Blog

Eval-Source Blog - Software News, Information & Tips

Tips on how to Shortlist Software Vendors

Comments off 59 Views0

Enterprise software evaluation is difficult, where to start, what to do, how to do is usually not documented or does not exist.  Many people have cobbled together steps, tasks and procedures to create an approach.  This post will offer a best practice approach used by Eval-Source within its methodology for companies to shortlist software vendors.

 

Keep in mind, that creating the shortlist is one component of a software evaluation project and could possibly make or break your project success. This single task could be the difference between IT failure or success.  Here we discuss four tips and tricks that will assist you in your software selection project.

 

Build a Requirements Document

It is recommended that you create a full standard operating procedure (SOP) business requirements document.  This document is the culmination of all the functional and technical business processes used daily to support your business.  This includes technical information about integrations to other systems, exceptions, and functional business processes.  Be sure to include the “Future” state as the document created will likely be for the “Current” or “As Is” state of the business.   The requirements document is the basis for the eventual RFI that will be issued to vendors as part of the RFX and then the vendor demonstration script.  Doing this correctly will ease the RFX creation process and identify actual business issues that the software will have to support your business.

Market Categorization

Organizations rarely know how software vendors sell their software and the differences that they see as to how organizations perceive themselves.   Software is categorized into many categories for endless verticals and industries and with many vendors having significant market expertise which may be difficult for organizations to discern between competing vendors.

A best practise approach is to classify what type of business your company actually does,, services, distribution, manufacturing etc.   If manufacturing is your business ascertain what type of manufacturing you do – discrete, process, mixed-mode, ETO.   This will aid you in selecting the correct vendors from the beginning.

Not comparing Apples to Apples

Organizations often make the mistake of comparing different types of systems and different deployment models side by side.  Cloud, hybrid, managed and on-premise costs for ROI and TCO are all calculated differently.  You cannot compare the initial cost of a cloud system to a hybrid deployment model as the measurable cost components differ significantly.   Another tip is to consider the base software or the “off the shelf” core package, not the add-ons.  The add-ons may confuse the actual need and what is supplied.  Usually add-ons are expensive whether they are third-party or from the vendor itself.

A best practices approach is to do a comprehensive due diligence investigation.  Include aspects of product features/functions, vendor services, product maintenance, industry expertise, vendor resources, case studies, reference checks, site visits, vendor viability, vendor track record for sticking to budget and timelines, consider analyst reports, like deployment models(cloud versus cloud, not cloud versus managed services or on-premise),  strategic fit (matching a s solution to the size of the company.  An SMB should not be implementing SAP Enterprise Suite) are some areas to focus on.

Full Disclosure

A mistake that organizations make is that they do not clearly define what they are doing, how they doing it and what needs to be supported for daily operations.  This failure to communicate these requirements can cause the vendor to misdiagnose which type of software is required, resulting in the incorrect type of software to be evaluated and then improperly chosen.  Full disclosure from the organization to the vendor is required as the vendor uses this determine the type of software required, as well as possible configurations and workflows to satisfy the business and technical needs.  Not fully communicating your needs may result in an improper business requirement mapping (the matching of software functionality to your business needs).  This may further affect adoption when implemented as the certain criteria and processes may have been accidentally misunderstood or even omitted.  The result, lower adoption and the perception of a failed IT project.

A best practice approach is to fully disclose all business needs to the vendor using your SOP business requirements document that includes, prioritization, exceptions, integrations needed for current systems, current and future processes required, tasks, business process workflows and what you would like automated if possible.  This will confirm that certain criteria and business objectives are sufficiently met and aid in the RFX evaluation process.  In this process, you should not disclose pricing from competitive vendors as that will question your credibility and make you biased as to a potential vendor which may jeopardize the software selection decision. .  

These four tips of building a requirements document, proper market categorization, not comparing apples to apples and full disclosure will possibly identify early issues within your software evaluation process and can be mitigated early before implementation.

About Eval-Source

Eval‐Source is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations to achieve success in their IT initiatives. Our consulting practices include cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP Project Management, Project Recovery, , Corporate training and Technology Management Consulting. Our Tru‐Eval selection system allows organizations to avoid IT failure, receive greater ROI and provide accurate decision support for enterprise software procurement. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and optimization of their technology systems.

Why SalesForce.com Remains On Top

Comments off 181 Views0

Since its inception SFDC has remained a market leader in their space.  After 17 years, it has achieved a nice balance of organic growth (mostly through innovation)  and through acquisitions.  One major competitive advantage that SFDC constantly demonstrates is its ability to strategically acquire complimentary technologies that will add to its platform or create a new product altogether.

