ERP Reference Calls, and my Top 3 Points to Ponder

I still get pulled into conversations about ERP; there are plenty of businesses out there, of varying sizes, that can benefit from the structured process and transactional discipline. Reference calls on behalf of the vendor are great - I'm happy to take them, primarily because most vendors are OK with letting my team be frank. We'll talk about the software package you are buying, in whatever detail that can fit into the allotted time, warts and all. But more often…

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Notes from SAPPHIRE 09

Yesterday at work was "catch-up day" from a week at SAPPHIRE 2009, the annual user conference for SAP. As with the JDA/Manugistics conference earlier this year, there were concerns that attendance was going to be low, because so many companies are limiting travel expense. At the conference, I did hear that attendance was only was 60% lower than last year. Conferences like this are great opportunities for IT to do a ton of learning - about the specific technology, of…

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Location, Location, Location: Terminology Confusion in ERP Projects

Have you ever experienced the clash of terminology that results when supply chains are brought together, due to acquisition or merger? The typical scenario: different groups using multiple terms to describe where product is manufactured at and shipped from; folks use terms like "location", "plant", and "site" interchangeably, and confusion can result - are we talking about SAP configuration? Wide-area network architecture? Rollout plans? To communicate effectively, it helps to clarify things. Here is a starter list of terms from…

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I Think I’m Learning SAPanese …

Spent time at an industry conference last week (ain't Boston great!), and heard the term SAPanese - that special language SAP users learn when immersed in worlds of Walldorf and their ubiquitous software. It's not unique to SAP - lots of software companies develop their own vocabulary. Heck, IT "geeks" are famous for it - even the various functional units within the business develop their own shorthand, terms to help speed communication with "those in the know". Here are some…

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Deja Vu: Comparing Enterprise Software to Big Pharma from the 90’s

Eric Savitz posted an interesting article (via Techmeme) reviewing a VC discussion earlier this month, on how the enterprise software business looks increasingly like big pharma. Their focus was the contemporary businesses, but one quote got me thinking: ... the salient attribute of big pharma ... is the plausibility of a new entrant to raise capital and get to be a real business before they are acquired. Things were much the same in the 90's, when the "little guys" of…

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Supply & Demand and Expectations for SAP talent in the US

Consider these conversations over the past few weeks: At SAPPHIRE, I spoke with many from the big Fortune 1000-type companies, on outsourcing (or "co-sourcing", a new PC term). Lots of discussion around India; they have memorized the flight schedules, swap stories about social disparity and the caste system, and rattle off all of the cities they have visited. Note that it's not all about India; I talked with organizations who have moved their SAP Center of Excellence¬†(support and/or development) to…

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