Innowera, maker of user-friendly SAP data management solutions, has added SharePoint/SAP integration to its Web server. The new features enable easy and efficient SharePoint, InfoPath, and Workflow interaction with SAP, adding to the list of innovative and easy-to-use software offerings from Innowera focused on the SAP environment. The free Process Runner LITE made Innowera a favorite in 2011; adding SharePoint integration will keep it on many IT shops’ favorites list.
Part 1 of this blog series talked about the major (blockbuster of a sort) announcements at PTC’s PlanetPTC Live 2011 annual user conference, which was held in mid-June 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, US. These announcements were as follows:
But there were a number of other announcements that were seemingly not that earth-shattering. Still, these announcements indicate the ongoing PLM/computer-aided design (CAD) market trends and will likely have significant implications on other product development software market players’ moves.
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?
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 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.
In Why Some People Don’t Like PLM, Graham McCall said that some product lifecycle management (PLM) users’ reluctance to share knowledge with others is the obstacle toward higher acceptance of PLM. I thought his point made perfect sense, and my instant reaction was to ask myself: How can this problem be resolved? Ideally, a PLM system is a platform for people to work together. This means that knowledge sharing is mutually beneficial—by sharing knowledge with others, you also get hold of others’ knowledge. This sounds like an incentive for PLM users to share their knowledge, but when it comes to the real PLM environment in production, this is not always the case.
My thought stopped there for a while and then came back to me after I attended the Siemens Industry Software Analyst Conference because I felt things that I saw at the event were quite relevant to the cure I was looking for. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog series started by analyzing a certain change of the guard and a related product strategy shift at Infor. Two late June 2010 news announcements, which were entitled “Infor Simplifies Connectivity and Data Sharing with Infor ION(tm)” and “Infor Selects Microsoft as Preferred Technology and Tools Provider for Infor Software,” were then demystified in an interactive and constructive dialogue with Soma Somasundaram, SVP of global product development (a recent internal promotion) and Massimo Capoccia, director of product management technology.
The article ended with stipulating the four major components of the newly minted Infor ION interoperability and business process management (BPM) framework.
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?
In Part 1 of this blog series I admitted to being a late adopter of a sort, in part for not immediately jumping onto the social media bandwagon. In particular, my initial reaction to Salesforce Chatter (a.k.a. Collaboration Cloud) was tepid. To be frank, Marc Benioff, salesforce.com’s flamboyant and engaging CEO, gave an atypically incoherent and dry keynote speech when he introduced Chatter at the Dreamforce 2009 conference.
However, a few months have passed and this period has helped salesforce.com craft a much clearer message. In addition, Chatter has reportedly been used within salesforce.com’s own organization (as the largest beta site/tester), which has given the vendor much more time and experience to improve and tweak the product.
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).
Some previous TEC blog posts have discussed the benefits (but also the inevitable caveats) of white papers, including the all-too-common vendors’ self-serving marketing fluff and buzzword verbiage, and about their (un)intended audiences. As part of my daily routine of doing research on vendors and their strategies and offerings, I’ve read a ton of white papers in the last decade or so.
And yes, these have ranged from blatant and flamboyant bragging about a vendor’s capabilities (a la the “Every man thinks his own geese are swans” proverb) to some exceptional ones that were quite educational and established someone’s expertise in something. Read the rest of this entry »