Friday, November 21, 2008

Six questions every buyer should ask

An interesting white paper was sent our way via IT Business Edge, giving us a series of questions that we should ask before making an on-demand investment. It also came with some valid points to consider, so we decided to share even if Christmas is nine months away.

1. What business problem(s) am I trying to solve? It might be lifting poor campaign response rates, shortening a sales cycle or saving money by outsourcing the contact center. A laser focus on the right business requirements before you shop is half the battle to making the best choice.

2. How much can I spend? Low cost of ownership will always be a big upside of on demand, but balance cost control with other goals as well, such as customer profitability and growth.

3. How deep are my IT resources and expertise? A “can-do” attitude is great, unless IT gets in over its head. If you don’t have the IT bandwidth or know-how to go on premise, on demand might be the ticket because the technology partner does all the heavy lifting.

4. How comprehensive do I need it to be? It may sound old hat, but as the power and flexibility of on demand pick up, stick to the functionalities you need and don’t let the bells and whistles get in the way. You can always add on later.

5. How much control/privacy do I need? If you have a ton of data to manage and protect, a long list of vertical specs, or a bevy of regulations to meet, you’ll want a solution that gives you more control.

6. How do I want to be served? For the do-it-yourself types, on demand can still come out of the box without a partner, systems integrator or consultant in sight. For others, sometimes it just feels better to have support resources.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Supercrunchers: Practical BI

I just finished reading Ian Ayres new book, Supercrunchers. The basic premise, illustrated by a number of fun and contemporary case studies (like Farecast, Zillow and more), is that business intelligence is becoming a critical part of everyday business decision making, supplanting the old regime of ‘experts,’

The book has been receiving accolades all around, including a cover blurb by Steven D. Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics.

According to Newsweek,
…the replacement of expertise and intuition by objective, data-based decision making, [is] made possible by a virtually inexhaustible supply of inexpensive information. Those who control and manipulate this data will be the masters of the new economic universe.
This is a must read for all of us in the BI industry!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Oracle purchases Tangosol

More news from Oracle, and they’re back to their company-gobbling ways. The database giant announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Tangosol Inc., a provider of in-memory data grid software.

According to Oracle, data grid software increases application performance by providing distributed access to frequently used data. Tangosol's product, Coherence Data Grid, is used in extreme transaction processing or XTP, typically applied in financial services, telecommunications, and travel and logistics industries. Oracle believes that the combination of Fusion Middleware, TimesTen, and Oracle Database will provide an integrated platform for businesses moving to this new model of transaction processing.

Oracle officials said Tangosol adds customer value to the Oracle Fusion Middleware infrastructure where adoption of service-oriented architecture, Web 2.0, and event-driven architecture is driving the need for high-performance, continuously-available shared data services to offload and buffer analytic, compute and transaction processing cycles from backend core data processing services.

Tangosol is said to be widely adopted among tier-one Global 1000 customers and has been deployed at over 1,500 implementations. Tangosol helped define the distributed caching market segment and is recognized as a provider for in-memory data grid technology. The transaction is subject to customary conditions and is expected to close in April 2007. Financial details were not disclosed.

Funny how news of an Oracle acquisition is taking the backseat, thanks to more intriguing events. Tangosol is the second acquisition announced by Oracle this month. Oracle announced on March 1 that it has agreed to purchase Hyperion for $3.3 billion. In cash.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Busting the myths of on-demand?

Remember the white paper I mentioned earlier? More interesting tidbits are worth sharing. Apparently, our perceptions of on-demand service needs some readjustment—like its security and suitable customers. Take it all with a grain of salt, though. Oracle was behind the white paper, and parts of it aren’t justified with solid facts.

Myth #1: On demand means less data security
The paper argues that data security may actually increase. Why? Data security in an outsourced environment is likely a core competency of a technology partner, but it might not be one of yours. Good point.

