Part 1 of this blog series started with me lamenting my inability to attend the Deltek Insight 2010 conference. However, I recently had an in-depth post-event recap instead with Deltek’s in-the-know staff members.
What then followed in Part 1 were descriptions of the major developments that transpired at Deltek Insight 2010 in terms of already released products and those that were only sneak previewed (but will be released down the track). Part 2 will analyze the corporate announcements and some new (perhaps refreshing) directions, as well as provide a glimpse of what we might expect at Deltek Insight 2011.
My recent series about the merger of JDA Software and i2 Technologies raised the issue whether any independent software vendor (ISV) can at the same time be a successful professional service provider (even without considering a possible conflict with its service provider partners). Coincidentally or not, in early October Ariba sent a message to the market that its focus going forward will be on becoming a trading partner network provider with its on-demand software at the core to facilitate trading transactions.
What happened? Accenture acquired the sourcing services and business process outsourcing (BPO) business from Ariba for a reported US$51 million price tag (after scrutinizing Ariba’s Form 8K filing with the US SEC, it appears that the actual net purchase price was in the neighborhood of US$40 million). This transaction involved approximately 160 people operating in about 20 countries with notable category expertise, sourcing process expertise, and strategic sourcing execution expertise.
Anyone that is still vociferously doubting and denying the future of cloud computing and its near-mainstream nature will sound as strange and nutty as some US Senate hopefuls that still proudly deny evolution and climate change (while admitting to “dabbling with witchcraft” in the not-too-distant past). In fact, can anyone name a renowned enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor that has not yet at least announced its cloud computing plans and strategy (if not already delivered actual cloud products)?
During the Grape Escape 2010 event this past summer, the common theme in all four featured vendors’ announcements was getting the “cloud religion.” I am still amazed to see how some of these vendors’ mantras have transformed from “Our customers do not ask for it!” to “We are in the cloud too!” in just a couple of years.
The month of May is usually the high season of software vendors’ conferences, but mid-May 2010 was a bit extreme: I was invited to four major user conferences that took place on or about the same dates all over the United States (US). Given that cloning and teleporting technologies are decades away from us, I had to minimize the “damage” by at least picking two events that were relatively physically close to each other.
One event that I had to regretfully decline due to the scheduling conflict was Deltek Insight 2010. I certainly kept my eye on the event via the Twitter chatter and blogosphere (e.g., see a conference report from SPI Research’s principal Dave Hofferberth). More recently, I had an in-depth post-event recap briefing with Deltek’s in-the-know staff members and what follows now are the major developments that transpired at Deltek Insight 2010 (I attempted to put them in logical groups of announcements).
My recent blog series on the JDA FOCUS 2010 user conference focused primarily on JDA Software’s strategy and product roadmap on the heels of its recent acquisition of i2 Technologies. But FOCUS 2010 was reportedly the largest vendor’s conference ever, with more than 1,700 registered attendees, more than 100 customer presentations, and nearly 300 total sessions.
Part 1 of this blog series positioned all four Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) product lines and concluded that Microsoft Dynamics AX [evaluate this product] has been selected as the ace in the Dynamics ERP lineup and a global “platform” player in selected industries. In other words, the product has been providing an industry-enabling layer upon which certified partners can build their sub-vertical solutions to cater to so-called long tail (sub-vertical) niches.
Part 2 went through the eight previous generations of the Microsoft Dynamics AX (formerly Axapta) product including the current Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 release. The final part of this blog series will peek into the product’s near future and analyze its traditional strengths and still outstanding weaknesses.
Part 1 of this blog series introduced Epicor Software Corporation’s set of tools called the Epicor Productivity Pyramid. The Pyramid enables one of Epicor’s main business strategies: to extend the value of several of its mature enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications by making enterprise data readily and easily available to all stakeholders.
My blog post then zoomed on to the Epicor Portal solution, a cross-platform querying tool that empowers business workers to find and share information within and across Epicor’s diverse line of business (LOB) applications. Epicor now provides the database schemas for most of its ERP applications to allow business workers (a.k.a. information workers and end-users) to easily create queries or views and communicate their findings.
Part 1 of this blog series introduced PROACTIS, a UK- and US-based specialist vendor of spend control and e-procurement solutions with accredited partners worldwide. I had the chance to meet the company during my attendance of UNIT4’s UK user event in early 2010, where PROACTIS was an exhibiting partner.
The article then expanded on the company’s history, its procure-to-pay product offering, customers, and partners. Part 2 will analyze recent events, starting with the latest product developments.
About two years ago, Epicor Software Corporation launched its next-generation converged product Epicor 9 (a.k.a. Epicor ERP [evaluate this solution]), which was covered at great length in my 2009 series. Over 250 customers have thus far gone live on Epicor 9, with roughly 1,700 units shipped in 21 months.
