Given our shared presence in the Boston metro area, I’ve had numerous contacts and interactions with Kronos Incorporated in the past, but this fall was my very first attendance of the vendor’s annual user conference: KronosWorks 2010. That attendance was a worthwhile use of my time and a great learning experience about the company and its customers. As some background, here is Ventana Research’s report from the previous conference, KronosWorks 2009.
Kronos is the global leader in workforce management (WFM) solutions that enable organizations to control labor costs, minimize compliance risk, and improve workforce productivity. Tens of thousands of organizations in 60 countries — including more than half of the Fortune 1000 — use some or all of the following modules of the Kronos Workforce Central suite: time and attendance (T&A), scheduling, absence management, human resources (HR) and payroll, hiring, and labor analytics.
The conference’s official program started with an intriguing animated video with some startling statistics about what our working days and weeks have begun to look like. For example, 15 percent of people admit that they are addicted to e-mail – some confessed to checking their e-mail at the beach, weddings, and even at funerals.
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.
The TDWI World Conference in San Diego has finally begun, and as a media partner, TEC will be covering this event in its entirety. The next series of brief posts will be dedicated to the conference’s highlights whose theme is “Creating an Agile BI Environment .” Read the rest of this entry »
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.
Part 1 of this series discussed the current upbeat state of affairs of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, as one of the three best-performing products within the entire Microsoft Corporation of late. In a nutshell, during 2009, the product grew notably and surpassed one million licensed users. Microsoft’s customer relationship management (CRM) offering has become attractive to companies of all sizes, in part due to its multiple deployment options (with bidirectional migration options due to the same code base).
Certainly, much more has to happen before there is truly a common feature set, a common look and feel, and a feasible option to move any company from one mode of deployment to another. The market will thus be keenly looking for referenceable customers from Microsoft who have done this migration even in one direction, let alone as a “round trip.”
The underlying technology developments mentioned in Part 1 have enabled rapid innovation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM in many ways. Part 2 analyzed the following embodiments of rapid innovation: the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online offering, CRM Product Accelerators, and the so-called xRM (extended relationship management) framework. The xRM approach takes CRM one step further by targeting the management of all imaginable relationships, not just those with customers.
Part 1 of this blog series discussed the current upbeat state of affairs of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, as one of the three best-performing products within the entire Microsoft Corporation of late. In a nutshell, during 2009 the product grew significantly and surpassed its one millionth user. Microsoft’s customer relationship management (CRM) offering has become attractive to companies of all sizes, in part because it offers multiple deployment options (with bidirectional migration options due to the same code base).
The underlying technology developments mentioned in Part 1 have enabled the rapid innovation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM in many ways. The first illustration of the rapid innovation is the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online offering, which was launched in April 2008 and has since had four feature pack releases (or service updates).
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).
Part 1 of this blog series outlined Epicor 9 (aka Epicor ERP [evaluate this product]), Epicor Software’s next-generation converged product suite. A similar feat has yet to be accomplished even by mighty Oracle within Oracle Fusion Applications.
The article also discussed Epicor’s accompanying “Protect, Extend, and Converge” strategy for providing customers with a migration path choice on their own timetable and convenience. The article then continued on by digging deeper and explaining a number of enabling technologies and concepts within Epicor 9, starting with Epicor BPM (Business Process Management).
Part 2 of this blog series analyzes the major enabling concepts and technologies within the product, such as Epicor ICE 2.0, which is based on Epicor True SOA™, and includes the Epicor Everywhere Framework™. The article also digs deeper into the suite’s built-in business intelligence (BI) and enterprise performance management (EPM) capabilities. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog series outlined Oracle’s recent (and seemingly genuine) change of heart and approach towards partnering. The analysis then moved into Oracle’s VAD Remarketer Program, which was launched about two years ago to allow partners to determine the best growth path for their business.
