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Spreadsheets and BI - Allies or Enemies?

Date: 31-05-2011
Author: Bit Software

With well over 500 million users around the globe, it’s no wonder that spreadsheets are the de-facto Business Intelligence/ Analytics application.

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Maximizing Your Business Intelligence’s ROI

Date: 27-05-2011
Author: Bit Software

To increase the return of a given BI investment requires maximizing the extra profit the company makes a result of the BI deployment.
In his Theory of Constraints, Dr. Goldratt states very clearly that in a for profit company, the main goal is to achieve sustainable profitability. In other words, it’s to “make money now and in the future”.

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Cloud ERP - faster implementation timeframe and very robust functionality

Date: 23-05-2011
Author: Bit Software

I recently read an article published by Brett Beaubouef on his blog (Cloud ERP – New Dog, Same Fleas), about the future of ERP in the cloud. Referring to the traditional ERP, Brett called these systems „the panacea for all business automation pains”. Instead, Cloud ERP is positioned as a revolutionary approach to deploying an ERP solution.
„Practically speaking, Cloud ERP is just another deployment option available to customers. Cloud ERP provides a solution that is flexible, adaptable, scalable, efficient, and affordable. Customers can enjoy painless upgrades, rapid deployment, and easy customization along with availability “anywhere at anytime”!”, said Beaubouef.
The question that arises is the following: are there major differences between those two ERP solutions? At first sight, it seems not. The activities required for an “on premise” ERP implementation are also required for Cloud ERP and the scope and responsibility for the implementation activities are still required. And then, what would be „the key impacts that a Cloud ERP deployment will have on the implementation?”
As Brett said in his article, „from a technology perspective, Cloud ERP offers a faster implementation timeframe and provides very robust functionality”, but if the organization is not prepared to properly use the software then the value of Cloud ERP will quickly dissipate. Also, „integration will be a greater challenge in a Cloud ERP model versus an on-premise ERP model – if only because the Cloud ERP will be outside the company’s internal network”.
Than, the customizations and integrations are impacted based upon the cloud model. Regarding Brett, a customer will have greater flexibility if the customer has a dedicated instance. „If multiple customers are on single software then the Cloud ERP provider may limit the level of integrations and customizations because the software changes may have an adverse impact on all the customers on a shared instance”, specified Brett.
As a conclusion, As with every deployment model, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider. „But it is important to remember that Cloud ERP is not a short cut to success”, noted Beaubouef.

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„Business Productivity Solutions”, Bucharest. Been there!

Date: 19-05-2011
Author: Bit Software

We participated on May 17, in Bucharest, at „Business Productivity Solutions” Conference. organized by Agora. The event wanted to demonstrate the changes that occur at this moment in ERP, CRM and Business Intelligence market and, also, the important trends that, soon or later, it will mark the future of this market.

We spoke about our company ERP, CRM and BI solutions - Socrate+ ERP, SocrateOpen ERP&CRM, Socrate Payroll, MicroStrategy BI - which allows companies from various industries to improve productivity and to provide better services to customers by streamlining and automating processes to achieve smart growth and sustainability goals.

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The 5 Elements of a Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Date: 18-05-2011
Author: Bit Software

Having seen BI implementations ranging from the very good to the very bad, I think a BI solution needs to be:

1) User friendly, self-help oriented and designed for the users and not for IT experts, because constantly needing an IT person to run SQL, MDX or complex reports is a slow and unproductive process for everyone.

Having representatives of all business areas attend the vendor presentations and participate in the BI selection process is fundamental to develop commitment and support. Of course, IT leads and facilitates the process.

In order to succeed, a BI project needs to be an equal partnership between IT and all the business sectors that will use the solution. A clear understanding and agreement on the definitions of user needs, metrics and dimensions is the base of a system that people will like and use.

2) The solution needs to accommodate a flexible design of the meta-data to be "business intuitive" because you do not want business folks to rely on analysts as intermediaries to translate BI reports into useful information through extensive and time consuming manipulation of data exported to spreadsheets.

3) The BI tool needs to be fast and interactive (like OLAP cubes) to be able to drill down, drill through and filter, so everyone can uncover the root cause of problems in a very few minutes.

4) The ability to connect multiple data sources is fundamental to enrich the scope of the decisions. Merging internal transaction data with external market intelligence will ensure a 360 view of the market-business-profit reality, instantly, right from the BI software. This gives the company a competitive edge, because the competition is still likely to rely on internal raw data from transaction driven static reports and managers’ intuition.

5) Top management needs to fully commit to the project, and once implemented should demand that the organization continues to use it, strengthening the data-driven culture, so BI does not become the flavor of the month.

Finally, while cost may be important to some folks, Return on the BI Investment is the ultimate measure of success. If the selection and configuration of the BI solution allows the company to beat the competition, increase market share, revenue and profit everybody wins.


