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Posts Tagged ‘cloud computing’

National Instruments Transforms Global HR With Oracle HCM Cloud

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hcm cloud

MarketWatch:

National Instruments (NI) equips engineers and scientists with tools that accelerate productivity, innovation, and discovery to meet not only grand but also daily engineering challenges in an increasingly complex world, and continues to experience growing demand for its technology. To help meet that demand and scale its business, NI selected Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud to better identify and leverage top talent from across its global organization. By standardizing on Oracle HCM Cloud for core HR functions, NI is better equipped to unify HR information, manage employees and candidates, and maximize the efficiency of critical HR processes.

Yes, it’s a press release, but the fact remains that nabbing a global technology manufacturer is a big win for Oracle and it’s HCM Cloud solution. We use it here at MIPRO (and have for quite some time), and we can tell you that it’s stable, feature-rich, effective and plays along nicely with other apps, on-premise or cloud-based. We’re picky and there’s 0% of our DNA that will dogfood for dogfooding’s sake, so when we moved to Oracle HCM Cloud for our production system, we kicked the tires from every possible angle.

Don’t Get Lost in the Cloud!

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Terms like, the cloud, on-premise,co-existence: these are just but a few of the current strategies that most organizations contend with today in determining how they are going to manage their enterprise applications that run their businesses. It can feel like a daunting task, often equal parts confusing and overwhelming. The truth of the matter is, it doesn’t have to be. The choices available today by the large ERP software providers are actually giving customers incredible flexibility to map out a strategy on their terms and timeline.

But like the quote in the movie Spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Organizations have a tremendous opportunity to build a strong, long-term strategy to help them reduce their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by assessing their various businesses, processes, IT infrastructure, resources and strategic plans (such as acquisitions and divestitures). Organizations that plan their path with regard to which systems belong in the cloud and which systems belong on-premise have a much better chance of getting there in the long-term.

Careful, well-thought out plans with your ERP provider and key consulting services partner can help make this path much easier and manageable. For many, the thought of going to the cloud versus which systems to leave on-premise, at this point, raises more questions than answers. It doesn’t have to be that way. Take this opportunity to do the strategic, up-front planning now so that you are not asking these questions at the wrong time. Considering the financial investment you are making in these systems for the next 5, 10, 20 years, it makes sense to plan wisely.

In doing so, you can save significant dollars on your overall investment in resources, customizations, maintenance and infrastructure costs over the long-term. If you are a CIO, CTO, Director level in IT or the Business side, it really is a great time to have these opportunities to leverage what’s available to you from a technology perspective, whether in the Cloud or On-Premise. These changes taking place hold great promise for the future for companies to run more efficiently and effectively by taking advantage of these great choices in a very competitive, global marketplace.

Planning the future of your strategic apps direction is no time for platform or methodology zealotry. Having a lot of flexibility can sometimes be confusing, but if harnessed and leveraged correctly, you can take advantage of it successfully and save a lot of money that can hit directly to your bottom line.

Personal Clouds: We Really Have Come Full Circle

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In early 2012 I wrote a blog entitled, Mainframe, Distributed, Personal, Cloud – Back to Where We Started? My hypothesis was how we have come full circle – mainframe back to “mainframe-like” in order to access the applications we somehow cannot live without.  Except now these apps reside in a “cloud” somewhere in a massive server farm instead of on-premise and they’re at our beck and call anytime, anywhere. The the obvious benefit to the cloud is, well, obvious: your data is off-premise, sitting on someone else’s iron somewhere, but is accessible using standard IP protocols and is easily, instantly accessible.

Recently, I noticed an interesting twist on this whole thing. I saw a commercial a few nights ago about  the advantages of having your own PERSONAL cloud.  Hmmm, imagine this: having a piece of hardware which enables you to have your own personal information with you where no one else can access it.  Is it me, or does this sound like a faster personal computing device with more storage than we have on-premise?

Here is one vendor announcement.

New Transporter Sync Delivers the Convenience of Dropbox for All Your Data, With Total Privacy And No Monthly Fees

What makes Transporter, old and new, stand out is an emphasis on privacy, a word that’s become all the rage in an increasingly wary consumer market.  All of your data is saved locally, and by circumventing the need for a public cloud, the company claims that your precious files are as safe as houses.

