Welcome!

Release Management Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Mobile IoT, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, Release Management

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud and Mobile Combine to Set ERP Free

We’ve hit an inflection point

Business management and ERP have undergone huge technological, social and economic shifts. The explosion of cloud computing, mobility of business users, Big Data demands and microscopic focus on cost cutting are changing the pace and direction of every company's IT strategy.

Five years ago cloud computing was more expensive than on-premise, analytical data was difficult to curate and the benchmark in usability, especially on mobile devices, was set extremely low. Today's advances in these areas create massive opportunities for large and small businesses to take advantage of the best tools, infrastructure and user interfaces modern technology has to offer.

Previously, reliable business management systems often resulted from massively complex and expensive ERP systems supported through in-house or custom developed "front-line worker" tools. Mobile technology and the impact of Big Data has not only leveled the playing field, but shifted the balance of power to the cloud. Companies such as Amazon and Google have led the way in reducing cost of and building confidence in the cloud, to such an extent that those arguments in favor of running in-house vs. cloud no longer apply.

Economies of scale aren't just in the virtualization of hardware or pooling of data center resources either. Professionals today embrace all forms of technology, on-line and social media networks, bringing the cloud to the forefront of people's minds. Perceptions are molded by these large cloud purveyors that have proven how reliable services can be built affordably. They have shaped user confidence, set a high bar for security, and built systems that no longer have a prohibitive entry price. Users can, and do, expect a native experience with applications that deliver on-demand information, wherever they are.

This has created globalized business structures increasingly shaped around staff familiar with user friendly consumer-centric mobile apps, blurred geographic boundaries and accentuated social trends, all of which become important elements of today's business management strategy. Business leaders are increasingly comfortable outsourcing key functions of their business because they are reliable, more popular and cheaper than anything they can develop, implement and maintain in-house.

This inflection point has dramatically shifted the focus of business. From the small enterprise to the multinational, our reliance on technology has created both opportunity and threat in the delivery of end-to-end business management solutions.

The Current Market
True on-demand management software will revolutionize the way business is conducted. Simply to scale in a now globalized business climate demands collaboration of each management function that captures trends, demographics and business data tuned to the specific nuances of each industry.

Here, traditional ERP companies (like SAP or Oracle) and point solutions (such as Yammer, Salesforce CRM, or Quickbooks) offer opposite poles of functionality. Whereas classic ERP provides a powerful single database structure and one version of the truth for deep-pocketed big businesses, they are too costly to implement for anyone but the largest of companies. Conversely, point solutions add value to only one or two functions, requiring a patchwork of interfaces and data transfers, rekeying and comparing, as growing businesses wrestle with more and more inter-connected point solutions.

Between the giants in ERP and the freemium point solution providers, there is a gap in the market for cloud-based business management tools containing industry specific best practices and templates. However, a one-stop-shop solution only holds true if it delivers across the board - function, role, department, industry. These are the challenges for all would-be suppliers:

  1. To integrate ERP with industry-specific software components while maintaining best-of-breed pricing
  2. To optimize for so many uniquely aligned end user experiences, information needs and industries.

Granularity and Usability
Yet skepticism in the market reigns. While much is made of combining "end-to-end" and "best of breed," rarely do systems provide optimized granularity and usability at the same time. There is often a trade-off somewhere - a clunky user interface, unreliability or lack of functionality, for example.

In this regard end-to-end is a tough sell because there is a lack of confidence that any system can deliver multi-vertical/multi-tenant ERP, business management, reporting, collaboration, chat and docs with industry-centric features and best practices tailored to each role. To do so for globalized businesses with a tech savvy workforce takes a consistent user experience, scalable architecture, built-in mobility and low cost implementation and support. This combination will revolutionize the economics of business management tools going forward.

The pace at which business is now conducted through all manner of interactions, transactions and devices means that the best-of-breed systems we love and trust today must evolve to remain viable tools of businesses in the future. Conversely, yesterday's ERP systems are simply not geared up to support today's business demands. User experience, mobility and low cost are all key, so that modern tools can engage small to medium sized businesses at price points that are no longer prohibitive.

More Stories By Richard Minney

Richard Minney is co-founder of iBE.net,, a developer of business management software for SMEs. He has nearly 20 years of ERP experience as a developer, consultant and project manager. Previously he was executive VP for Product Innovation at HCL-Axon, responsible for the company's successful ERP add-on solutions business. Before that, he was co-founder of Feanix, a $20m SAP systems integrator with clients like Sikorsky Aircraft and Pratt & Whitney. He spent nine years at U.K.-based Druid Group plc, building SAP’s first industry add-on solution for aerospace and defense. He began his career at Ford and Rolls-Royce. He has a Masters in computer integrated manufacturing from Cranfield University, and a MA in engineering from University of Cambridge, Oxford. You can reach him at [email protected]

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...