If these numbers are not overly impressive to some, they are not too shabby either in light of the current sluggish economic milieu. Epicor has shipped more than 50,000 seats to over 50 countries and has Epicor 9 customers live in every region of the world. I believe there are not too many vendors that have had such success in this global downturn.
Meanwhile, the vendor also launched a later product release, Epicor 9.05, in early 2010. Epicor 9.05’s new features can be classified into the following three general categories:
I suspect that at the upcoming Epicor Perspectives 2010 user conference there will be much talk about the recently released Epicor Express [evaluate this solution], Epicor 9’s cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) edition, which is a true multi-tenant Software as a Service (SaaS) offering oriented to job shops and small manufacturers, with subscription pricing.
In addition, there will likely be some sneak previews of what is coming in the next Epicor 9 release (dubbed 9.1, I assume), especially in terms of the so-called Web 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 social software enablement. But Epicor 9 is only the latter part of Epicor’s overall “Protect, Extend, and Converge” approach of incrementally catering to its existing client base on current individual product lines (without forcing a wholesale “big bang” upgrade). Read the rest of this entry »
In this good, bad, and arguably recovering economy, many companies are looking to their pricing strategies and practices as a way to improve profits without necessarily repelling customers. Pricing is an important component of an enterprise’s business processes and financial performance, since companies in many industries can face a variety of pricing problems such as unnecessary discounting and quoting prices below a break-even point.
Perhaps contrary to conventional wisdom, pricing has been acknowledged as the greatest lever to improving profit margins. In fact, pricing can be multiple times more effective than cutting costs according to the proverbial McKinsey study. Many believe that improving pricing is one of the most strategic and powerful ways for companies to improve their business and financial performance via, e.g., recovering costs of goods sold (COGS), shaping demand, speeding up quote time, and reducing invoicing errors.
In this day and age of news flying fast over the Internet and tweets reaching every nook and cranny of the world, it still took physical attendance at an overseas event for me to learn about a lesser-known successful software vendor. Namely, during my attendance of UNIT4’s user event in the UK in early 2010, I encountered PROACTIS as UNIT4’s exhibiting partner for spend management and e-procurement solutions.
PROACTIS Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of PROACTIS Holdings Plc, was founded in 1996 under the name Get Real Systems Ltd. The company’s first product release was called the Dream Suite and was launched in 1997. The next product’s generation was named PROACTIS 2 and launched in the late 1990s as a PowerBuilder-based client-server software suite.
My recent blog series entitled “Integrated Workforce Management (WFM) Platforms: Fact or Fiction?” established that WFM systems have evolved from point solutions (i.e., time and attendance [T&A], workforce scheduling, absence management, human resources [HR], payroll, etc.) into unified solutions with a common user interface (UI), integrated WFM modules, and centralized management. For virtually for every kind of business, the benefits of WFM platforms should come from a holistic view of labor demand, optimized schedules based on specific labor policies and constraints, and the fact that accuracy often matters more than efficiency.
The next evolutionary step in the enterprise applications realm (WFM systems included) is to leverage Web 2.0 and Rich Internet Application (RIA) tools as well as ubiquitous mobile devices and information to bring informed decision-making to the business user. Persona-based UI development is repeatedly cited as a concept and undertaking of late. The aim is to present data that is specifically relevant to the logged-in user, with presentation methods that are rapidly understood. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog series talked about my impressions following an upbeat and constructive business update meeting at Emptoris’ headquarters. Under its new investors’ wing, with a new customer-focused CEO, and with the former Click Commerce’s contract and service management (CSM) business as a new major capability, Emptoris has charted a new course recently.
Part 1 of this blog series analyzed the current upbeat state of affairs of IFS, a public business software company (listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange) founded in 1983 with its headquarters in Linkoping, Sweden. The company develops, supplies, and implements IFS Applications™, an integrated and component-based extended enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite built on service oriented architecture (SOA) technology [evaluate this product].
The article analyzed the vendor’s recent strategic moves as well as the reasons for its prosperity in an otherwise depressed environment. The revenue ratio has been an impressive 35 percent coming from existing customers vs. a whopping 65 percent coming from new customers.
However, 2009 was unusual because there was more selling to the installed base and there was the attraction of migrating to IFS Applications 7.5 with the new user interface (UI) called IFS Enterprise Explorer (IEE), so these figures moved more towards a 40/60 ratio in that year.
Part 1 of this blog series talked about my attendance of the JDA FOCUS 2010 conference on the heels of the recent merger between JDA Software (NASDAQ: JDAS) and i2 Technologies. The article first discussed the different geneses and cultures of the two merging parties.
One major outcome of the conference was JDA’s unveiled plan to converge most of its existing and acquired product sets. To that end, JDA pledged several key commitments to its customers, starting with that the company would continue to support all of its products.