The ZDNet article on PLM/BPM vendor, Aras, covers reasons this former proprietary vendor decided to open source its Innovator products. Two points that stuck out for me, concern what open sourcing enabled Aras to do. Read the rest of this entry »
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) issued a press release on its newly published Affero General Public License (AGPL) version 3. This license affects the modification and distribution of software oriented toward Web-based services.
The popular adoption of Web-based applications as an alternate to in-house software implementations has meant that free and open source software developed for web-based usage can be picked up by companies outside of the ones that originally developed the software, modify it, and foist it upon the world as a new business without necessarily contributing the modifications back to the project. That is a bone of contention for many. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s an update on new TEC vendor ratings and certifications. If you’re currently evaluating or researching ERP, business process management (BPM), or product lifecycle management (PLM) systems, here’s what we have new for you. Reports are available as well as in-depth rating evaluations in the evaluation centers. Here are the new items.
TEC published up-to-date information for version 4 of Omnify’s Empower PLM. Some areas in which the product’s functionality focuses help to integrate product design changes with the production process, product data vaulting and management, and configuration management.
Polymita’s BPM Suite joined our business process management knowledge base. The product focuses in part on modeling, workflow, and security functionality.
If you’re researching ERP solutions for discrete, process, or mixed-mode industries, I’d like to announce that TEC analysts recently certified the Logo Business Solutions’ Unity system.
Finally, to continue on the different variants of ERP systems, a new name recently entered the enterprise software space, Solarsoft. Its products however, have a history represented in the merger of vendors CMS and XKO Software. We’re offering six different reports on these products.
I’ve seen a lot of press about the open source telephony system, Asterisk. Although I haven’t worked in the telephony world for some time, I remember what it was like administering those systems years ago in a midsize company that handled large event ticket sales.
We ran some systems on OS/2 and for larger ACD call center requirements, Unix. These were not inexpensive systems. If I go to AsteriskNOW.org, now I can download a specialized Linux distribution that installs as an easy-to-set-up PBX system. Since TEC’s current newsletter issue is focusing on telephony issues, I figured I’d post a bit about the open source side.
The Asterisk project originates with a company called Digium, which looks like the center of a whirlwind of related activity. IP telephony vendors claim that one of the benefits they offer is a reduction in costs that would normally be incurred from toll services, and this message is frequently targeted toward small and medium businesses. So if you combine that with some of the other common open source advantages, you get an interesting product to consider. Read the rest of this entry »
I just saw this announcement about Compiere’s 11 new demos. The company is offering a sneak peek of its next generation Web-architecture. While watching the first demo, I notice it really stresses ease-of-use in the interface.
Whether others agree that it’s easy to use or not, I don’t know but, but it is interesting that Compiere publicly asked for feedback in its public forum on the subject. A few days ago I posted about some debates taking place on the user-friendliness of enterprise software. I suggested that getting the software development process to incorporate greater open communications like in open source projects, could help improve the user-friendliness. Well this is a real live example of just that.
People often ask us “what’s the difference between process and discrete ERP?” We model both systems in such a way that they share many common components, nevertheless process manufacturing industries have unique requirements that differ from discrete manufacturing industries. Here’s a rough overview of the difference.
A quick definition from APICS (The Association for Operations Management) describes discrete manufacturing as “The production of distinct items such as automobiles, appliances, or computers.” Whereas process manufacturing covers “Production that adds value by mixing, separating, forming, and/or performing chemical reactions. It may be done in either batch or continuous mode.” Now let’s look at a few examples. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re looking for web content management systems (WCM), I have some stats that might help you key into the features you’d expect to come standard.
Here is how vendors offering web content management systems support the functionality in our model of WCM systems. These stats are based on the averages of 11441 product functionality ratings of the vendors published within our WCM knowledge base. Read the rest of this entry »
Do you still read tech/business industry e-mail newsletters? In the early days of the Web, I remember going to a conference talking about the importance of developing an e-mail newsletter to communicate with customers. Now, many people simply mark the newsletters they receive as spam. A lot of e-mail services automatically mark legitimate newsletters as spam too. Are e-mail newsletters no longer useful as communication or news formats?
To publish a successful e-mail newsletter, I think you’ve got to provide something that people feel is worth subscribing to. Once you’ve accomplished that, you have to get it to them, which isn’t as simple as firing off a message from your e-mail program. Among many technical considerations, it has to get through a gauntlet of spam filtering systems that could incorrectly flag you, the sender, as a spammer.
