Its taken me over 3 years to get to this stage but, God willing, on Monday I will start on my first SYSPRO project. Its basically an implementation review and will only take a few weeks, however its a start. Although working on SYSPRO is not my real job description – I work on a different software development team – the company needed someone to manage the project, and so lucky me ….
Thanks to Selling Power, I have heard about an IDC report that discusses disruption in the IT market from 2007. The two points that struck me were:
- small-medium business (SMB) becoming the new market
- secondary economies (eastern Europe, Africa) becoming primary
Discrete manufacturig, the sector where my employer is strong, is predicted to be one of the large market opportunities.
I hope IDC is right!
I have mentioned before that Microsoft is setting itself up as a platform company – Dynamics for business, Office for individuals, etc - to encourage companies to build industry-specific applications on its technology. Now I see that business process management (BPM) is another target – Microsoft Business Process Alliance. One of the companies mentioned, Sourcecode, is South African and better known for its product K2.net.
I do wonder though how long it will be before Microsoft comes up with its own BPM solution, and its partners become its competitors?
Thanks to Selling Power newsletter for the news.
Microsoft have done it again, changed the top management of the Dynamics division - as reported Joshua Greenbaum. Apparently Satya Nardella will be more valuable in the Search and Ad Platform Group; Tami Reller will take over.
Perhaps I am being unfair to Tami, but I agree with Josh that if Microsoft wanted to look serious about the Dynamics group it would put in someone of real stature to run it. With this change, it makes Dynamics look like a less important division … which it may be.
I happened to meet someone who was a customer in my JD Edwards days. His company still uses JDE but he told me the customer base in South Africa has dropped dramatically. Apparently, when Oracle took over JDE, a lot of (larger) JDE customers used that as the signal to re-evaluate their ERP system, and most moved to SAP. When he goes to Oracle customer events the JDE brand is now very minor.
I asked whether JDE customers considered moving to Microsoft (thinking AX, ie Axapta) and his response was that Microsoft ERP was considered as a small-medium business (SMB) option. Sounds like the attitude of companies 10 years ago to databases – Microsoft SQL Server was for SMBs, Oracle was for big business.
The number of local companies that provide JDE support has dropped and so has the number of skilled resources. It seems that JDE and its related skills will go the same way as Natural Adabas.
So if SYSPRO can raise its profile in the larger company market, it may be able to provide companies with an alternative to just SAP (and Oracle?).
I heard recently from a colleague who works in the IT division of a major South African bank about the incredible bureaucracy that exists in his company. The problem seems to be that the division has become mirred in its business processes, to the detriment of the business and to the results it is supposed to produce. For example, a project gets very high ratings because it follows process so closely, but no one gets scored down because what was produced was terrible.
Blogs elsewhere have talked about process angioplasty and end of process. The ERP industry has been a major proponent of business process efficiency, but it is about time people started to remember that the result is more important than the steps to get there. One problem is that following process has become a means that people use to protect themselves – the CYA phenomenon.
The problem seems to have started in the early 1990s, Michael Hammer being a major proponent. I would like to start asking how we get the pendulum moving back.
A point that is used to sell ERP is to enable business to be more agile. Once companies got their ERP system installed, however, they sometimes found that making certain changes was extremely difficult. Sometimes this is due to the system itself, but often its due to customisations that were made.
Now I see there are two reports that indicate the lack of agility of ERP is becoming recognised as a major problem – Change – Ain’t it a Chore. As much as 40-50% of businesses report being limited in making important changes due to their ERP system.
I should say that it’s not new. In the late 1980s-early 1990s when I worked in the IT department of a bank, we were always finding restrictions in the system to what the business wanted, and we had to find ways around. I know of a large bank in Johannesburg today which is still finding that its systems restrict its business – I was almost a project manager there.
On the post about SharePoint – a review that refers to SharePoint as “SharePoint Server is now the core platform on which almost all Microsoft-based Web, SOA (service-oriented architecture), BPM (business process management), e-commerce, content management, collaboration and, of course, portal initiatives will be built.”
News from Convergence is that Microsoft introduced a Dynamics Client for Office and SharePoint, which will be a user-based licence, to encourage Office and portal integration with Dynamics apps.
AMR discusses it here, and say that the new licence can only be purchased if customers are on the Advanved Management (AM) editions of Business Ready licensing. AMR note that 90% of AX customers are on AM, and 50% of NAV and GP customers. It doesn’t surprise me that AX has 90% on AM because they tend to be complex sites, but that 50% coverage needs more analysis. It means 50% of NAV and GP customers are not able to take advantage of the new Client licence, and the number customers in that group is far greater than the 90% of AX licences.
The reason why half of all NAV and GP customers are still on the (lower) Essentials edition is that they don’t need, and don’t want to pay for, the additional functionality in AM. The Dynamics Business Ready licensing forces companies to decide whether they want basic functionality, or license functionality that they may never use.
There were cases I had in my previous NAV experience where companies needed inventory or CRM functionality in NAV, but to get it they would have to select the AM edition licence, which was at least 50% more than the Essentials licence. Trying to sell that to companies for whom price is the major decision factor was a difficult job.
When Microsoft announced the Business Ready license model they gave all sorts of reasons for it. However, I know many Dynamics partners considered it a bad move, and were concerned it would put them in a worse competitive price situation.
If Microsoft wants the new Client licence to get adopted widely, and that means by the majority of its Dynamics customers, I would recommend they make the Client licence available to all editions of Dynamics.
I follow the blogs of the ‘enterprise irregulars’ – Dennis,Vinnie, Jeff, Sadagopan and others - because they seem to be very close to what’s happening and who is who in the enterprise space. But I am beginning to wonder what part of the world economy their comments represent. In my opinion, its the developed ‘north’, even though they report what is happening in India, for example.
So I am asking, where are the enterprise software bloggers for the developing countries of the ’south’? With my sceptical view of the major vendors, I also wonder if we got together as a group, would the vendors take any notice of us?