 

The other main advantage that SFDC demonstrates is its ability to quickly integrate the acquired companies into their platform and use the new technologies to build new products and or to bolster existing functionality.  Other software vendors that acquire smaller companies have great difficulty integrating the new functionality into its existing application.   SFDC has done a formidable job in adding new functionality and making it available to its customers rather quickly.

 

Some of their marketing initiatives have forced organizations to rethink how the CRM is viewed and used.   Although, SFDC has evolved to a true enterprise software player that offers more than just a CRM.   SFDC has created a platform that has rapidly becoming an IoT through the extensive diversification of products and services it has created.  From just a CRM (a single product) has evolved to sales, services, marketing, community, analytics and a platform for cloud applications and its own App Exchange.

 

SFDC Products

Sales – Sales cloud and Data.com

Services – Service Cloud, Desk.com

Marketing – Marketing  Cloud, Pardot

Community – Community Cloud, Chatter

Analytics – Wave Analytics, Wave Apps

Platform and Apps – App Cloud, App Exchange, IoT Cloud, SalesForce1

 

Another area where SFDC has executed better than their enterprise software counterparts such as Microsoft, SAP, Oracle etc.  is its partner channel.   SFDC has made it a priority to integrate other existing applications and new applications to existing SFDC products, whether it is the AppExchange and/or SalesForce1.  SFDC is making accessibility to other functionality and applications much easier thereby spreading the adoption of SFDC. Seamless integration has become a key driver for adding SFDC products to existing applications and infrastructure which simplifies an organizational IT decision of what needs to be added and how.

 

A few reasons that SFDC will continue to succeed is it’s ability to create new products and services that cater to all industries and verticals, a wide product portfolio that satisfies the needs of many organizations from digital savvy customers to digital holdouts types of companies, an ever increasing plethora of partner applications that ease integration worries and a combination of organic growth through innovation and continued acquisition.   SFDC quickly integrates new technology that it acquires into its own platform thereby capitalizing on the new functionality that quickly builds its portfolio to become larger and more rounded out.  As its portfolio continues to increase more midsized companies are able to utilize some or one of its products.

 

Summary

It will be interesting to see how they can continue their speedy growth and remain relevant as a legitimate enterprise software vendor.  A factor that may slow its growth is the transition to large enterprises.  SFDC started out reasonably priced as a CRM solution.  Now, SFDC is not cheap anymore which may become a barrier for smaller and midsized companies to enter into a SFDC relationship.  Within a software evaluation context the SFDC platforms and products offer some degree of usability for many types of organizations.  Organizations would be well served to examine the component it requires within a cloud platform.

 

About Eval-Source:

EvalSource is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations to achieve success in their IT initiatives. Our consulting practices include cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP Project Management, Project Recovery, , CorporateTtraining and Technology Management Consulting. Our Tru‐Eval selection system allows organizations to avoid IT failure, receive greater ROI and provide accurate decision support for enterprise software procurement. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and optimization of their technology systems.

 

The Changing Face of Software Evaluation

Comments off 323 Views0

As changing business priorities evolve organizations are forced to become more learned about software evaluation process.  The task of selecting enterprise software has become increasingly difficult due to the multitude of deployment models, contract stipulations, trends, increased number of vendors in the space, industry expertise, strategic alignment of vendor and organizational size,  vendor resource management, vendor responsiveness and a host of other tangible and intangible factors that are difficult to evaluate.

Our research and clients indicate that software evaluation is changing. The components that were previously evaluated have somewhat changed due to cloud, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, SOA, Web 2.0, collaboration, social and mobile technologies. These technologies have introduced new evaluation categories that have led to more confusion around software evaluation. In many cases, companies must evaluate the technology and then the system. Companies are determining their own TCO and ROI which has shifted from once traditional areas to different priorities within the software selection process.  Many companies often incorrectly calculate ROI and TCO due to varied/multiple deployment models, and comparing cloud to on-premise software.  Since the licensing models differ the method of cost calculations vary.  It is very difficult to compare a cloud to an on-premise software.

Organizations are continuing to evaluate features and functions as before but as many companies have learned the hard way this is not the end all and be all to evaluating software. Companies are now considering new areas such as business agility, business process management, vertical expertise, integration/globalization and more of a focus on the strategic technology fit.

