ABAS Software – Mid-Market ERP

Posted by Admin on April 19, 2013 under ERP Software | Be the First to Comment

Founded in 1980 in Germany, ABAS Software is a flexible ERP solution that serves mid-market manufacturers and distributors focusing on Discrete, Engineer-to-order, Make-to-Order, Assemble-to-Order, and Job Shop Manufacturing environments. ABAS has a total of 150 people in Germany, and many partners throughout the world that bring the total people working on the product to 900. There are more than 2,800 customers worldwide using the software. The product came to the US in 2002 and their US operation has now grown to 40 people with over 100 installations. It is flexible and enables easy modifications to the system while maintaining the upgrade path.

ABAS offers significant functionality for a mid-market manufacturing ERP solution including: CRM, e-business, and EDI capabilities. It also offers multi-currency and can be run in 28 languages. The software works well in mid-market multi-nationals, as well as subsidiaries of large organizations that do not want the complexity of running a Tier 1 ERP solution such as SAP or Oracle, but need to integrate to the parent company’s system.

Although ABAS software is not as well known in the US, it is a very viable ERP solution for mid-market manufacturers and should at least be on your long list of consideration.

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.

Sage Sells CRM and Non-Profit Solutions

Posted by Admin on April 8, 2013 under CRM Software, ERP Software, Non-Profit Software | Be the First to Comment

Last month, Sage announced the sale of the Saleslogix and ACT! CRM solutions and their Sage 100 Fund Accounting solution for about $100M. This is an interesting development as it appears that Sage is beginning to streamline their product lines. Sage, along with Infor, Oracle, and others have traditionally been an accumulator of software solutions. Over the years, they have purchased a number of business software systems including acquiring and developing CRM solutions.

Sage is now starting to focus on their core accounting/ERP software. Based on our interactions with them, the X3 product seems to be evolving into their flagship product for the mid to upper market. The Accpac product (now called Sage 300) has a lot of installs, particularly in Canada, and the MAS 90 product (now called Sage 100) also has many installs in the smaller market. At the lower market, the Peachtree solution (now called Sage 50) has a significant install base as it competes against Quickbooks.

We will watch with interest how their strategy evolves!

Netsuite Adds Value Added Reseller (VAR) Partners

Posted by Admin on March 13, 2013 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

We have watched with interest the growing number of Value Added Resellers that are now reselling and providing implementation services for Netsuite. Some of the recent VAR’s that have picked up the Netsuite product include: WAC, Sikich, ISM, Oasis Solutions Group, BCS ProSoft, Accordant Co., RKL eSolutions, Kraft Enterprise Systems, and Mibar Computer Services.

This is a very interesting development and not only shows momentum for Netsuite software, but also shows the increasing interest in cloud-based ERP. Many of these VARs are currently resellers of traditional on-premises ERP solutions including Microsoft Dynamics, Epicor, Sage, Deltek, Accountmate and others. It doesn’t look like they are abandoning their traditional solutions, but they are looking to expand their offerings to include a cloud based ERP solution.

While the traditional ERP software vendors are working on developing cloud ERP (whether they are looking to modify their traditional solutions like Microsoft, or developing a Cloud solution from the ground up like SAP); and there are other cloud ERP vendors (such as Plex, Intacct, Financial Force, and Workday); for right now, Netsuite is probably the most mature true cloud ERP offering available. Therefore, these VARs are adding Netsuite to diversify their portfolio to include a cloud solution for potential clients.

Looking at this development from Netsuite’s perspective is also interesting and may have an impact on their sales model. In our interactions with Netsuite in the past, they have traditionally focused on implementing the software solution directly with more of a minimalist approach to implementation. This means that their implementation cost is lower, but also requires more effort from their clients and process change is limited to adopting the standard Netsuite built-in processes. This model works well for smaller companies, but many larger companies are looking for client-specific modifications and business process assistance in addition to simply implementing the new software.

On the other hand, traditional vendors that sell through a VAR channel like Microsoft, Sage, Epicor, etc. rely on the VAR partner to sell and implement the solution. While the VAR gets a commission for the sale, their main source of income is the services generated by the implementation through helping with configuration and assisting with the client’s processes. By picking up the Netsuite product, these VARs feel they can add value to the implementation by offering more services. The benefit to Netsuite is that they now have more salespeople to sell their product without adding internal resources.
The bottom line is that if you considering the Netsuite product, you now have more viable implementation options available. This means that an important part of your selection process should include an implementation partner/VAR selection for Netsuite. This includes evaluating the resources available from multiple VAR options as well as Netsuite’s direct implementation team. The key is to find a VAR partner that has experience in your industry that can implement efficiently with the right level of service for your needs.