Pretty cool stuff! Don’t get me wrong, storage and sync technology is truly amazing and I admit it’s tough to get through the day without it.  I’m beginning to think my January 2012 blog post was pretty accurate.  We are now moving into the brave new world of personal computing — this time, with privatized cloud storage that bears an eerie resemblance to the storage systems we saw back in the PC’s heyday — just without the always-on, constant-access features. Giant, private hard drives — in the cloud, this time.

Revolution can look an awful lot like iteration.

On Finding the Balance Between ERP and SaaS

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Recently, Naomi Bloom commented via Twitter on our blog post entitled, 7 Ingredients That Make or Break a PeopleSoft Upgrade:

tweet

We felt it deserved a longer reply than Twitter affords, so here is our President’s response:

Your comment implies that everyone is SaaS-ready or willing to ignore the investments they have made over decades.  If you want to post a comment regarding our blog, make it relevant to the market instead of degrading a solution that is embraced in the market and will be for many years to come. Over time, corporations will find the balance between ERP, SaaS or a blended model that fits their business needs.

Flexibility More Important Than Ever in Today’s Technology Environment

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Do these terms sound familiar: SaaS, on-premise, off-shoring, on-shoring, the cloud, Big Data, mobile computing? I’m betting that not only have you heard of them, but you’re inundated with them.

Customers today are flooded with choices on how they should or shouldn’t operate their enterprise systems. And naturally, the IT vendors in the marketplace are all too willing to provide a myriad of choices. Mind you, all these choices are relevant and provide good strategies for the enterprise, however, the key for customers today is flexibility as no customer likes to be treated as a template, a “one size fits all” cog.

Organizations have many similarities and compliance requirements in terms of business processes, i.e. accounting practices such as Sarbanes-Oxley, corporate governance and security and compliance. However, in many other areas, customers have flexibility in how they determine what makes sense for their enterprise. They want to know that they can have choice in how they deploy and implement and use these enterprise solutions.

I believe choice is a good thing. Never do customers choose a single path that works only in a single, linear way. With the choices available today through technology, customers have the availability to pick and choose the best solutions that meet their needs.

The solution wraps to fit the business, not the other way around. We’re long past those days, and good riddance.

Solution providers who offer configurable systems that can can change as business needs change will be highly desirable. In my conversations, the flexibility aspect comes up as critical path time and again. IT vendors that take the best of what technology solutions can offer today and bring them together to help customers run their businesses more efficiently and effectively are the ones that will maintain a happy, satisfied and committed customer base in the 21st century.

So simple. So overlooked when a project plan gets down to bare metal.

Flexibility is key. Insist on it.

Your PC as a Hostage

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As a hostage, it was treated pretty well.  No blindfold.  No tied hands or leg shackles.  Not even a dank dark room devoid of furniture.  In fact, it sat in its usual place – climate controlled, bright lighting and a caring parent by it’s side.  But, it was still a hostage and the ransom was not cheap.

So goes the tale of a laptop I read about recently in the NY Times.  I had never pondered the prospect of a crime taking place in my own home, or the hotel I am at,  or maybe even while I am working. Now I know differently.

If you don’t know what Ransomware is, you are about to.  I have to admit, it was something totally new to me, but it turns out that even crime has made it to the cloud.  Apparently the so-called thieves hijack your PC through a virus and demand payment to release it.  I guess the process of kidnapping the family member of some multi-millionaire seems so old school.  Seriously, why would you risk a lengthy jail time grabbing one person, holding them hostage, negotiating a ransom, and trying to evade the police (for a lifetime) when you can electronically attack millions of people at the same time with such a basic ruse?

In the end, it reminds me of the vulnerabilities of any cloud and the precautions you need to take to protect yourself.  My mother used to tell me that an ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure.  In this case, prevention is a pretty valuable tool.  While 99% of all software programs bring value to our lives, the most valuable may be the tools that prevent the 1% from doing more harm than any of us want to deal with.  And now, apparently a hostage ordeal with your PC is yet another way some faceless thug has devised on the premise of quick cash. Crazy! Is your smartphone next?