Business Agility is the ability of the software to quickly adapt to changing business conditions and processes without much vendor engagement. Many new systems are incorporating richer user interfaces and easier configuration options to enable the customer to do most of the changes themselves. Since many systems are on par with respect to feature/functions self-configuration is heavily being considered within the evaluation process.

Business process management is now a unifying link that can reside inside or outside the software in which you are evaluating. The business process engines contained within the software often allows integration and unification of disparate systems. This often is the method that software vendors use to combine functionalities and unite their own disparate softwares. These new business process engines allow for decision making capabilities, offer BI/EPM visibilities, collaborations, abilities to define workflows, dataflows, creation of approval triggers, allows changes to be tested without disruption to the current process through data modelling and can facilitate sharing information upstream and downstream to suppliers and partners. These have become new main evaluation criteria for companies with workflow for business process management now; a major shift from before.

Vertical expertise is now given a higher priority than before.

Organizations now realize that software is pretty much equivalent in functionality and use the expertise of the vendor as a differentiation point to select the appropriate vendor. Software vendors that have vertical specific solutions for specific applications are now compared to as a true apples to apples comparison. Organizations sometimes mistakenly compare a vertical specific solution to the base application which is often more general in nature. The ability for the vendor to distinguish themselves within a vertical may prove beneficial to the evaluating organization to show the company that the vendor understands their business and consequently their support requirements.

SaaS and cloud system applications that include, SOA, IaaS and PaaS have thrown organizations for a loop as now they must evaluate this portion of the application more closely as to align the technology with their business strategy. Integration using the cloud, Web 2.0 technologies, web services, browser–based applications, cloud storage/backup/administration options is now more closely considered with a more significant weighting within the overall evaluation process. Globalization factors; since more companies have subsidiaries, two–tier ERP strategies, connectivity, and time zone issues are now weighted more heavily in the evaluation process and have come to have more importance than features and functions. This has become a major shifting point in the software selection process along with the appropriate weighting when scoring throughout the evaluation process.

Many factors have changed the software evaluation landscape such business agility, business process management, vertical expertise, platform, infrastructure, integration/globalization and strategic technological fit have changed from previous software evaluation processes. These factors now are more heavily weighted and can dramatically influence the outcome of your software evaluation. This is approximately the 30% of differentiation that each vendor must illustrate to win the business.

About Eval-Source

EvalSource is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations to achieve success in their IT initiatives. Our consulting practices include cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP Project Management, Project Recovery, , Corporate training and Technology Management Consulting. Our Tru‐Eval selection system allows organizations to avoid IT failure, receive greater ROI and provide accurate decision support for enterprise software procurement. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and optimization of their technology systems.

Tips for ERP Implementation and Project Success

Comments off 308 Views0

Organizations face many obstacles and challenges when implementing any type of enterprise software.  Many issues, concerns and bad practices can often lead to IT failure as over 70% of IT projects end in failure.   See the post of 50 causes of IT Failure http://bit.ly/1Qjb0UE for things to avoid and give yourself a chance of a successful implementation.  The post will outline several tips that if addressed would put your IT project on the fast-track to success.

 

Now that the software has been selected, here are some areas to focus on that will pave the way for success of your IT implementation.

 

  • Change Management – Employees should be kept in the loop as to how the new system will impact the company and more importantly their daily jobs. There should be a clear communication path that involves two-way communications between the employees and the company.  The employee should have the opportunity to ask questions on how the system(s) work, what type training is required, allowed to make suggestions for system improvements (inputs/outputs),  how their daily job responsibilities may be impacted and where their particular operation fits into the scope of the overall big picture within the business.  Conversely, organizations should explain how the system works how it will benefit the employee/company, provide proper training and accept input from employees and have a mechanism to handle concerns, communications, risks and

 

  • Leadership from the top –  This refers to executive buy-in from the top down and commitment organizationally as to system adoption within the organization. If the leader of the organization does not demonstrate why the system is important to the company chances are the employees will not accept the system.  It is the leader’s job to convince the organization how the system will impact the business, the importance of the system, provision of flexibility and agility, provide a competitive edge and reduce and simplify operational processes and costs.  If the leader sets these expectations upfront there will more than likely be a company-wide commitment to making the system project successful. This level of enthusiasm is infectious and usually trickles down which improves employee morale and assists in system adoption.

 

  • Employee Training – This is imperative for enterprise software success. Employees should be able to ask questions and how the system impacts their daily job.  There should be enough training from the organizational side for employees to do their job better using the new system.  This promotes adoption throughout the company.  This includes input from the employees as to how the system is used, what the employees are actually asked to do and how the system can help them do achieve their responsibilities. This also includes business processes that are less used and exceptions to business processes and how the system handles them.

