshift tools to manage their important contractual terms and conditions. The article concluded with the fact that enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems handle transactional details of an organization whereas CLM systems handle contract and commitment management. In other words, there is room for both systems in an organization to work in tandem.
On March 23, I have the opportunity to lead a seminar at the info360 conference in Washington, D.C., on the use of business intelligence (BI) applications and technologies to analyze unstructured data. In preparing for this seminar, I came across an article written by Bill Gates back in 1996 entitled “Content is King.” And although the theme of that article is different from the approach of this post, both highlight the importance of various types of content for organizations. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog series analyzed Epicor and SYSPRO, the two renowned enterprise resource planning (ERP) mid-market incumbents that heavily harness Microsoft’s platform tools. To that end, the business productivity tools that were illustrated in my recent blog post on what 2010 might have meant to Microsoft’s business solutions (which reflected on the highly publicized mid-2010 launch of Microsoft Office 2010, SharePoint Server 2010, and Visio 2010) were illustrated in context of Epicor and SYSPRO’s technology environments.
Part 2 will analyze how Epicor and SYSPRO are addressing other enterprise applications capabilities and market trends. What role might Microsoft’s tools play (or not play) in these regards?
Part 1 of this blog series introduced ClickSoftware Technologies (NASDAQ: CKSW), which until recently had focused solely on workforce and service optimization software solutions for large field service companies. Gradually, via both internal development and a few appetizing acquisitions in 2009, the vendor added a few important growth engines, such as mobile computing solutions, shift planning (rostering) solutions, and solutions for the Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs).
Part 2 then analyzed the individual modules and logical bundles of the vendor’s flagship Service Optimization Suite as well as a number of original concepts that have differentiated ClickSoftware in the field service workforce optimization market. One of these concepts is the so-called real-time service enterprise.
Open University PhD candidate Gabrielle Ford has a new perspective on why, despite an abundance of expert insight, so many ERP implementations continue to fail. TEC is collaborating with Ford to provide a 20-minute survey for ERP users, and is offering three-day free access to its evaluation models and vendor data to readers who complete the survey. Take the survey now. This post signals the start of several contributions from Ford regarding the relationship users have with their ERP systems.
Organizations adopt enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems because of the benefits they expect to derive from their use. The critical issue for success is not whether the system is used (because you aren’t given a choice—you will use it), but rather that benefits arise from its use. While system use necessarily precedes full benefits realization (that’s not to discount the potential benefits to be gleaned from the exercise of gathering requirements and defining processes prior to system selection and implementation), it is the quality of the use that influences the degree to which benefits are achieved. Read the rest of this entry »
In perusing Technology Evaluation Centers’ (TEC’s) Vendor Showcase, you’ve likely noticed the TEC logo next to certain software solutions. For those of you new to our Web site, you may not be aware that this represents vendors that have successfully completed the TEC Certification Program. Read the rest of this entry »
My 2009 series on a few good supply chain management (SCM) players portrayed Manhattan Associates (NASDAQ: MANH) and RedPrairie Corporation as fierce competitors. Indeed, these two vendors continue to duke it out at almost every large-scale selection deal for a warehouse management system (WMS), distribution labor management system (LMS), or transportation management system (TMS) solution.
Curiously, both vendors are now headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, US, after RedPrairie’s mid-2010 HQ move from Waukesha, Wisconsin, US (which remains a major office that is undergoing a major renovation). Atlanta is also the base for Infor, Logility, CDC Software, Servigistics, and many other enterprise software companies, but I digress.
Over a last few years these two vendors have also pursued somewhat different expansion routes from their traditional supply chain execution (SCE) realms, where they will likely face different competitors. Recently, at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Retail Show 2011, I had a chance to meet with both vendors to discuss their strategies.
In my previous blog post BI Hits the Road, I briefly discussed the new adoption of mobile business intelligence (BI) offerings and featured some important vendors in this space. Here I’ll continue the discussion into mobile BI space expansion, and cover of some of the features, considerations, and challenges in the utilization of mobile BI solutions. Read the rest of this entry »
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) was born of the need of large companies to manage their resources and operations. In the early stages of ERP almost half a century ago, only multinational corporations could afford the investment in the software and the infrastructure needed to support it. Material requirements planning (MRP), the predecessor of ERP, was used by only a couple hundred companies in 1975, and the number grew to 8,000 in 1981.
Over time, the programming tools evolved, and the commoditization of hardware and the use of the Internet to store data and facilitate remote connections made ERP more accessible. Nowadays even very small companies can acquire an ERP solution for a reasonable price. But ERP is not the same for companies of all sizes. This fact reflects an important reality of the manufacturing sector: medium and large companies face challenges that are very different from those of small enterprises. Read the rest of this entry »
Every year-ending holiday season reminds us of the importance of consumer spending and the retail sector for the United States (US) and global economies. Many economists and pundits are then awaiting with trepidation the Black Friday sales outcome and reported consumer sentiment or Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) as bellwethers of the economy in the New Year.
While this past holiday season seems to have gone quite well for most retailers (especially in terms of their online business growth) according to a recent National Retail Federation (NRF) announcement, hardly any retailer can now relax and breathe a sigh of relief. Retailers are in a tough business and are constantly seeking tools to enable them to delicately balance their sales, inventory, and profit figures.
I deal with many software professionals, technology business users, consultants, and analysts, and it is interesting to observe that everyone uses the same conventional mantras and familiar words, but often with slightly different meanings, and sometimes with totally different meanings. A good example of this is how businesses determine their size category: small, medium, or large. It appears simple, but it is not always that obvious in reality. Read the rest of this entry »
Many recent TEC articles have talked about quote-to-order (Q2O) or configure, price, quote (CPQ) solutions that facilitate business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sales, thus helping companies sell more products and services faster. A number of thriving vendors provide on-demand product configurator, pricing and quoting, proposal generator, and B2B eCommerce (self-service portals, product catalogs, etc.) software solutions. These Web-based offerings facilitate sales across their customers’ diverse channels by streamlining their sales processes, from opportunity to order.
Using Q2O/CPQ solutions, dispersed sales teams and channels can quickly configure products, generate quotes, proposals and contracts, manage complex pricing, and manage orders. Most recently, I’ve reported on Cameleon Software’s bullish posture. The company was visibly present at salesforce.com’s annual Dreamforce 2010 user conference expo floor, making hay out if its Apple iPhone- and iPad-enabled sales application and integration to the Salesforce Chatter cloud collaboration product.
It takes a lot of commitment, preparation, and time to fully embrace a successful enterprise data strategy. Managing data within a corporation has reached an all-new level of importance. Data is being collected from extremely diverse sources and fully dissected; as the subject of increasingly complex processes, data quality must be maintained. In addition, data management and manipulation must comply with several types of regulations. Read the rest of this entry »
My recent blog post on what 2010 might have meant to Microsoft’s business solutions reflected on the highly publicized mid-2010 launch of Microsoft Office 2010, SharePoint Server 2010, and Visio 2010. For the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who use some combination of one or more of Microsoft Dynamics ERP products, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft SharePoint Server to run their businesses, that announcement has provided opportunities for increased business productivity.
The article then analyzed the current state of affairs at Microsoft Dynamics, which also included some recent wins over mature SAP, Oracle, and Sage product instances. But what about Epicor and SYSPRO, the two prominent enterprise resource planning (ERP) mid-market incumbents that also heavily harness Microsoft’s technologies? Well, while Microsoft Dynamics doesn’t particularly enjoy losing deals to these vendors, the Microsoft parent still ultimately wins, given that these independent software vendors (ISVs) are two of the most loyal Microsoft technology promoters.