Top ERP and Enterprise Software Technology Trends for 2014

As another year passed, the technology marketplace has been tumultuous in terms of adoption, trends, mergers and acquisitions. Large software players have broadened their portfolios and have started to target customers upstream and downstream from their typical customers. For the new year we have compiled a list of top technology trends – mostly for enterprise software. These trends include ERP, Social business, CRM, BI/EPM/Analytics, Collaboration, Project Failure/Success, Mobile and Security and others are the main areas of focus.

Looking back at the 2013 list of technology trends, most of them have come to pass and are still evolving as adoption continues to grow. Projects continue to fail, spending increases, infrastructures and applications are being remade using the cloud and other IT issues continue to appear and also be resolved.

Here is a list of what we think the top software trends will emerge in 2014.

1. Rise of BI/EPM/Analytic Vendors: This trend has become apparent as many new small start-ups have introduced some type of analytics or BI tool. We have seen very vertical specific solutions to broad all-encompassing software that can be customized by industry. A reason for this trend is that enterprise applications have become easier to integrate and require less technical knowledge to aggregate data out of a system. Organizations are requiring more real-time information, by implementing these systems unlocks the decision-making potential that is stored in the data.

2. Increased Consultant Use: This trend is a 180 from organizations wanting to bring back in-house technical expertise. CIO’s have committed to spending more money on contractors for the upcoming year and software selection is a key component of this spend. Other areas where organizations will spend money in IT and Business alignment are resourcing to support existing projects, project management recovery services have started to push forward as an important area to save failing IT projects to get them back on track. Organizations often do not have the resources or skill sets to properly evaluate enterprise software thereby, more attention will be attributed to lowering project failure. An impartial properly executed software selection greatly lowers the risk of IT failure.

3. ERP’s and Enterprise Software Projects Continue to Fail: Lack of expertise and accountability from both the organization and the vendor lead to failed implementations. There is no clear direction from organizations as to what should be implemented, by whom, what timeframe is acceptable, training, POC, management of scope creep, budgetary overruns, and how problems are resolved should they arise with definitive timelines and accountability. Clear business process definitions are often not revealed by the customer leaving vendors to guess how an organization does business. Organizations should be fully transparent with the vendors they select as they business partners with full two-way communications whereby the vendor can provide a smooth transition after implementation and the organization should also become a reference site for the vendor.

4. Changing IT/Business Selection Criteria: As delivery models continue to change organizations are evaluating different priorities and criteria. Previously organizations have relied too much on features and functions when selecting enterprise software. Many new selection criteria have started to emerge such as: nuances of data, cloud model, portability, scalability, TCO, SLA levels, Vendor lock-in, ROI and agility are areas that more closely scrutinized.

5. Enterprise Software Categories Continue to Merge: The creation of new enterprise software categories continues to emerge. Specialized software vendors have started to include additional functionality that expands the breadth of their solution but often times not the depth that is required. Customers are confused as to how to match the right type of software with what functions and depth they actually require. Vendors have started to include social, collaboration, CRM, project management, billing and BI within their software. This delineation muddies the water for the consumer as they may not know how to categorize their business to match enterprise software categories thereby contacting the wrong vendors to start out their software evaluation.

6. Paying More Attention to BYOD and Security: As use of mobile devices continues to proliferate mobile security and social user policies must be put into place and enforced. Additional security will lower organizational risk by securing multiple mobile devices. Employees should also have direction from the company as to what is acceptable and not for social media interaction, who owns the information, where it stored and clear lines of communication where social accounts differentiate if communications are from the company or an individual user.

7. Increased Spending for Social, CRM and Email Automation: Organizations have committed more IT budget to these softwares. Coincidentally, this is one of the enterprise software categories that are blending functionalities. An organization should comprehend its main business function as to what the organization requires and the auxiliary functionalities. A mistake often made here is that the auxiliary functionalities become the focus which strays the original intent of the software evaluation.

8. Shadow IT Emerges: This is caused by the CMO spending that does not often include the CIO. Usually, the new marketing, social software and BI software is implemented and rarely incorporates into existing IT infrastructure. The new software is independently supported, updated and managed proving difficult for internal IT management and integration to existing systems. Support also becomes a point of contention as the Shadow IT organizations are created as support is often non-coherent and difficult to manage.

9. Vendor Consolidation Continues: More vendors are increasing their portfolios by acquiring either complementary software to bolster existing functionality or even acquiring software that is completely different from current offerings. Organizations should carefully distinguish their needs and if the vendor can support their requirements, if the vendor has enough industry experience or is new to the space altogether are areas for companies to watch out for.

10. New Government and Regulatory Standards: These new requirements will require system upgrades and in some cases new system implementations. ObamaCare, New HIPPA and medical industry requirements will drive software spend in this sector. Also there have been many changes in food processing and manufacturing industries that will cause companies to re-evaluate existing systems or completely installing something new.