 

  • SME/PM Accountability – One major issue that causes IT projects to fail is accountability. Either the organization or the company does not have the expertise or resources to manage the IT project.  Employees continue to do their current jobs and don’t realize the time and commitment required to properly test, set-up, configure and define business processes and how the system will conform to the business.  Organizations rarely have enough resources usually people and expertise that do not have the skill set to lead a project or provide the proper expertise required for proper decisions to be made in a timely manner.  The fact there is no accountability from the organization or the vendor to achieve success breeds project overruns and extended timelines.  There needs to be a leader that reigns in the organization and provides the necessary expertise required for the organization to succeed and controls the vendor to provide the proper support and adequate expertise to achieve a successful implementation.

 

If organizations examine the above factors with diligence they may find that these helpful tips can lead to a successful enterprise software package.  The goal is to not have a failed IT project and these tips should help to mitigate some of these risks.

 

About Eval-Source:

EvalSource is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations to achieve success in their IT initiatives. Our consulting practices include cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP Project Management, Project Recovery, , Corporate training and Technology Management Consulting. Our Tru‐Eval selection system allows organizations to avoid IT failure, receive greater ROI and provide accurate decision support for enterprise software procurement. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and optimization of their technology systems.

5 reasons to Replace your ERP system

Comments off 499 Views0

There are many reasons to replace your ERP systems, if your organization are seeing one or many of  these concerns it may be time to look for a replacement system.  Organizations have different priorities due to budget, systems, business alignment and resources.  The right system can deliver a competitive advantage by harmonizing procedures, reducing operational costs, increasing customer service capabilities,  create a framework for SOP and governance, provide real-time information for decision-makers and other benefits that implementing a new system may bring.

 

  1. Legacy Systems reaching end of lifecycle – These systems have become to difficult to maintain due to customizations and expensive resources to maintain often obsolete technology. The hardware might be dated or the application, technology and or language may not be supported any more.  Specialized IT, access of system through a distributed model may prove difficult, business visibility are all areas that are siloed and difficult to update and maintain. These same problems exist with ERP systems that were implemented for Y2K as many of the architectures have changed for mainstream ERP systems.

 

  1. Lack of System Functionality – As your business and processes evolve to new practices existing systems may start to lack functionality and may no longer support what business functions are required.  The system becomes difficult to use and slow, which are now all unacceptable for a system given today’s technology.  The system doesn’t support current business needs like web sales, collaboration, reporting, social, accounting procedures or business intelligence.

 

  1. Lack of Business Agility – The system is now inflexible as it cannot accommodate any changes made to business from a systems standpoint.  Customers go elsewhere as it easier to do business with competitors, the system may be hampering or limiting your effectiveness in reacting to customer changes and inquiries, answering their questions, or delivering products on time.

 

  1. Limits Growth – The system cannot keep up with business change.  The devoid capabilities are not delivering the required systems support as expected by changing business conditions and processes.  The system limits your ability to adopt new technologies and industry practices. This business is growing too fast for the system to catch up and support and thereby limiting organizational growth.

 

  1. Vendor Lock-in and Data Portability – Due to new deployment models older vendors may inadvertently adopted a lock-in procedure that keeps organizations dependent on aging technology.  The other aspect is that vendors cannot separate its data and transactional records from centrally shared databases. This proves nearly impossible if organizations look to change their cloud or IT deployment model.

 

If your organization faces any of these situations it may be time to look for a replacement ERP system.  The enterprise software business system may be holding your organization back putting you behind your competitors.  Organizations have a plethora of choices to cater to all sizes of business, verticals and price points.  A properly documented and solid methodology for software evaluation is still required. Since there are so many more options and possible impacts to consider organizations must remain overly vigilant when selecting a new software system.

 

 

About Eval-Source:

 Eval‐Source is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations to achieve success in their IT initiatives. Our consulting practices include cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP Project Management, Project Recovery, Corporate Training and Technology Management Consulting. Our Tru‐Eval selection system allows organizations to avoid IT failure, receive greater ROI and provide accurate decision support for enterprise software procurement. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and optimization of their technology systems.

 

2016 Enterprise Software and Technology Predictions

Comments off 816 Views0

The world of enterprise software has changed in terms of what has become available to organizations yet remained much unchanged.  Many of the buying habits haven’t changed however, the landscape has changed as to what is being purchased to satisfy organizational business objectives.  The end of year brings predictions by everybody as to what the new year will bring in terms of spending, the enterprise software market and SaaS applications.  Eval-Source is pleased to present its predictions as to what the new year will bring as vendors have stepped up and organizations have become more discerning when selecting software.