Myth #2: On demand is for SMBs, on premise is for big enterprises
According to IDC, 28% of all outsourced application engagements are by companies with 5,000+ employees. That’s the type of useful information that can bust such a myth. If this is the case, what about the remaining 72%?

Myth #3: On demand is great to start, but you’ll need on premise to grow
One company can now have its own, privately-hosted database, application server and user interface, which means there’s room to scale as the business grows.

Myth #4: On demand is only good for sales force automation
Marketing and service have arrived, too. Analytics, campaign management and metrics, self service, call routing, satisfaction surveys, call center capabilities are now in the mix. Another good point.

Myth #5: On demand is only for companies with no IT staff
Could this be a myth? The paper says “some” companies with deep IT staffs turn to on demand to free up resources for other strategic projects. While no facts supported this point, it’s something that makes sense.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New Lawson products introduced at CUE

Lawson Software made some noise during its recent Conference and User Exchange event by announcing several new and updated products. These include an IBM-hosted version of its ERP products, a new version of its M3 suite, and an upgrade to its Total Care program for managing and hosting the applications of its customers, among others.

According to a statement, Total Care Platinum provides Lawson customers a hosted ERP solution made for their industry that is said to require less up-front investment than those in “traditional” implementations and use of their Lawson applications.

As for the IBM deal, Lawson will be incorporating additional middleware from Big Blue, including IBM WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus, into Lawson System Foundation. The technology stack includes Lawson's own technology designed to work with IBM's middleware. This solution provides an SOA-based production and integration platform for mid-market companies.

Lawson released the 7.1 version of its M3 applications for manufacturing, distribution and maintenance companies. The new features of M3 7.1 include Smart Client, a tweaked version of its user interface and additional capabilities in Supply Chain Orders. M3 7.1 is designed for customers in fashion, food and beverage, distribution, asset-intensive and manufacturing industries.

The powers-that-be in Lawson also gave hints of an on-demand offering in the works, but this doesn’t come as a surprise anyway. Everybody’s getting into on-demand because it works.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Six questions every buyer should ask

An interesting white paper was sent our way via IT Business Edge, giving us a series of questions that we should ask before making an on-demand investment. It also came with some valid points to consider, so we decided to share even if Christmas is nine months away.

1. What business problem(s) am I trying to solve? It might be lifting poor campaign response rates, shortening a sales cycle or saving money by outsourcing the contact center. A laser focus on the right business requirements before you shop is half the battle to making the best choice.

2. How much can I spend? Low cost of ownership will always be a big upside of on demand, but balance cost control with other goals as well, such as customer profitability and growth.

3. How deep are my IT resources and expertise? A “can-do” attitude is great, unless IT gets in over its head. If you don’t have the IT bandwidth or know-how to go on premise, on demand might be the ticket because the technology partner does all the heavy lifting.

4. How comprehensive do I need it to be? It may sound old hat, but as the power and flexibility of on demand pick up, stick to the functionalities you need and don’t let the bells and whistles get in the way. You can always add on later.

5. How much control/privacy do I need? If you have a ton of data to manage and protect, a long list of vertical specs, or a bevy of regulations to meet, you’ll want a solution that gives you more control.

6. How do I want to be served? For the do-it-yourself types, on demand can still come out of the box without a partner, systems integrator or consultant in sight. For others, sometimes it just feels better to have support resources.

Friday, January 26, 2007

SAP unveils new approach to midmarket

At its annual conference to report full-year fiscal results, SAP revealed further details about a new solution and an additional business model that targets midsized companies. The solution will use a new “enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA) by design” platform and will be available to customers through on-demand and hosted delivery.

At the conference, SAP CEO Henning Kagermann outlined plans to introduce a new midmarket solution, which will deliver enterprise SOA under a “try-run-adapt” model leveraging the Internet and telesales, and can be managed remotely. The solution is beginning initial market validation, and SAP plans to introduce more details about the product road map and its associated components at an event later in the current quarter, Kagermann said.