It doesn’t surprise me to hear the Microsoft is consolidating its Business Intelligence (BI) offerings around three widely-used platforms: SharePoint Server, SQL Server and Microsoft Office Excel; most of PerformancePoint Server’s functionality will be merged into SharePoint Server.
I heard a Gartner analyst referring to Excel as the most widely used BI tool, and SQL Server is a common database for data warehousing. The SharePoint announcement further confirms to me that Microsoft sees that platform as an extension of the desktop and is working hard to make that extension as common as Windows.
The interesting gap for me is what has happened to ProClarity. Is that now part of PerformancePoint?
There is a lot being written about software-as-a-service (SaaS) for business applications. Just recently I learnt the downside of SaaS business software.
A company using Salesforce.com has found that it doesn’t do what they wanted. The only money the company invested in the application was the monthly rental, that’s all. So guess what they can do to Salesforce.com? When the company now selects an on-premise application, they will have to make a serious decision and provide serious commitment because the investment will be more significant.
I’m glad we don’t provide SaaS solutions if that’s how quickly customers can switch.
Update: Dennis Howlett has made some valuable comments following from this blog – what he considers the the wrong question, and pointing out a real problem.
Dear Garth, Brian, Caroline and the rest of the Heartlines group: when you broadcast the films of the ’8 weeks – 8 values – one national conversation’ program in 2006 on SABC TV, I was truly touched and inspired. I considered it excellent TV broadcasting. So when I heard this year about the new 6-part series Hopeville, I was really looking forward to watching the programs.
Unfortunately, having now seen the first 2 programs, I will not be watching the series anymore. Even though I have been watching it with a group from friends from church, and we have been following the workbook, I found the story so unremittingly bleak, and rather slow, that I can’t bear to watch it anymore – it’s just too depressing for me.
I’m not sure what my disappointment about the Hopeville series says about me, but I hope that the people who do watch it will find it valuable. (I’m sure my friends will keep me up-to-date).
If your company was looking for an ERP to help manage a manufacturing operation, which ERP vendors would you turn to for a solution? It seems that most large companies would include SAP on their selection list because SAP is the biggest. But biggest is not necessarily the best.
Recently we were called by one of our client’s competitors to discuss some possible custom development for their ERP system. Our client uses SYSPRO, the competitor (which is large) uses SAP. I had an opportunity to get some information on how the competitor was using SAP in their manufacturing environment. This company must be spending millions a year on SAP maintenance fees while not getting anywhere near the benefit that our client gets from SYSPRO.
I was talking with knowledgeable colleagues what reasons a business would choose SAP rather than SYSPRO:
- If you are in a couple of industry verticals, like financial services, in which SAP specialises.
- If you are in certain process manufacturing sectors, such as aluminium production, you might also be able to justify selecting SAP.
- If you are a global company needing to run separate local financial operations, and consolidate to regional and global operations, SAP’s financials are strong.
Apart from these three reasons, and if you are in manufacuting, there is absolutely no reason why SYSPRO shouldn’t be one of your short-listed ERP vendors. It amazes me therefore, in the current economic climate, that so many companies are still using SAP for their ERP and spending so much on SAP maintenance, rather than migrating to a more useful and cost-effective ERP solution.
I am one of those people who have resisted the move from Windows XP to Vista. But I have one major issue with XP: there are two operating system utilities – svchost.exe and wuauclt.exe – which run everytime I boot up the PC. The problem is that they take a lot of CPU, memory and disk I/O resouces, which means I usually have to wait over five minutes after I switch on the PC before I can start using any of the applications. Wuauclt.exe is a major time waster as it can scan 200+ megabytes of diskspace and slows down every other application.
If anyone knows how to pause or stop these utilities from running, please let me know.
In South Africa we have a public health system which provides medical care and hospitals, but if you earn a salary, most people prefer to belong to a medical aid scheme. This is medical insurance which gives you access to private medical care, hospitals etc, but doesn’t have the problems that one hears about from the American HMOs.
One of the biggest medical aids is Discovery, which came out about 15 years ago with some innovative products. I was a member of Discovery until last month. However, I have been finding Discovery less and less helpful in providing its basic services – payment for medical care – and more and more focused on other non-medical-related products like insurance and its Vitality products.
The crunch for me was when my eldest daughter, who is a full-time student studying engineering, turned 21 and Discovery raised my monthly insurance premium by 30 percent because I now had another ‘adult’ dependent on my benefit scheme. Like many other countries, the cost of medical care in South Africa has been exceeding inflation for a number of years, and because of this increase I was only able to afford hospitalisation and some very basic medical cover for my family through Discovery.
At the end of 2008 I was fortunate to find out about a company, Care Line, who provide medical aid advisory services. They gave me some alternative options, including the Maxima scheme from FedHealth. For less than I paid Discovery every month I was able to get hospitalisation cover and much broader medical cover from FedHealth Maxima.
I became a member of FedHealth in February and received my first payment for medical costs – a podiatrist visit – today. Thanks FedHealth. I wish I had been a member earlier.