While SAP has lately given huge publicity to in-memory computing via its incessant promotion of SAP HANA, the technology has been around since the late 1990s, and there are currently over 50 software vendors delivering such proven solutions. Most recently, during the COLLABORATE ’13 Oracle Applications User Group (OAUG) conference, Oracle announced new Oracle In-Memory Applications for Oracle Engineered Systems, leveraging dynamic random access memory (DRAM), flash memories, and the near zero latency InfiniBand network fabric to run ten to twenty times faster than commodity hardware. These tools can achieve these impressive speeds by transforming batch processing to real-time and shortening response time with improved user interface (UI) rendering.
Part 1 of this blog series analyzed a snapshot of the SAP HANA offerings’ achievements at the time of the product’s first anniversary in June 2012. SAP is now a de facto database provider that intends to become the #2 database vendor by 2015. The company’s recently unveiled real-time data platform combines the SAP HANA platform, Sybase data management offerings, and SAP BusinessObjects solutions for enterprise information management (EIM). The combination is being touted as an answer to handling the data abundance (the so-called “big data” phenomenon) with near-zero latency.
It doesn’t take an exceptional industry analyst or market observer to realize that SAP HANA has become one of the pillars of SAP’s future strategy (possibly even a “bet the farm” move). HANA is a major part of SAP’s goal of being a next-generation database management provider, and SAP now has a number of relational database assets, both developed on its own and from the Sybase acquisition. In fact, according to IDC, SAP has been the fastest growing database provider of late, although still smaller than the traditional leaders – Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft.
Frustrated with all the hype and buzzwords that software vendors throw around? You’re not alone. TEC senior copywriter Larry Blitz and managing editor David Clark take a (mostly tongue-in-cheek) look at software providers’ major language crimes. And what you can do about it. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog series analyzed the runaway success and genesis of Microsoft SharePoint or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS). The article outlined the main reasons for the collaborative product’s widespread use and then analyzed its evolution.
Part 2 talked about SharePoint’s typical proven use case scenarios as well as about the product’s shortcomings and points of concern. Due to its workflow management and document management system (DMS) capabilities companies often attempt to use SharePoint as a full-fledged business process management (BPM) platform, but how successfully?
Part 1 of this blog series analyzed the runaway success and genesis of Microsoft SharePoint or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS). The article outlined the main reasons for the product’s widespread use and analyzed its evolution. So, what is it that SharePoint’s treasure trove of tools (a la “grandma’s attic”) can (and can’t) do for companies?
Notwithstanding Microsoft’s recent purchase of Skype, some pundits have started to question its relevance in the long term (in view of the ongoing consumer mobile devices and/or social media success of Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle, salesforce.com, etc.).
However, there are still many Microsoft products that are quite relevant. One of them is undoubtedly Microsoft SharePoint or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS). Until the recent runaway success of the Kinect for Xbox 360 “gesturing entertainment platform” (which Microsoft hopes to deploy well beyond the juvenile games playing use, say, in harmful industrial environments), SharePoint was the product that reportedly grew the fastest to the US$ 1 billion mark in revenues (and it had been the fastest growing Microsoft technology for three straight years before the advent of Kinect). 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.
In 2008, I wrote a four-part series that explained in great detail Microsoft’s platform technology pieces, commonly used in Microsoft Dynamics and many other enterprise applications. Primarily, these “plumbing” tools were Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint, and Office within enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) applications, while Visio and SharePoint have also been embedded in a plethora of business process management (BPM) solutions.
Mid-2010 marked the business 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 Microsoft Dynamics ERP, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft SharePoint Server to run their businesses, that announcement signaled new opportunities to increase productivity.