 

  1. End of lifecycle ERP’s being replaced by cloud

Organizations that have reached the end of their systems lifecycle are looking to replace with cloud and SaaS options.  This is especially true of organizations that implanted system for Y2K.  The trend is organizations are looking to centralize systems using the cloud based on an enterprise application infrastructure using IaaS, PaaS and SOA so that applications can easily be implemented using a plug ‘n play approach.  This also offers the flexibility to scale, customization capabilities, business agility and add applications as needed.

 

  1. Cloud systems being replaced

The cloud offers organizations a reduced risk of IT failure, although many of the same issues are still present.  Usually timeframe for implementation is drastically reduced but organizations still face many of the same issues such as change management, training, scope creep, lack of requirements gathering and gap analysis, full disclosure of business processes to vendors still remain.  In spite of this organizations are switching point solutions interchangeably using the cloud.   Organizations are cutting losses and moving to other cloud vendors should the applications not work as expected.  This is more true for point solutions as there are also a wider variety of SaaS applications available for organizations of all sizes.

 

  1. Enterprise systems becoming easier to integrate

The advent of many new integration and third party applications have simplified ERP and enterprise software implementations.  What used to take months can now take days in terms of integrating multiple systems and vendors creating REST API’s for easy sharing.  The less technical nature of configuration makes it easier for organizations to do it themselves without much IT knowledge as was previously the case.  This trend has also made enterprise software vendors more likely to partner to provide a complete solution that includes multiple systems and integrations.  A specialty area where this is very apparent is the Business Process Management software platforms that simplify service delivery for organizations.

 

  1. Knowing your business

Organizations still have difficulty communicating requirements as to what is needed.  Organizations require pragmatic, flexibility, functionality, user-friendly, business agility, data portability and business change.  The goal is to select software that encompasses the above criteria and how these satisfy the business requirements that organizations require.  Enterprise software buyers have more choice with specialized industry solutions, the rise of SMB for ERP, more educated buyers, integrations required and full disclosure of business to software vendors and partners to provide the best solution and ensure proper software configurations.

 

  1. Mobile adoption on the rise

Many industries have already adopted mobile technology however, manufacturing and some field services have been slow to adopt mobile technology.  Mobile is largely dependant on the scale and complexities required but may quickly become very costly.  The cloud has reduced some of this cost but the outlay of cash can still be very prohibitive. Many manufacturing companies that have adopted mobile tend to be used on-site to assist with design, visibility and speed to market for products.

 

  1. Race to Zero ends

As was the trend from just even two years ago was the race to zero for cloud storage ad archiving.  Many cloud vendors have started to charge for increased storage, archiving and bandwidth hungry customers.  This has translated to organizations having to add to its IT budget for storage, archiving and content management.  Organizations will look to switch providers as data storage costs have increased.

 

  1. Enterprise cloud software will require vendor-lock-in

As organizations easily change direction and leadership they often are quick to pull the plug on enterprise software systems. This is especially true of cloud ERP.  We have seen organizations switch ERP systems quickly should it not live upto expectations.  Vendors will require long-term lock-in for cloud solutions as larger enterprise systems such as ERP still require vast resource commitment by vendors especially if the data can be extracted and moved.  This will also change the pricing structure for cloud applications as this will greatly impact TCO and ROI calculations.  Organizations will have to weigh options carefully as cloud may not be the best answer as previously thought.

 

  1. Larger organizations using cloud to supplement systems

Most enterprise level organizations have already implemented their base enterprise system of record usually their ERP.  Organizations are using point applications to supplement gaps in functionality or specific required functionality based on business change or new functionality required.  This is driving organizations to leverage the wide variety of cloud point solutions that are available for industry specific functionality or specialized capabilities.

 

  1. Vendor consolidation continues

Larger vendors are looking to squash their smaller competition.  These smaller vendor are proving formidable and challenging the larger vendors for wins, recognitions, awareness and customer base.  These smaller vendors will be bought up to increase customer bases and increase the depth and breadth of existing software portfolios.  This will remain true especially of cloud vendors that complement base a range of capabilities offered by larger vendors.   The other aspect of this is large enterprise vendors are being gobbled up by private equity firms such as IFS, EPICOR, INFOR, LAWSON, BATTERY VENTURES etc.