Article – Is Cloud ERP Right For You?

Posted by Admin on February 7, 2013 under ERP Software | Be the First to Comment

SoftResources recently published an article in Strategic Finance Magazine titled “Is Cloud ERP Right For You?” While the business software market has seen a lot of acceptance of CRM, HR/Payroll, and Project cloud software; ERP in the cloud is now beginning to see more interest. In fact, almost every one of our clients is interested in at least exploring the possibility of cloud ERP. This article will help you understand the cloud ERP market, get an update as to what the ERP vendors are doing to develop cloud solutions, and identifies the pros and cons of the cloud vs. on-premises ERP. It will help you make an objective analysis as to whether a cloud ERP solution is right for you! Check it out at www.softresources.com/resources/articles

Ultimate Software Ranked #9 on Fortune’s Top 100 Best Companies to Work For

Posted by Admin on January 21, 2013 under HCM Software | Be the First to Comment

Congratulations to Ultimate Software for being rated #9 on Fortune’s Top 100 Best Companies to Work For! This is a very prestigious list to get on to and they managed to do better than any other business applications software provider. The next closest providers are Salesforce.com (ranked #19), and Intuit (ranked #22) …. Congratulations go out to them, too!

Ultimate’s strategy to move to a solely Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model seems to be paying off. They provide a robust and scalable human capital management solution (human resources and payroll) to a wide range of clients including, as we understand it, Google (ranked #1 on the list), Quicken Loans and the New York Yankees. In 2011 Ultimate Software had $269M in revenues and it looks like they now have over 1,400 employees. Ultimate is continuing to have momentum in the market, with a number of recent new hires and a lot of job openings that they’re in the process of filling.

They should certainly be on your screen if you’re looking for a new human capital management solution!

One caveat, which would apply to any vendor with very strong market momentum and a high employee growth (e.g. Workday and Tyler EnerGov are other vendors who come to mind, among others) is to be very careful in your due diligence. For any company with high sales and employee growth, you want to be sure that their resources are not spread too thin and that you will have the support that you need.

Springbrook Acquires KVS Software

Posted by Admin on January 18, 2013 under ERP Software, Government Software | Be the First to Comment

Earlier this week, Springbrook announced they are acquiring KVS Information Systems. Both companies provide ERP software to the municipal government and utility markets. At first glance, it would seem that this acquisition does not make sense – both companies offer municipal ERP software solutions, which means there is significant overlap in functionality. But on closer examination, this acquisition makes sense for a couple of reasons.

First, Springbrook is based in the Portland, OR area and KVS is based in Amherst NY. While they both sell on a nationwide basis they both have much higher install base in their respective geographic regions. This acquisition gives Springbrook a stronger foothold in the northeast. It appears that KVS will continue to service their clients as an independent operating subsidiary.

Second, this acquistion opens the door for Springbrook to upsell their cloud ERP software to not only the 400 Springbrook municipal government clients, but also the 700 KVS municipal government clients. Springbrook is one of the first municipal ERP vendors to offer a cloud ERP software solution. Now the cloud upgrade path for both Springbrook and KVS customers (1,100 customers) will be the Springbrook cloud ERP solution for government. We will be watching to see how the strategy pans out!

NetSuite Acquires Retail Anywhere – Get Ready for More Cloud Acquisitions

Posted by Admin on January 14, 2013 under ERP Software, Retail Software | Be the First to Comment

Last week, Netsuite announced the acquisition of Retail Anywhere – a Point-of-Sale software solution. This acquisition enables Netsuite to fill the POS functional gap in their product offering. The selection of Retail Anywhere makes sense because it was developed on Netsuite’s cloud development platform SuiteCloud. This means that they are essentially taking an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) solution that was previously available to customers on the Netsuite platform and bringing the functionality in-house for development and support. It is not really an earth-shattering acquisition, but a nice pickup for Netsuite.

One of the biggest challenges that cloud software vendors like Netsuite has right now is both broadening and deepening their functionality to compete on more equal footing functionally with the full featured on-premises software vendors that have been adding functionality for decades. For the most part, cloud vendors have been developing the functionality in-house which is the slower and cleaner approach. But on occasion we have seen acquisitions – for example Netsuite acquired Openair in 2008 and Quickarrow in 2009 to expand their offering in the project accounting market.