Part 1 of this blog series talked about my attendance of Dreamforce 2010, salesforce.com’s annual user conference, which has over the past several years become a highly anticipated and entertaining end-of-the-year fixture for enterprise applications market observers. My post concluded that while Dreamforce 2009 was mostly about continued growth of the cloud computing trailblazer and unveiling of Salesforce Chatter, the company’s nascent social platform and collaboration cloud (as duly covered by my blog series), the overall Dreamforce 2010 theme was cloud proliferation (and salesforce.com’s further diversification).
In his blog post, Louis Columbus states that at the center of Dreamforce 2010 was the transformation of salesforce.com into an enterprise cloud platform provider, starting with endorsing open application programming interfaces (APIs) including REST (Representational State Transfer), which its developer community had reportedly been requesting for over a year. Moreover, after realizing the proprietary nature of its Force.com cloud platform (and its Apex code), salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and his co-founder Parker Harris have recently decided to decouple Force.com into a more open application layer, for platform as a service (PaaS) purposes and a database layer for providing infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
Part 1 of this blog series started with the assertion that cloud computing is reaching mainstream adoption in the enterprise applications space. Indeed, virtually all renowned independent software vendors (ISVs) already offer or plan to offer some or all of their products as a service (on-demand software).
My blog post then expanded onto some cloud computing definitions and nuances, to establish that enterprise resource planning (ERP) ISVs have a few different ways to take the cloud plunge. Possibly the most viable approach is to partner with an established platform as a service (PaaS) provider.
Finally, my post concluded with the recent symbiotic relationship (and mutual endorsements) between Microsoft and Infor. During its annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2010, Microsoft (as expected) continued to emphasize that it was embracing the cloud at the core of its current and future product strategy. For its part, Infor announced the launch of Infor24, its blueprint for delivering cloud versions of its enterprise applications. Infor is also working closely with Microsoft to enable its key applications on the Windows Azure Platform.
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.
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 and global “platform” player in selected industries in the Dynamics ERP lineup. 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 the so-called long- tail niches.
2010 has certainly been an interesting (if not a crossroads) year for Infor. Namely, after a number of new high-profile hires at the beginning of the year, which signalled Infor’s intention to be taken seriously, the vendor then entered an eerily quieter period of several months. Except for the ongoing vocal marketing campaign entitled “Down with Big ERP” with witty cartoonish billboards and banners adorning major airports, magazines, web sites, and so on (and which has been acknowledged as successful to me even by Infor’s competitors, albeit privately and begrudgingly).
During this period, many market observers were aware of a quiet exodus of executives who were once considered crucial within Infor (at least we all remember their keynotes from past Inforum conferences). As Frank Scavo pointed out in his recent blog post, Infor has lost several key executives recently. These individuals were the key architects of Infor’s all-encompassing Open SOA strategy that was once touted as the only way to satisfy all diverse Infor customers.
So, what was all this change of guard about? Is Infor now backing out of its previous (too ambitious and perhaps non-feasible) product roadmap to start a brand new one? Perhaps these were just some modifications to the strategy, or something else under pressure from impatient investors awaiting their payday?
Let me start this blog series with one disclaimer: I am not an early adopter and I do not easily fall for any vendor’s slick marketing. At a recent large user conference, a vendor’s staffer asked me why I wasn’t already using an iPad tablet computer.
That question cracked me up, since I still use an Apple’s discontinued iBook notebook (besides the fact that I might only start using the latest tablet bestseller when it begins to feature computer multi-tasking, an USB flash drive port, and a CD/DVD drive). My laptop computer seems quite ancient now, but it still works and seems indestructible like a Volkswagen Beetle, in spite of all the abuses it has endured at airports, airplanes, and cafes for years.
With all this personal background laid out, I now have to admit that for all these years I have also cast a skeptical eye on Salesforce.com. Sure, the company has been growing admirably for all that time while even achieving modest profits, but I have also been aware of it constantly announcing (i.e., creating buzz about) new concepts and products well before they were generally available (GA). Salesforce.com would then have to actually deliver on these products’ hyped promises, which would be another opportunity for buzz creation (in a “we told you so” manner).