11. Salesforce.com Turning into ERP: Salesforce continues to grow its cloud presence by acquiring more SaaS solutions. Its recent acquisitions and cloud portfolio suggests that one of the few plays to increase company value is to increase its offerings. SFDC will acquire solutions that complement their SCRM business with more HR/HCM, Financial and possibly project management which will effectively turn into an ERP for Services. The Oracle partnership suggests that SFDC is targeting Workday customers with Oracle functionality – all to be offered in the cloud. This one should prove interesting to see where this ends up.

12. Further IT Specialization Being Required: New softwares are emerging and requiring specialized expertise. A new software category that enables integration and workflow capabilities are greatly reducing complex IT tasks. However, these new applications often require highly specialized expertise such as programming, business process mapping, API creation, administration, integration and design capabilities that may not have been part of the IT department.

13. Organizations Going Hybrid Cloud: Organizations are adopting a combination of public and private cloud creating hybrid clouds. Organizations are not comfortable putting some types of information in the cloud. They create an internal cloud and have less important information in the public cloud. The cloud provides a seamless integration for employees.

It will fun to see what unfolds this year as with each year. Did we forget any? What trends do you see?

Are PRM Software Technologies a Good Investment?

There are several naysayers that claim PRM is not a good investment and that many companies are turning to free as well as hosted solutions instead. They claim that it is only the initial allure of automation that makes it so attractive at first. The various common processes that are involved in managing one’s bulk of channel partners are truly great that it created a burst in the field several years ago. However, they claim that the field is not folding over and nearing its final bow.

The rate of growth that the Partner Relationship Management tools industry have gone through is truly fast. It shot up to the roof before in the year 2000. However, it seemed back then that there were not enough customers who wanted to purchase such a service.

There have already been a number of casualties for this phenomenon. Hosted channel management firms that simply specialize in certain industries for channel relations have been dying out in the past years. There were simpler or more traditional solutions to the solution which these companies offered. Once could simply use Fed Ex tubes or integrate a complex system for this task. More often than not, companies preferred the simpler solution.

Here is the main issue of the whole debacle: At first, these tools were marketed and bought for the purpose of creating a streamlined system for various channel related practices and activities. Training, fostering teamwork, communications, product introduction synchronization, and organization of resellers were the initial promise that PRM software had been touting around. But the thing that most companies are seeing right now is that it does not create this effect. Or if it does, it does so at a meager level. It is not significant enough to be called a progressive development as effected by investment on this product system which costs a lot of money in terms of integration as well as maintenance.

However, even though partner relationship management did not deliver on this initial goal, it still created an affect. Instead of synchronization and over all organization of communications, it turned out or was primarily used as a platform which founded management and publication of pricing in the network. It also specifically was useful for the control of the pricing. This was because all the data it created was streamed directly towards both the parent company as well as others involved in the joint venture. And it was able to create analytics since the data was detailed and was constantly updated in the very platform that automatically calculates these figures at hand. This became its best edge.

So for those who are thinking of investing on PRM software, this must be what should be kept in mind. This strength of Partner Relationship Management software should be weighed against its cost. For a lot of companies, this is an indispensable need. Control of pricing is a key element to productivity especially for companies with a vast channel cloud system. It will enable such companies to arrive on well-deliberated choices when it comes to allocation of supplies for channel sales.

Web Based Software Technology – A Globalization Perspective

 World has synchronized in a compact dwelling. All the scattered continents are now interconnected through various technologies. Invention of new means of transportation has led to this phenomenal globalization. Multinational companies are the best examples of corporate globalization. Today, with the help of technology a single company can operate through multidimensional locations; and the most important factor that has brought this phenomenal change is the internet.
 

Web based software technology has enabled every company, whether big or small, to operate from any metropolitan city in the world. The latest web based trucking software has brought about a revolution in the transportation industry. This technology has widened growth opportunities for smaller trucking companies; as now trucking companies are not restricted by the boundaries of a single nation. Using the web based trucking software an ambitious trucking company can now spread its scope of activity, as far as possible. With the help of this new software, a trucking company can manage all its business activities, anywhere from the world, through the internet. Web based trucking software has not only overcome the irksome tasks of the trucking business, but has also given a fare degree of mobility to the owners of trucking business.

Transportation industry has always acted as an important factor of globalization. Web based software technology has brought about a phenomenal change in the global business logistics industry. Its convenient methodology has brought a high level of efficiency in the system of business logistics. Web based features of software technology is giving birth to new innovations across the globe. New methods of transportation functioning are being derived from this technology. It has further pushed forward the process of globalization, by intruding in various conventional and traditional industries around the world.

Technology has made this world a synchronized global village. Web based software technology has given a new direction of movement to the whole corporate system. The successful implementation of web based trucking software in the trucking industry is the best example which depicts the potentiality of this technology. The future of the corporate world relies on the fact that, how well the web based software technology is harnessed to enhance the process of innovation.