Today, we launched a new format for the TEC Newsletter. It’s our attempt to see if we can make our newsletter more valuable to those reading it. I’d like to mention a few of the changes we made and find out whether people think we’re on the right track. Read the rest of this entry »
Newly published TEC ratings are available for a number of software vendors. Individual reports are available for purchase, or you can review the ratings in-depth using the evaluation centers. Here’s a quick rundown of the updates.
Take note if you’re in the process of evaluating any of the following systems.
Our public data on the BatchMaster ERP system is now up-to-date as of version 8.10, which targets medium enterprises in pharmaceutical, chemical, paint, food and beverage industries.
Version 2.0 of Vertical Marketing’s crmEZ.net covers a range of features, in particular account and contact management and opportunity management.
Following up on the financial system updates from last week, we have two more updates, this time from Infor. Our financial system knowledge base now holds the latest data on both Infor Masterpiece (previously SSA Global) and FMS SunSystems eXFM products (previously Systems Union).
I just read Khoi Vinh’s quacking cow dolphin post (by way of Nicholas Carr’s blog) about how unfriendly he thinks enterprise software is (both posts are generating insightful commentary). Vinh makes a point about enterprise applications not receiving the same sort of wide-spread critiques that popular commodity applications do. He attributes this to the idea that the software is used by a less-varied base of people, which aren’t very likely to be merciless with their feedback. He says
“Shielded away from the bright scrutiny of the consumer marketplace and beholden only to a relatively small coterie of information technology managers who are concerned primarily with stability, security and the continual justification of their jobs and staffs, enterprise software answers to few actual users.”
I suppose that could often be the case, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I can think of at least two ways that situation doesn’t have to come to pass. Read the rest of this entry »
I received an e-mail notice today about Cofundos, a “community innovation & funding” site, which launched last week. Cofundos looks like one possible solution to an often murky area in the open source software space: how to continue fueling development.
Suppose you find some open source software useful but it doesn’t have commercial backing devoting regular developers (for example, Red Hat or Compiere) to its well-being, and suppose you don’t want to employ developers internally to improve, fix, or modify it, then no matter its utility, a lot of people or companies might be wary about relying on it in any larger-scale sense–who can they go to if they have a problem? Read the rest of this entry »
Like the old tootsie pop ads that ask how many licks it takes to get to the center, how many annoyances does it take to get people and businesses to change desktop operating systems? Aside from the frequent crunch of bloggers discussing their switch from Windows to Linux, we’re still waiting to find out.
In the news this week, Microsoft annoyed a number of admins with its Windows Desktop Services update. This added to many peoples’ perception that Microsoft pushes some of its updates without asking–an aggressive practice disliked for policy, security, troubleshooting, or other reasons. Read the rest of this entry »
How do you figure out, from within a large range of software vendors, which vendors to start evaluating? I’m curious to see some feedback on what most people use to start researching and narrowing down their list of software vendors before going into an RFI process.
A few years ago we were thinking about this issue and came up with the idea of a preselection questionnaire that could narrow down the list of vendors you’d want to look at. It has evolved and works relatively well, but after a few years it’s good to reconsider how it works and see if we can improve based on what we’ve learned, and on what people suggest.
No matter the methods of identifying vendors, you can usually find some common ground underlying them, which might be used as high-level preselection criteria. The following three examples show that even if you don’t use a formal process to identify vendors for evaluation, you still have to come up with a few high-level criteria. Read the rest of this entry »
Take note if you’re evaluating software for any of the following types of systems.
We recently published updated ratings on a number of vendors’ products. Individual reports are available for purchase, or better you can review the ratings in-depth using a free evaluation centers trial. Here’s a quick rundown of the updates.
Knowledge Management Solutions’ KMx product, which is an integrated e-learning package, is up-to-date as of its 4.3 version in the Learning Management Evaluation Center.
Retalix targets companies with retail and distribution requirements. Depending on what your company does, you can view its products’ functionality based on our ERP - Distribution, SCM, Merchandising, or POS models of enterprise software.
Finally, the latest information on Sage SalesLogix is available in our CRM Evaluation Center. It covers a 30% change from the previous ratings and shows new or increased support for over fifty features.
Because we continuously update our knowledge bases with new ratings and research, I’ll make an effort to publish short notes like these periodically.
This post is not an oxymoron. The Open Source Initiative recently approved two Microsoft licenses (the Microsoft Reciprocal License and the Microsoft Public License) as compliant with the open source definition.
Why would Microsoft want to publish an open source license? The very idea of Microsoft participating in the open source community might sound odd. After all, hasn’t Microsoft been one of the most vocal proprietary vendors against free and open source software? Isn’t Microsoft known for its attempts to undermine open source standards? Often yes, but the company has also been dabbling, to various degrees, with open source for a while (its FlexWiki application is one example). Read the rest of this entry »