I am coming to the conclusion that the research group International Data Corporation (IDC) is out of step with just about everyone else when it comes to the research they publish.
This first came to my attention when I was referred to an IDC report on the top ERP vendors. Looking at the report’s table of contents, I was surprised to see that companies such as TOTVS, Activant, Micros Systems, CGI and Torex Retail, were included. In no way can these companies be called top ERP vendors. So I was left wondering on what basis did IDC identify its vendors.
Now, there is a report that IDC predicts 27% compound annual growth in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market, only a few days after Gartner is reported as “backing off the software as a service (SaaS) bandwagon“.
Whether you are a customer or a vendor, do you wonder where IDC are getting their data?
On one of the coldest nights of the year so far, I went to the Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg to watch the FIFA World Cup match between Brazil – one of the favourites – and North Korea – an almost completely unknown football entity. It was a great experience. (Note: I use the English term ‘football’ for what the US terms ‘soccer’).
First, the cold was terrible – it got to 2 degrees C by the end of the game and the wind made it feel worse. Even though I and many others were wrapped up, over the 90 or so minutes of the match we couldn’t stop the cold from getting in. Some foreigners were also unprepared for the cold weather – I spoke to a Russian TV journalist who said he had to go shopping that day for warm clothing.
But the game made up for it. The Brazilians’ spectacular brand of football was engaging to watch; the skill and flare they exhibit made me appreciate why they could be this year’s winner. The North Koreans didn’t have the same flare, but their defending was remarkable – when a Brazilian striker got close to the North Korean goal, two or three North Koreans defenders would almost smother the opposing player.
Despite the strong defense, the Brazilians were able to get in two goals. The first one was the most amazing feats of skill I have seen. Brazilian Maicon was one metre away from the North Korean by-line and 3-4 meters from the goal past, and seemed to have no option but to pass the ball back. Instead he kicked, making the ball curve so that it went outwards slightly then curved in to pass the North Korean goal-keeper and go into the goal.
The North Koreans got support from the crowd in the stadium because when Ji Yun Nam scored a goal in the final minutes of the game, the crowd’s appreciation was obvious.
The other interesting aspect of the game was that not a single yellow card was issued. None of the players committed any major fouls, and when they brought down an opposing player, were ready to help them up again.
Finally, before 11th July 2010, South Africa was the only country where the word ‘vuvuzela’ was known, but in less than two weeks it is now spoken about internationally. That’s Internet speed.
Steve Philips has written a useful blog on how to go about selecting an ERP system – including the comment:
Regardless of how many consultants a client uses to select software, many would have been far better off selecting out of a hat.
The consulting houses and analysts who make money out of ‘helping’ companies to select an ERP might object to that, but as experienced practitioners know, most project failures are rarely due to the software but more to do with organisational and management issues.
Here is a summary of Steve’s recommendations:
- A properly developed RFI can help expedite the evaluation process
- Is the software is installed in organizations within your industry segment?
- Is the software is used by at least some organizations with more users?
- Make sure the software is not on the “bleeding edge” of technology.
- Make sure that the software is fully support by the supplier.
- Is the vendor’s direction and focus for future functionality consistent with your organization?
- Consulting services and formal training is readily available (through the vendor and third-parties).
- The vendor is financially viable and has a solid track record.
- The software must meet the key mandatory business requirements.
I would also include the following:
- Does the vendor or reseller show an understanding of your business and its key issues?
- What quality and quantity of skilled resources are available from the vendor or reseller for your project?
Without making this list incredibly long, what other points should be added?
Update: Eric Kimberling of Panorama has provided some other points here.
Jason Hiner at Tech Republic published the PowerPoint slide from TechEd 2010 that showed Microsoft’s strategy for private and public clouds. I think there is something missing from that picture – on the private side you can see Dynamics, but it is not on he public side. So my questions are: where is Microsoft Dynamics, and especially the ERP component, in Microsoft’s cloud strategy? What does this say about Microsoft’s plan for ERP Software-as-a-Service?
Earlier this month, Google Wave celebrated its first birthday, and in May it stopped being an invitation-only site and opened up to everyone. So I felt it an appropriate time to raise the question in the title.
When Google Wave was unveiled, it was touted as the way email would have been created it was invented today. For brief communications email is fine, and if a ‘snail mail’ type of communication is required, but in the modern world where email has become more of a collaboration engine, a plethora of emails get created around a discussion issue and it can be difficult to track or recall the full flow of the discussion. Google came up with Wave as a better way to communicate and collaborate using the Internet, HTTP and a browser.
Actually, the original title of this blog was “the end of as as we know it” – but I started planning it some time ago before I (and others) discovered how difficult it was to get people to use Google Wave. In my opinion, the problem for Google is that email has been a paradigm that has developed and strengthened over 40 years, and it would take something extremely innovative and convincing to get people to move from email en masse. Nevertheless, the introduction of Wave has led to other IT companies getting on the same band-wagon, so IBM is working on Vulcan, and SAP is developing StreamWork.
To answer the question in the title, the answer seems to be ‘yes, email is here to stay’, that is until a sufficient motivation can be found to get people to stop using traditional email, or the transition is relatively seamless. This conclusion was also reached by the Forrester analyst group. In discussing why Google Wave wasn’t successful, an interesting comment was made:
Google’s decision to release Wave as a platform, instead of a product, was both a curse and a blessing.
If Google has held back on Wave for a little longer and released it to the developer community without all the fanfare that it had, it might have been able to release a ‘product’ which was easier for the average user to adopt and leverage.
When it comes to technology innovation, Microsoft has proven that it is not necessarily at the cutting edge but it catches up pretty quickly. This can be seen in the announcements around Office 2010 and Sharepoint 2010, including co-authoring and unified communication. I think it is quite likely that Microsoft could deliver a communication and collaboration tool that runs inside Outlook, making the transition from email to the ‘new communication style’ easier for the vast majority of Office and Outlook users.
I would be interested to get some opinions – can Microsoft do it, will Google Wave ultimately triumph, is the ‘new communication paradigm’ valid and feasible?