 

  1. Predictive analytics achieving its potential

Finally systems are catching upto the hype in which they were marketed to deliver.  Many enterprise performance management (EPM) vendors, Business Analytics,  Social Business, Social Media Technology and even ERP systems are starting to leverage the data these systems track and gather.  Systems continue to evolve to become smarter to assist organizations to provide quantifiable data for decision support.  In cases such as the UNIT4 “Self Driving ERP” uses past behaviour to predict future actions and suggests how to use the data to be more effective.  This software can also run “what if” scenarios.

 

  1. Shadow IT emerges as a larger organizational problem

Organizations that have and are spending on Shadow IT  will start to cause problems for organizations.  The division of CIO/CTO at odds with CMO’s will cause power struggles at the board level and conversely leak downward throughout the organization.  IT will become divisive as to its attack of IT and business  strategy as applications will require support and security that must be added under IT responsibilities.  Further the IT budgets will be divided to the CIO/CTO and CMO thus diluting business strength and divisions pitting IT against marketing or other departments using its own IT.

 

The above list are major trends to look for in 2016 w.r.t. enterprise software, ERP, IT and cloud systems.  These trends will have a major impact on how technology will play out this year and how they may impact enterprise software decisions.

About Eval-Source:

EvalSource is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations to achieve success in their IT initiatives. Our consulting practices include cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP Project Management, Project Recovery, Corporate Training and Technology Management Consulting. Our Tru‐Eval selection system allows organizations to avoid IT failure, receive greater ROI and provide accurate decision support for enterprise software procurement. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and optimization of their technology systems.

Cloud causing organizations to become lax

Comments off 361 Views0

The cloud is touted as the greatest invention to simplify many enterprise computing deployments, data centers, content, collaboration, security, storage, services, business process management (BPM), provisioning, infrastructure, platform, SOA etc.  While the cloud has many advantages it seems organizations are still hesitant when deploying major enterprise software especially ERP software

 

As an Analyst/Consulting firm we see many organizations still prefer on-premise solutions regardless the size of company and industry.  Rightfully or wrongfully security is still a major deterrent where organizations are concerned.  One of the major areas where organizations struggle is to differentiate public cloud with private and hybrid clouds.  These have different security, data and organizational risks.  The other major sticking point is that companies are struggling to differentiate the types of architecture within the cloud, mainly single tenant, multi-tenant, shared tenants database specific, cloud delivery framework such as AWS, AZURE, Rack Space and the many other infrastructure cloud options.

 

Another major misconception is that cloud will reduce the chance of it failure, this is not the case. While it may help decrease the implementation timeframe the same issue still exist as an on-premise installation.  Organizations tend to gloss over that the cloud will clean up many of the implementation issues.  In reality, the same procedure must be followed for a successful IT project.  While the cloud can assist with some issues it is key for organizations to remain diligent and complete the proper requirements gathering, blueprinting, CRP testing, training, deployment procedures, cutover requirements, change management and executive buy-in are still key components to succeed.

 

While some applications are better suited being provisioned in the cloud, others do not readily fit the bill.  We have noticed that the larger applications (ones requiring more capital outlay to implement) are still opting for on-premise systems.   Conversely, for regulated industries that require strict compliance standards have a much higher adoption rate of cloud installations.   This is mostly due to the software cloud vendors standardizing its solutions to industry compliance standards.   With this type of infrastructure already in place cloud adoption for these companies becomes a lot easier and in most times quicker.

 

Major concerns are emerging with Shadow IT.  IT is sometimes unaware of other software under the corporate umbrella, causing not only support, upgrade and business disruption but introduces a great organizational risk of data security.   This is true of software that is mobile ready that interacts with other systems throughout the organization.   Mobility also introduces risk of bring your own device (BYOD) and it security policies especially around access to intellectual property.  This is more of a risk to service-based organizations where personnel need to access process flows, approvals, platforms, business process workflows etc.

 

While cloud is a great option, shadow IT is also causing data silos within these companies as data is located within several systems.   Unless there is a system that verifies, consolidates, streamlines, extracts and loads data back into usable data or back into respective systems makes this proposition more difficult as organizations often employ this piece of their IT strategy last.  Without this type of streamlining, data can be hard to get to, difficult to read, provide inconsistent  results causing organizations to make decisions with improper or outdated data which puts them back to square one.  IT may be called into to support something that they are unaware of that even exists, which can cause further complications.  Vulnerability of unsecured mobile devices connecting to a company network may also introduce additional and unnecessary risk for organizations.  This may even be a greater risk to organizations where IP is the main product.