A Remarketer is a new class of Oracle reseller with the ability to resell only the products that fall under Oracle’s 1-Click Ordering Programs and strictly under standard terms and conditions. The current figures show over 1,200 recruited Remarketers with over 2,000 placed orders since the launch. Read the rest of this entry »
I certainly anticipated that the nearly 60 acquisitions by Oracle since 2005 would help the largest business software company in the world (with more than 320,000 customers in over 145 countries) continue to make even more money (e.g., via increasing cross-selling opportunities and by penetrating more markets) and deliver an array of reliable upper-range technology products. What I did not expect back then, though, was that Oracle would concurrently solve some shortcomings that had customarily plagued the powerhouse before this (still ongoing) acquisition spree.
Namely, Oracle was not then known for being the most partner-friendly company. The giant was also largely a horizontal technology infrastructure (i.e., relational database and middleware) provider rather than a trusted industry solutions adviser (and provider) at the time. To be fair, Oracle had an established presence in certain industries, but that was more coincidental (e.g., many financial service companies have bought Oracle Database or Oracle E-Business Suite) than a deliberate attempt by Oracle to provide a vertical industry solution per se.
With its techno-macho corporate culture (as opposed to more touchy-feely approaches by former PeopleSoft or JD Edwards), Oracle was also more of a fit for the largest global corporations than for the lower-end of the market. Indeed, its customers include 100 of the Fortune Global 100 companies. Well, what difference a few years and several dozen acquisitions may make!
In an upcoming series of blog posts, I plan to analyze Oracle’s recent moves to mitigate its abovementioned traditional shortcomings. The series starts with this post on Oracle’s strategy to become both a better partner in general and to attract smaller partners and customers. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series went through the five previous generations of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision) product. In late 2008, at the European Microsoft Convergence user conference, attendees saw the sixth major release of the product, dubbed Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009.
The product’s subsequent launch in the US was in February 2009 (the replay can be seen here). But rather than merely reciting the enhancements from the official PR and sounding like other media and analyst reposts, this final part will try to focus more on the nitty-gritty. Namely, it will analyze how this particular product release might have mitigated many of the traditional flaws of Dynamics NAV (and former Navision) while building upon the product’s traditional (if not proverbial by now) positive traits. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog series went through the first three generations of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV product, which at the time was called Navision and was owned by the formerly independent namesake company. How has new parent Microsoft treated the product since acquiring it in 2002? Read the rest of this entry »
The first week of February 2009 was marked by two notable product launches, from vendors touting their respective simplified, more flexible, and intuitive products as exactly “what the doctor ordered” for the current economic malaise. While the unveiling of SAP Business Suite 7 has caused a flurry of media articles and blog posts like the ones from Ray Wang and Brian Sommer (and one of mine might still come down the track when all the dust settles), it is interesting that the North American launch of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 a day later went with comparably much less buzz.
There were related Dynamics NAV 2009 events in some other world regions, but I cannot say much about their attendance and noise level. Despite the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 launch in the US proceeding somewhat quietly (the replay of the event can be seen here), I think it might have as much future impact in the market as SAP’s mega-counterpart.
Namely, the clout SAP Business Suite [evaluate this product] has in the upper end of the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market, Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formerly called Navision and Attain) [evaluate this product] has in the lower end of the market. Read the rest of this entry »
Time and again during my decade or so of covering the enterprise applications market as an industry analyst I have witnessed what difference a year can make. And boy, would 2008 be such a year!
A year ago or so, I concluded an in-depth four-part series on Deltek (NASDAQ: PROJ), whose executives were recently happy to tell me that 2008 was not that terrible a year for the company. Quite the contrary, Deltek feels comfortable as a company even in these troubled economic times. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog series outlined the problem that, as the number of systems, applications, databases, and whatnot platforms increases, the IT business community requires a holistic approach across all these various systems to provide a single point of running IT jobs and workload automation. It also pointed out the difficulties in achieving this noble idea, and introduced Advanced Systems Concepts Inc. (ASCI) and its ActiveBatch cross-platform enterprise job scheduling and workload automation solution. Read the rest of this entry »