ERP Makes a Comeback

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Dan Tynan, writing for CIO.com:

For the past decade, ERP has been the poster child for IT projects that overpromise and underdeliver. It was notorious for painfully complex rollouts that took years to implement, required massive customization, and were often only partially realized. Billions of dollars were spent just trying to get ERP systems to work as advertised.

Now ERP is back — and not just for big enterprises looking to refresh legacy systems. According to surveys by Forrester Research, roughly one out of four SMBs and enterprises plans to either upgrade their existing ERP solutions or implement a new one over the next 12 months.

We see this too. Every day.

What’s different? Isn’t ERP’s sometimes-broken promise giving way to the new promise of SaaS and cloud computing? Not just yet — ERP has been around forever, and in that time companies have learned a great deal. They now fully understand what works, what doesn’t and what mistakes to avoid. They’ve gotten their technology down, integrations minimized and streamlined, and they’ve tied smart business processes to their operations.

In short, they’ve grown up. Learned a thing or two.

Our clients tell us that while they’re looking at cloud apps, they have too much tribal wisdom wrapped up into their existing applications and business processes. Many of our clients have just now put in their first real cut at business intelligence and are using that information to make actual, real-world, daily business decisions.

Their ERP systems may be old, and they may not look as shiny as some of the new cloud platforms offered up by Oracle and other vendors, but they work. And organizations understand them completely. That’s why they aren’t afraid of expanding or upgrading their ERP systems — because finally, they’re delivering the promise that they whispered years ago.

In short, they’re finally humming.

It takes a brave soul to scrap something wholesale that is finally working in favor of something that, in essence, represents a great deal of starting over.

What’s your take? Does Tynan’s article sound like you?

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Looking Forward: Why Enterprise Software Is Changing

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It’s clear that 2011 was the year of the cloud, with many traditional enterprise vendors accepting that the cloud is something they can no longer denigrate or ignore. The ‘cloud’ buzzword has been (sometimes annoyingly) tossed around for upwards of two years, but last year is when it hit critical mass in terms of action, not just marketing and positioning.

Chris Kanaracus, writing for IDG News, highlights a few enterprise trends we’re seeing and hearing in everyday conversations. These give real heft to the notion that the cloud is something everyone should be thinking about and/or planning around. It might not be happening right now, and it might not be top priority for you, but ignore this medium- to long-term direction at your peril.

Here’s one that struck us:

SAP buys SuccessFactors, Oracle buys RightNow, both accept cloud reality

Collectively, SAP and Oracle spent nearly US$5 billion this year to acquire software vendors based in the cloud.

Each sought different types of technologies, with SAP’s purchase of SuccessFactors boosting its human-resources software offerings as well as general cloud know-how, and Oracle’s RightNow buy giving it an array of customer-support capabilities.

But the deals have a common thread, marking a sea change for the traditional on-premise software world, said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. “[It] signals the realization that cloud deployment will be the predominant approach.”

We do a massive amount of Oracle work, and what we’re hearing from Oracle and our customers is very real and perfectly synchonized: the cloud is real, it’s mature, and it’s time to start figuring out how it can help enterprise IT. It’s not just for early adopters or skunkwork labs anymore.

Along similar lines, you can’t ignore perhaps the biggest story out of Oracle, one that’s sure to mold future IT decisions for a long, long time:

Oracle delivers Fusion Applications

It took a while, but Oracle finally managed to deliver the first wave of its next-generation Fusion Applications, and its launch strategy also showed how cloud computing has influenced the enterprise software market.

The company has taken pains to stress that Fusion Applications can be deployed in a highly modular fashion, with no need to remove existing systems, and at a time of customers’ choosing. Users will also be able to run the software both on-premises and in cloud form, although some of the details of the latter remain to be made public.

Oracle’s strategy is partly a nod to reality, since few customers will rush to rip and replace their core ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems with new software, and Oracle also wants to ensure early users are successful. But its message of easier, more flexible consumption for Fusion is straight from the cloud-vendor playbook.