 

Using the cloud can be great if your organization considers all aspects of security, deployment, storage/archiving, integration, accessibility, infrastructure fit, support and maintenance costs.   Organizations need to create an aligned IT and business strategy to fulfill all of their business requirements in an effective delivery model.   Although the cloud can solve many problems quickly, provide scalability and agility it should be used as part of a cohesive and holistic IT strategy that supports the business initiatives seamlessly.

 

About Eval-Source:

EvalSource is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations to achieve success in their IT initiatives. Our consulting practices include cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP Project Management, Project Recovery, Supply Chain optimization, Corporate training and Technology Consulting. Our Tru‐Eval selection system allows organizations to avoid IT failure, receive greater ROI and provide accurate decision support for enterprise software procurement. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and optimization of their technology systems.

Why ERP won’t soon die

Comments off 1765 Views0

There is a sentiment that ERP software is slowly dying, this is not the case.  Vendors have progressed in all aspects including functionality, usability, architecture, reporting, analysis, mobile, portability and social have all advanced to ensure its survival. This increased utility is what will keep ERP from going extinct.  Vendors such as SAP, Oracle, INFOR, SYSPRO, EXACT, UNIT4 have all reengineered there ERP suites to  make them easier to use and deploy.

 

Research has shown that functionality has increased to 76% across enterprise software among vendors.  Meaning – with most vendors compared within an enterprise software category the parity of features and functionalities have increased and have stabilized.   This leaves a remainder of 24% where vendors can differentiate their solution from competitors within their space.  These customization differentiations may include target markets, company size, geographic regions, partner channels, support and industry specializations to name a few areas of differentiation between vendors. .

 

A result of the increased uniformity also means that organizations have greater flexibility when selecting software.  Consequently, total cost of ownership decreases due to less customization and easier implementations.  Within ERP functionality and usability has not only increased across the vendor landscape but are creeping to include many more enterprise software categories.  Point solutions are still very specific where only they expand to complimentary modules to create a suite of specified functionalities.

 

ERP is sticking around due to easier ERP implementations, more experienced people, easier data migrations, vendors with increased industry expertise, agility, portability,  easier integration tools, more educated companies and many, many lessons to learn from about failed implementations.  Organizations are finding new ways to deploy and leverage ERP software whether that is through a hybrid cloud model, a two-tier system or localized systems and how to tie all the information together.  Data accessibility has eased many of the difficult ERP tasks that held up IT projects previously, those barriers have been greatly reduced.

 

For organizations that are on the upper middle to large enterprise organizations businesses usually cannot conform to some of the popular cloud ERP systems.  This is the reason that cloud is not the end all be all to ERP implementations.  Many of the companies we deal with have opted not to go with cloud solutions but have opted for on-premise instead.  Some organizations have opted for hybrid models using the cloud and on-premise systems for a complete solution. Most of these businesses do not conform to the off the shelf functionality offered because of their customized business requirements.

 

Many of the points discussed are some of the reasons that ERP won’t die.  ERP vendors have stepped up their game to compete and become more flexible than previously offered services from vendors.  They will also continue to evolve to cater to customer needs thereby fulfilling whatever requirements emerge.

 

About Eval-Source:

Eval‐Source is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations to achieve success in their IT initiatives. Our consulting practices include cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP Project Management, Project Recovery, Corporate Training and Technology Management Consulting. Our Tru‐Eval selection system allows organizations to avoid IT failure, receive greater ROI and provide accurate decision support for enterprise software procurement. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and optimization of their technology systems.

 

Rip and replace ERP need not be painful

Comments off 1382 Views0

Organizations that have reached the end of their application lifecycle are now forced to upgrade due to their old inefficient systems which are now unable to properly support their business.  The advent of the cloud has made implementation easier and more cost effective for companies to transition to new systems without many of the obstacles that have plagued IT previously leading to IT failure.

 

The cloud has brought new tools to the table allowing users easier integrations, migration, data transformation and cleansing, business process management (BPM) platforms, requirement gathering, ETL and OLTP processing much easier for organizations to handle the data and many of the business process concerns when implementing a system.  This legwork is often required before a new system is implemented and if overlooked can doom the IT project from the onset.

 

The third party systems and new tools available for data migration, extraction, transformation and load (ETL), FTP transfers, business process management (BPM) can add additional processes and workflows to existing systems, operations, processes and approvals. These tools greatly ease the technical burden that is often required to cleanse and prepare data for the new system.  In many cases, most of these tools do not require the use of IT intervention to execute.  Of course IT will be needed to validate the data,  assist with extraction, manipulation or reloading the data.  What used to take years and months previously now can be done in weeks and days, third party tools have come a far way in sophistication from post Y2K technology allowing the expedition of implementation projects.

