Sage Software Update

Posted by Admin on July 25, 2013 under Budgeting and Business Intelligence, CRM Software, ERP Software | Be the First to Comment

Sage recently held their annual conference for partners and users this week. While we were not able to attend, we have been monitoring the conference and also recently spoke with a Sage VAR to get the latest on what is happening at Sage.

1. Sage is continuing with the re-branding marketing push. Because Sage grew through acquisition of many different products, the product names (MAS 90, Accpac, etc.) are more recognizable than the Sage corporate name. Therefore, Sage re-named all of the products in their portfolio. (MAS 90 = Sage 100, Accpac = Sage 300, etc.) The point is to make the Sage brand more recognizable.

2. After many years of acquisitions, the sale of the non-profit solutions demonstrates that Sage is trying to consolidate and focus more on their core products.

3. Sage is working on getting to the cloud. The only pure multi-tenant cloud solution is Sage One – which is their entry level accounting system for about $25/month. The traditional ERP solutions will be available as a hosted (single tenant) solutions using Microsoft Azure.

4. While they continue to maintain and upgrade all of their products, the ERP product that has really become their flagship is Sage X3 (formerly Adonix). Sage is currently doing a very large update to X3 that will be released soon. Due to the robust functionality of the X3 product, Sage is pushing into a higher market than they traditionally have played and will be competing with Dynamics AX, JD Edwards and others that are just below SAP.

5. They are developing mobile solutions to enable access to Sage solutions through multiple devices.

We continue to monitor Sage as they move their initiatives forward. In particular we are watching to see if the re-branding initiative will help with name recognition and how the X3 product develops and competes in the future.

SAP Hana Database

Posted by Admin on April 16, 2013 under Budgeting and Business Intelligence, ERP Software | Be the First to Comment

At the beginning of the year, SAP announced that they are now offering the SAP Hana database for all of their ERP solutions. (SAP R3, SAP Business One, SAP Business By Design). So what is all of the fuss about? Well, the Hana database is different from traditional SQL database that most systems run on today. Let me explain.

A traditional relational SQL database (Oracle, MS SQL, DB2, etc.) requires storing of information on a spinning disk, creating multiple tables of information, and linking tables in order to access and query data in many different ways. This has been (and still is) a very successful method of storing, querying, and accessing data, but depending on the amount of data that is in the database or that needs to be queried, there are hardware limitations on the speed of running queries. In large databases, a sophisticated query can take many hours.

The Hana database is different. Rather than keeping information on a spinning hard disk, the SAP Hana database keeps the data in the Memory of the system. This means that queries and information can be completed much faster as all of the data is within Memory and there is no spinning hard drive to wait for. Sophisticated queries on live data can now be run much faster (in some cases reducing query times from hours to minutes or even seconds) enabling a real-time view of what is happening in your organization at any given time.

Interestingly, Workday also claims to have in-memory reporting in their cloud offering, so we are starting to see more of a move to this sort of database scenario. We will be watching with interest as this database technology matures.

From the SAP perspective, this database may change how people use the SAP ERP solutions. Traditionally, SAP has relied on the Oracle and MS SQL databases to store the transactional data for their ERP solutions. The Hana database may eventually replace these databases enabling SAP to offer an end-to-end solution for their customers with much faster processing and querying speeds.

Infor ION Middleware

Posted by Admin on October 12, 2012 under Budgeting and Business Intelligence, CRM Software, ERP Software | Be the First to Comment

We recently attended a web demonstration of Infor’s ION Middleware product. Infor is one of the software vendors (including Epicor, Oracle, Sage, Microsoft, and others) that have acquired a number of business software applications including multiple ERP products and niche solutions such as Enterprise Asset Management, Reporting, etc. All of these products were built on different technologies and databases. The ION Middleware product enables them to link all of those systems together and present a more unified solution set. ION can also connect solutions that are external to Infor such as legacy applications, mobile applications, and other CRM and ERP solutions.

A key component of ION are the Business Object Documents (BOD) that include documents such as Service Requests, Purchase Orders, Requisitions, and others that can cross over multiple systems. For example a sales order that was created in the ERP system can be sent to the Warehouse Management System for development of the pick list. Certain BODs have been pre-developed, while others can be custom built for client needs.

The following summarizes some of the capabilities of the ION product:

1. Connectivity/Integration – ION is a connectivity tool to enable integration between many different systems. It allows you to connect ERP, best of breed applications, mobile technologies, cloud applications, and others without having to build specific integrations between each system. Pre-built connectors are already set up for the Infor products – including Syteline, Adage, LN, Lawson S3, Lawson M3, and others. They have also pre-built connectors for non-Infor products such as SAP, Salesforce.com, and Dynamics CRM. Infor announced that in the next release they will be adding EDI Connectors and Oracle EBS Connectors.