Now more than ever we are being asked by our clients to come in and help them simply assess: put executive/organizational expectations on a piece of paper somewhere (harder than it sounds, trust us), inventory current systems and capabilities, and plan roadmaps. Such basic blocking and tackling, but given the churn and change in what ‘enterprise IT’ will mean in three years, so important. We offer clients two very powerful planning workshops: our BluePrint Project Services and PeopleSoft Architecture Assessment, both of which are popular. Lately, we’ve been doing a lot of our BluePrint workshops, largely because of the reasons discussed a few hundred words ago: things are changing, and smart planning has never been more important.

Questions? Don’t be afraid to drop us a line. Always happy to have conversations.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Mainframe, Distributed, Personal, Cloud: Back to Where We Started?

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My days of selling ‘high tech’ products date back to the mid 80’s.  Since some of our blog readers were only 2 years old then, let me detail what our computing world was like.

CAD/CAM (computer aided design/computer aided manufacturing) was the product.  In order to do a demonstration of our CAD application, we had to reserve mainframe time from home office which was in Denver, Colorado.  The app ran on a PDP 11, quickly upgraded to a VAX 11-730.  WooHoo!  We would pray, yes literally pray, when the customer showed up for the demo in our office that the appropriate time change was taken into consideration as we were in Detroit and that NO ONE in the rest of the company was doing anything on the mainframe.

We were loaded with a whopping 2 MB floppy disk drive.  We proudly demoed how we could rotate a 2D image on a 19 inch monochrome screen.  Notice I didn’t say how long it took, just that we could do it!  We sold some of these monster machines.  It took massive amounts of real estate to house the mainframes that stored the information.

Then, along came Apollo workstations. Remember those? Ever hear of those?

Well, we were absolutely astounded that we could now ‘network’ several workstations together using token-ring technology.  Most of the data had to reside on a Storage Module Disk Drive (a whopping 300 MB) which was the size of a washing machine.  But, the fact that we could send data from one workstation to another was, well, amazing.   Sun eventually took over the market, but Apollo was the trailblazer.

Then came the PC.  (I think I’ve now caught up with most of you and your generations!) You all know how the PC started bulging with applications, data, capabilities – but it was a personal device even though it had huge towers and disk drives under our desks that stored and processed the data.  As the market matured and miniaturization came into full force, the laptop gave us mobility and much more memory capability. Hardware-wise, that’s still the focus today. I don’t know too many people buying desktop towers anymore.

But even further, now we put stuff in the cloud!!  My non-techie friends and I want to know where this cloud is.  Doesn’t it seem like we’ve reverted right back where we started?  Putting data into massive storage devices sitting in real estate…somewhere. This might seem basic to younger students of IT history, but for those of us who lived the transitions, it’s very interesting to see things come full circle (ideologically speaking)!  We used to laugh that someday CAD/CAM and other apps would be running on our wrist watches.  Our prediction wasn’t too far off – they just run on our phones instead.

My point?  I shake my head and laugh at folks who complain about speed of search engines or downloading an app (for a more humorous take, here’s comedian Louis C.K. observing that everything today is amazing and nobody’s happy).  I think back to the days of having to make a reservation days ahead of time in order to do the same thing.  Just imagine what your kids will tell your grandkids about the slow technology they grew up with.

Amazing.

Thus endeth my reverie. Happy new year, everyone!

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SaaS Valuations Sky-High — And Staying That Way

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Barb Darrow, GigaOm:

Wolf’s numbers show that a select group of SaaS companies saw their values grow 313 percent from January 2009 to October 2011, compared to 154 percent growth for other software companies over the same period.

No wonder Oracle shelled out $1.5 billion for RightNow Technologies and Salesforce.com keeps snapping up smaller SaaS players every month.

“With Saas, the more vertical the better,” Wolf said in interview. SaaS companies offering financial services, healthcare services or employee benefits outsourcing services, are all hot now, he added.

So who’ll be buying? The usual suspects: IBM, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft.

Increased valuation begets consolidation, and SaaS is where all the buying is going to be happening. That much is clear. But this bubble, as it were, seems awfully vulnerable to macroeconomic factors and externalities. And as legacy software companies acquire SaaS players to broaden/deepen their portfolios, eventually valuations will get pretty muddy.

Something to watch.

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MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

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