 

Organizations are still selecting the software however, the cloud deployment model has reduced the timeframe for the implementation process.   The same principles still apply for an enterprise software evaluation selection process.  The due diligence must still be completed, the selection process, creation of specs, architectural fit, strategic organizational fit, categorization, industry expertise, data storage and archiving, infrastructure compatibility, integration touch points,  vendor evaluation and scoring, TCO and ROI calculations etc.  When selecting a new software organizations must do a proper software evaluation process but also consider how the cloud can ease implementation concerns and what type of deployment options to utilize; on-premise, hybrid, public or private cloud or a combination.

 

About Eval-Source:

EvalSource is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations to achieve success in their IT initiatives. Our consulting practices include cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP Project Management, Project Recovery, Corporate training and Technology Management Consulting. Our Tru‐Eval selection system allows organizations to avoid IT failure, receive greater ROI and provide accurate decision support for enterprise software procurement. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and optimization of their technology systems.

What is a Converged Infrastructure ?

Comments off 726 Views1

Thinking of converting to a converged infrastructure and what that entails ?   The following blog provides an introduction and a short checklist as to where to start in beginning your organization’s digital transformation.

 

The first place to start to transform to a digital first strategy entails a conversion of an existing dated infrastructure into a dynamic converged infrastructure.  The process of taking your “As Is” of dated hardware, disparate systems, siloed clouds, multiple versions of software and databases and transform it to a new agile, business-ready infrastructure of the future of what you would like IT, support, systems, hardware, BPO and software to become.

 

The diagram below explains an overview of what a converged infrastructure consists of.  The areas of storage, Cloud, BigData, Data Protection, Security, Content Management Professional Services and Advisory, Managed Services and Se-service tools create the framework for creating an infrastructure using a platform approach.

Converged infrastructure

 

Some benefits of a Converged Infrastructure are:

  • Manage Risk
  • Reduce IT costs
  • Allow for Business agility and facilitate org growth
  • Streamline & Harmonize Business Processes & Admin
  • Manage organizational content
  • Provide Real-time data availability
  • Improved QoS internal/external
  • Single pane of glass management
  • Reduce capital expenditure
  • Increase efficiencies

 

Your organization must consider what objectives are to be achieved, what is the scope of the digital transformation makeover, what to include and not include.  As can be seen here these are many of the major components to consider for a digital transformation software driven Data Center.   These elements all have their own structure and substructure to consider as to what comprises each part of the puzzle.   Vendors provide the breadth of portfolio, software, hardware and professional services to deliver the correct infrastructure for  your organization.

 

Common Converged Infrastructure Components

Digital Strategy

 

As can be seen from the graphic above there are many components to consider when going through a digital transformation.  Each area must be addressed and all the necessary components to achieve each piece of the puzzle.  By assembling the multiple components a solid converged infrastructure can be created.

 

Below is a checklist of the major components and how they can be handled.   Each line item represents the area to addressed, Place a checkmark in each box as to how that single component will be executed whether it is to Consolidate an area, system or process, whether it will be completed using Virtualization, will the process be automated or should it be used in Automation orchestration or whether the service will be on a Pay-Per-Use system.  By completing this checklist, you will have a starting point on where to begin and what is involved in creating a digital transformation strategy to create a converged infrastructure.

 

Converged Infrastructure Checklist

 

Converged Infrastructure Components Consolidate Virtualize Automate Pay-Per-Use
Appliances
Hardware
Storage/network/DevOps
Security Software
Administration/Orchestration/VM
Mobility
Datawarehouse/Analytics/BigData
Content Management
eCommerce
Agility/Scalability
Business Processes
Managed Services
Cloud/On-Premise/Hybrid
Self-Service Tools
Professional & Advisory Services
Architecture – Hardware dependencies/Multi-modal/database/BPO

 

About Eval-Source

Eval‐Source is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations to achieve success in their IT initiatives. Our consulting practices include cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP Project Management, Project Recovery  and Technology Management  Consulting. Our Tru‐Eval selection system allows organizations to avoid IT failure, receive greater ROI and provide accurate decision support for enterprise software procurement. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and optimization of their technology systems.

 

 

 

  • Please enter existing systems in use, Current and future business functionality and features required, have you contacted vendors for demonstrations, has RFI/RFP been issued ?