With vertical market cloud software solutions gaining traction in the market, we expect to see more of these vendors get acquired over the next few years. These acquisitions will come from two ways – cloud ERP vendors looking to widen their functional footprint, and traditional on-premises vendors looking to more quickly enter the cloud.

Tyler Acquires Energov Community Development

Posted by Admin on November 30, 2012 under ERP Software, Government Software | Be the First to Comment

We’ve been working on a number of permit and land management/community development projects for a variety of municipalities (software selection as well as contract negotiations), so it was interesting to see today’s announcement that Tyler Technologies (NYSE: TYL) has acquired EnerGov Solutions, a privately held company with a GIS-centric Land Management, Community Development and Citizen Services solution.

This was an excellent strategic move by Tyler, one of the leading software companies focused solely on the government/muniipality sector and at first glance appears to be a win-win situation for both parties.

It expands EnerGov’s sales opportunities with Tyler’s customer base, gives EnerGov some capital infusion to support its expansion and provides access to Tyler’s government practices expertise.

At the same time, Tyler should be able to use the EnerGov’s technology to enrich its Munis, Eden and Incode solutions to meet the needs of its 10,000+ agency customers, as well as increase its opportunities for future sales. It also gives Tyler an office in Atlanta (which it didn’t have), which will help position Tyler with sales opportunities in the Southeast. Tyler will also gain very strong GIS integration technology. This is very important since we’ve seen very strong growth and interest in the use of enterprise GIS by municipalities, including those with populations under 50,000.

It will be interesting to see what kind of impact this acquisition will have for Infor (Hansen), Accela and CSDC (Amanda), as well as for the municipality practice for ERP vendors New World Systems, Lawson (Infor), SAP and Oracle (PeopleSoft and Oracle eBusiness Suite).

Oracle Fusion Applications Update

Posted by Admin on November 19, 2012 under CRM Software, ERP Software, HCM Software | Be the First to Comment

We recently got an update on Oracle Fusion Applications and this post will give you an idea of what is happening with this product. But first it is important to define the distinction between Fusion Middleware – which is the underlying connectivity software and has been out for a number of years, and Fusion Applications – which is a whole new ERP software solution built on top of the Fusion architecture that was released September 2011 after a six year development effort. This post is focused on Fusion Applications.

Oracle now has 100+ customers on the new Fusion Applications ERP software as they slowly engage new customers. Like their other ERP products, Fusion is focused on large companies and is a Tier 1 application (see SoftResources’ Tier Chart), but there is no specific target industry right now as they are building their install base in general ERP situations. One of the challenges of building a Tier 1 software solution is the depth of functionality required to handle the complex needs of large companies – which requires a long development cycle. Oracle has been methodically building out the functional footprint and they now have the core functionality built including the following current modules: Sales and Marketing, Customer Service and Support, Human Capital Management, Talent Management (including functionality from the Taleo acquisition), Financial Management, Procurement Sourcing and Inventory, Project Portfolio Management, Governance Risk and Compliance, and Planning and Budgeting.

With regard to selling the Fusion Application, Oracle is being very careful not to cannibalize sales for their other ERP products (e-Business Suite, Peoplesoft, and JD Edwards). In fact they are actually trying to leverage their install base by offering new Fusion modules to run with their existing ERP solutions using the Fusion Middleware to link the products together. In this way, current customers can leverage new functionality available from Fusion without having to take out their investment in their current ERP solutions. (It is important to note that Oracle will continue to upgrade and develop their current ERP solutions under Oracle’s Applications Unlimited program that states that Peoplesoft, JD Edwards, and e-Business Suite will be continually upgraded for many years to come.)

With regard to deployment strategies – Fusion Applications can be installed either on-premises, in a hosted or vendor managed instance (where Oracle manages the system even if installed on-site), or in a true cloud scenario. Pricing can be either traditional software license, or a monthly/annual subscription model in a cloud implementation.

Oracle is following the same implementation model that it has with their other ERP solutions, offering Oracle Consulting, or implementation services through implementation partners like Accenture, Deloitte, IBM, KPMG, PWC and others. This means that if you are considering Oracle Fusion Applications, make sure you do an Implementation Partner Selection to find a partner with experience and the resources to fit your industry.

In summary, after a long development cycle and careful initial rollout, Oracle Fusion Applications ERP is beginning to make traction in the market. Companies that are considering Tier 1 solutions should include Fusion in their long list and conduct a proper evaluation to determine if it meets their needs.