2. Workflow – The ION product has built-in workflow capabilities. While ERP systems typically have built-in workflow it is usually limited to processes within the ERP system. ION enables workflow across multiple systems.

3. Monitoring and Alerts – ION contains alerts within and across systems for both exceptions and events that occur; as well as exceptions and events that do not occur, but are expected.

The advantage ION brings to the table for Infor is that it enables them to cross-sell Infor products to both their install base as well as offer a wider functional footprint to new customers. For example a Syteline ERP customer may be interested in the Lawson S3 HR solution that can be readily plugged together using ION. Because of the development of this Middleware product, we expect Infor to continue to acquire software vendors and use the ION tool to plug together solutions for their customers.

PROPHIX

Posted by Admin on July 1, 2011 under Budgeting and Business Intelligence | Be the First to Comment

We recently completed a budgeting/reporting software selection project and PROPHIX made it to the Short List, so we decided to highlight them in this post.

Here are a few facts about PROPHIX:

• Formed 1987, privately held. Headquartered in Missaugua Ontario, Canada. 150 employees. 85% of 2,000 customers are U.S. based
• Wizard driven tool, with many graphical queues to assist infrequent users in budget preparation
• Graphical User Interface and navigation, with drill down/out to source data and systems
• Allows document attachment to budget line items
• Provides Business Intelligence reporting including financials, consolidations, roll-up’s, Dashboarding, etc. in addition to budget functions
• Business models are created with Microsoft SQL Server and Analysis Services 2008.
• Built-in Data Warehouse for reporting and storage of financial data/metrics
• Fully flexible capabilities and detailed budget algorithms out of the box

PROPHIX Software is a budgeting, planning, reporting, analysis, and performance management tool for the mid-market. The product allows for the automatic consolidation of data, eliminating the task of gathering and linking multiple workbooks or cutting and pasting data. It uses a spreadsheet interface, and has a workflow cycle to manage the budgeting process, which incorporates optional due dates and reminders for tasks, such as data entry, approvals, processes, or journal entry adjustments.

The system allows users to add line item schedules and user comments and budget using a top-down or bottom-up budgeting approach. PROPHIX automatically consolidates data from different departments to the corporate plan and provides access to users on the local area network, remotely connected over the Internet, or offline using data entry templates.

If you are a mid-market organization looking for a budgeting/planning/reporting solution – PROPHIX should be one of the vendors on your list for consideration.

Solver BI 360

Posted by Admin on June 15, 2011 under Budgeting and Business Intelligence, ERP Software | Be the First to Comment

Solver BI 360 is a Budgeting and Business Intelligence tool for the mid to enterprise software market. Focused mostly on the Microsoft Dynamics suite of products, the solution leverages pre-built connections with the Dynamics AX, GP, NAV, SL and CRM and offers reporting, budgeting, and dashboarding. While the majority of Solver’s focus is the MS Dynamics product line, BI360 can also be implemented as a standalone budgeting tool suitable for integration with other financial systems.

Here are a few facts about Solver:

• Formed in 1996, privately held.
• Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, with 60 employees and 800 customers.
• Microsoft centric tool; would be a viable replacement for MS Forecaster (formerly FrX) which is being sunsetted.
• Pre-built API’s to various Dynamics applications.
• Excel add-in, with workflow capabilities.
• Built-in Data Warehouse for reporting and storage of budget data.
• Typically sold through the Microsoft Partner channel.
• Solver was the Microsoft partner of the year in 2009.

Because the solution comes with out-of-the-box integrations to Dynamics as well as pre-built report templates, companies that use the Dynamics product family will benefit from the architecture of this tool and be able to leverage the BI capabilities of the software. The reporting and budgeting modules are based on Microsoft Excel and the dashboard module is based on Microsoft Silverlight; this means that users that are already familiar with Microsoft Office (particularly Excel) can quickly learn how to use the tool. The data warehouse is built on the Microsoft SQL Server platform, and is the main store for both financial and expenditure data to facilitate modeling, budgeting, reporting and dashboards. The system allows drill-down to the data contained within the data warehouse as well as data stores outside the warehouse.

In addition to its packaged applications, Solver also delivers customized BI solutions based on Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Services, SharePoint, SQL Server and related Microsoft technologies. The company works with over 200 Microsoft partners worldwide to deliver localized and vertical industry solutions to their customers. Companies who are currently using, or are considering Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions should seriously consider BI360 as a supplement to the base budgeting functions provided by the financial system. This is especially true in multi-company environments that use a distributed budget model requiring corporate consolidations.