By Bill Cabiró and Strat-Wise LLC

„Please visit their web site at www.strat-wise.com for additional articles and resources on the strategic use of Business Intelligence and Analytics”


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What Questions to Ask About ERP Software License

Date: 16-05-2011
Author: Bit Software

I read recently, on a blog powered by Software Advice, an interesting post about what questions to ask yourself about ERP software license. Regarding to Anya Ciecierski, „once you have found the software that has the right functionality for your business, you need to make sure you understand the costs”. She talks about upfront costs and hidden cost and how you can save money or waste money. It is important to understand that the total cost of an on-premise accounting software project will include three components: software licenses, implementation services, and hardware. Regarding to software licenses, Ciecierski brings up nine questions that every ERP software buyer should ask before signing on the dotted line.
1. Is the system priced per user or per module?
For many companies, user-based pricing is often a better value and a better investment – you get more for your money and room to grow.
2. Can you buy full user and light user licenses?
If the software you choose gives you an option to purchase full user licenses and light user licenses, this can be a substantial cost savings for those additional 15 users.
3. Is the system priced by concurrent users or named users?
If you buy a system based on concurrent users, you can set everyone up in the system. If you pay by named user, however, you’ll have to buy a license for each user.
4. How easy is it to upgrade your ERP system?
5. What are the required annual maintenance fees?

Negotiating your maintenance contract can be tricky business.
6. What is included in the annual maintenance fees?
7. What are the rules for lapsed maintenance fees?

Maintenance plans are like insurance, we all wish we didn’t have to pay for it, but when we need it we’re glad we have it.
8. Is there a strong ISV/Add-On community?
9. Is there a strong user community?

A strong user community offers an opportunity to share ideas and learn best practices.
What’s your experience with software licenses? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

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Business Intelligence & Analytics Trends for 2011

Date: 12-05-2011
Author: Bit Software

As the global market for Business Intelligence and Analytics continues to experience double digit growth, BI vendors from around the globe will offer creative and lower cost solutions to gain share in the mid and small size company segments that are turning to BI for the first time.

Cloud computing vendors will expand their offerings to include ETL, Data warehouse, reporting, OLAP, advanced visualization and dashboards in one package for the early adopters that moved passed the security concerns.

Software companies will follow the IBM-Cognos lead integrating advanced statistical packages and predictive analytics modeling into their current BI solutions.

More vendors will offer better mobile BI, analytics and advanced visualization applications.

More companies will realize that they can use BI/ Analytics beyond the back office tactical day-to-day operation. They will start to exploit the power of BI software to perform strategic and competitive analysis on the fly to understand market trends better than the competition and increase market share, revenue and profit.

More companies will realize that the semantic quality of their data is constraining the Business Analytics results. They will start to cleanse, organize and structure the data to contain more strategic meaning and provide direction to grow the business.

Some companies will gradually realize they have built unnecessary complexities in the configuration of analytic, BI tools and data marts. While this isn’t an impediment to IT or analyst experts, it causes casual business users to underutilize or not utilize at all the systems. This will gradually change towards a more business intuitive, self serve “analytics for the masses” model.

By Bill Cabiró and Strat-Wise LLC

„Please visit their web site at www.strat-wise.com for additional articles and resources on the strategic use of Business Intelligence and Analytics”

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Gartner: Business Intelligence market will grow for several years from now

Date: 11-05-2011
Author: Bit Software

According to a study published by Gartner, the Business Intelligence market increased by 13,4% in 2010, the total value of the global BI market reaching $ 10.5 billion. The growth reflects the customers interest for business efficiency solutions and competitive advantage achievement in economic crisis time. Regarding to Gartner, the BI market is 59% controlled by the major vendors, such as SAP, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and MicroStrategy.

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The role, responsibilities and activities of client Project Manager in an ERP implementation project

Date: 03-05-2011
Author: Bit Software

Most of the companies who are looking to implement an ERP system have a great dilemma: which is the role of the client project manager, in what areas of project management he is involved?

The key goals of any ERP implementation project are to complete it within the established time and budget, with a high degree of customer satisfaction. For this reason, the client Project Manager is responsible, first of all, for ensuring that all customer requirements are planned and executed in a manner that will meet the implementation goals for the project. Second, the client Project Manager will serve as a liaison between the implementation team and the management of the organization. He should submit regular reports to the project progress, project risks or additional required resources. Last, but not least, the client Project Manager manages the availability of key users in the organization.

A discussion about this problem took place recently in the ERP Project Management Group on LinkedIn. After I read more than one hundred comments, I made ​​the following typical activities list of client project manager:
• Prepare and conduct customer/Vendor meetings
• Support and accept the planning of the Implementation phase
• Review and support decision for the project scope
• Acceptance of implementation proposal
• Initiate project planning of all project phases
• Assign adequate resources to the project
• Prepare and conduct the kickoff meeting
• Approve project charges such as travel expenses, equipment, or billable time
• Create and communicate project status reports to the project stakeholders
• Manage the defined budget and budget changes
• Ensure quality and timeliness for the services
• Ensure customer acceptance for delivered services
• Project closing
• Hand over to support team

Do you know others roles, responsibilities or activities that the client project manager must do, could do or don't have to do? If yes, please share them with us.

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