Jun 012021
 

Anyone who has read anything on these pages should know by now the emphasis on and advocacy for selling by role (role-based selling) and industry (selling by vertical KBR). It is the only way to sell an enterprise solution and software in particular.

 

While the Enterprise software market remains fragmented, SAP maintains the largest single share. That is why it was a surprise to see SAP pull back from the financial services’ sector and spin off much of its industry capital. SAP’s decision to spin off its vertical IP means the world’s biggest ERP provider could not effectively compete in one of the world’s biggest industries. Presumably, and this is the author’s speculation, the new entity can pick and choose which technologies and platforms it offers its customers and not be tied to HANA (platform and database of choice at SAP) or even SAP’s Cloud.

Photograph Credit: ArtisticOperations

 

SAP and a company called Dediq have formed a partnership using the FSI (Financial Services Industry) name, which was then branded SAP Fioneer (all indications are that this name is final). What do you make of this scheme by a company that counts Comerica, Deutsche Bank Italia, Bank Of India; et cetra as customers and yet cannot effectively compete in the arena? What is the contribution of Dediq to this venture aside from a multi-million dollar cash outlay? SAP and Accenture had an agreement regarding developing solutions for Financial Services previously. SAP was called “a leader… in retail banking” by Gartner among others in 2016.

Two points come to mind. Firstly, what hope do other ERP providers have in serving multiple industries when SAP and its €28 billion in annual revenue cannot? Secondly, does this serve as another reminder how important it is for enterprise service providers to focus vertically and do so in-depth?

 

Things That Need To Go Away: Horizontal Solutions With No Depth

Photograph Credit: DawnFu

 

Jan 102021
 

It was surprising to hear this question late last year. I had just met someone who had graduated with a degree in accounting and given her my business card on which it says, among the other information, “ERP.” Except she had no idea what this “ERP” is. “Not good,” I thought. Not good partly because such a large industry, that creates, distributes and supports, Enterprise Resource Management (ah, the cat is out of the bag as far as the acronym anyway) solutions is unfamiliar to most people and partly because an accounting degree holder, who very likely will have to work with ERP, has not heard of it.

There are many resources available to read about ERP software and what it does; however, stated as simply as possible Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the collection of software that runs a company and its different departments. Most companies start modestly and need to track their revenue and profits/losses and pay taxes at first. This is where the accounting component comes in. From there the sky is the limit. For instance, when there is a Sales department companies buy software to track sales, when there are enough employees the Human Resources department needs a way to hire employees and assign them roles and privileges, Business Intelligence/Analytics is required to understand, report and plan, if there is a factory they need a method to track and plan things and so on. The combinations are varied and depend on what the company does and how it grows.

This takes us to the next point, which is that most ERP systems or solutions are modular. What does that mean? It means one could add required functionality as one goes along. It also points to another feature of ERP software. The different software and departments that use the software share a database, which means that everyone talks to everybody else and the data is shared (see diagram). This means the company could share its information, coordinates its various functions and collaborates as it should.

A good metaphor for ERP is a house with its occupants being like the company’s ERP users. A house is built on one foundation, where appropriate its residents have admittance rights to its different rooms and functions and the entrance, doors and corridors allow everyone to share and access it just like a database does. Moreover, a house has bedrooms, washrooms and a kitchen just like an ERP system has Accounting, Human Resources, Analytics, ET cetra functionalities. It is important that the corridors and doors connect every part to the other parts because otherwise it is not one unit. This is why whether all bought at the same time or added as time goes on ERP technology is made so all pieces talk to one another.

 

Things That Need To Go Away: So-Called ERP Software That Only Does One Thing.

Sep 272017
 

TechTarget has added an article called See The Top ERP Systems And Decide Which Best Fits Your Business. While it does not actually feature the promised “see’ part it does present a succinct listing and elaboration on the bigger names in the market.

The article does include succinct information on the availability of different environments (on-premises, hybrid and Cloud) and indicative pricing for the software.

Several comments are worthwhile here. Despite the wave of consolidation undertaken by participants big and small the pie remains fragmented and customers still have ample choice. There are eight listings, although several fall under the ‘Oracle’ banner. What is more companies like Unit4 (the old Agresso software) or Aptean (the old Made2Manage and Ross software) are not even included in the article. Small business ERP, which is mostly newer born in the Cloud companies, like Zoho and Xero and also QuickBooks, are also excluded. Microsoft has made the transition to its Dynamics 365 monicker and dropped the old nomenclature and designations (like GP, AX, etc.) although the software is obviously still there. There are also two categories of ERP, which are omitted. The first is the vertical products that serve specific industries. Those abound. The second are the myriad of solutions devised by regional SIs (system integrator) and ISVs (Independent Software Vendor) out there.

Finally, noteworthy is how the open source ERP vendors that were taking shape ten years ago have come to naught. Compiere, for example, was absorbed by Aptean. Opentaps is still out there however.

Photo Credit: Geralt

Feb 042017
 

PCMag has updated its rating of accounting software in an extra useful way.

First, the ratings are determined by a panel of the magazine’s community members.

Second, in addition to the ratings there is a directory of 66 products available for perusal in the category.

Sage (formerly Sage Software, the publisher of Sage 300, Sage One, Sage 50c, etc.) has won the category. SAP has lost the category. Not bad, given how it is the smallest of the top-rated companies from a revenue perspective. Perhaps it is a testament to the power of focus as Sage has been shedding product lines and trimming its portfolio in the last ten years. It also dodged a bullet when its intended acquisition of MYOB did not go through – although it did get sued for it.

While six products are listed the top contenders do not offer the buyer as many choices and make finding a top software for each market segment easier. PCMag’s list has curiously mixed products for personal use (Quicken), SMB (QuickBooks and Sage) with Mid-Market products (Microsoft) and Enterprise Solutions (SAP and PeopleSoft). Also, the two ‘swift’ products either belong or belonged to Intuit.

Top Accounting Software rating

An earlier article also provided a guide for Cloud-based accounting software.

 

*I used to work for Sage, Microsoft and Oracle.

Mar 282016
 

EnterpriseAppsToday has a short summary of today’s leading ERP vendors. It is noteworthy that each listed vendor has multiple suites for different purposes with different names, but the website lists one specific offering per vendor. Interestingly, there is the comment by an analyst who dismisses other vendors in that fragmented market. He may have a point.

ERP buying Guide: Top Tier Vendors

The site also offers an interesting analysis of the CRM Market. The elephant in the room is the actual ROI of CRM and the user base’s resistance to the product. Is it too controversial to believe Microsoft Excel is the largest ‘CRM’ in the world?

CRM Market Leaders

 

*Things That Need To Go Away: Ignoring vertical specialist ERP and CRM solutions

CRMERP