Friday, September 12, 2008

SAP Jobs

Did you know that SAP jobs are in high demand nowadays?

If you look at online job sites, you will see that the rise in SAP jobs is exponential and that the more SAP jobs are opening up, the lesser the job pool can meet the demands.

Many IT professionals from other disciplines such as web development and network management and administration are now trying to switch to SAP jobs.

But the biggest usual problems that these IT people from other disciplines have is how to break into SAP jobs.

Unlike other IT skills like PHP or Java which can be learned by downloading stuff and reading tutorials on the internet, SAP jobs can hardly be done through self training. I guess this is because you can not just easily download SAP proprietary software. And if you intend to the train, you must deal with sky high cost of training.

The key here is that it is hard to get a head start into a SAP job. If you have the money, then an education on SAP, even if it is very expensive, is a sure investment with good returns. Or you may look hard into companies who accept entry level SAP professionals and offer training. Just be ready for a bond.

Good luck!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What is Project Life Cycle management?

Product lifecycle management (PLM) is a process very common business which refers to managing a company's entire product lifestyle. This includes processes starting with conception to design to manufacture until service and disposal. It is not just a business component but also one of the cornerstones of a business organization's IT structure and in fact a substantial component of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). All companies, to be competitive and efficient, need to have a mechanism in effectively managing all communications and information relating to their customers as implemented through a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Supply Chain Management (CRM) systems which are two or the resources with the Enterprise Resource Planning.
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) describes products mainly from a business and engineering perspective. In the business perspective, it is focused on the life of a product in relation to cost and sales measure.
Although PLM implementations may vary, there are three primary areas of concern in the implementation. These areas are Product and Portfolio Management (PPM), Product Design (CAx), Manufacturing Planning (MPM) and Product Data Management (PDM)
The creation and central management of all company products along with the technology employed in access product knowledge and information is the heart of a PLM implementation. In fact, such tools as Computer-aided design (CAD), Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and Product Data Management (PDM) emerged from PLM as a discipline. CAD, CAM and PDM can also be considered as integration of a PLM implementation.
Some features involved in an IT PLM implementation include Storage and retrieval of product information; Handling of business process flows which subsequently include change management and revision control; Product structure modeling and management including product configurations, bills of materials, product variations and product versioning; Project tracking; and Resource planning
When efficiently implemented, a Product lifecycle management many bring tremendous benefits like improved quality of products, reduced costs in prototyping, having a robust framework for optimization of products, savings through re-use of original data, reduced waste products, savings through the complete integration of engineering workflow and reduced time to marketing of products.
Today's companies find investment in ERP which commonly has PLM integrated a very rewarding move with tremendous Return of investment beneifts. It is estimated that ERPspecifically PLM related services spending can be valued at around $15 billion every year.
Various software vendors and developers offer different solutions for PLM. Some of the biggest ERP providers, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP have developed and are selling a wide array of tools tailor made for PLM. These top of the line PLM solutions may include features like supply deep integration with CAD tools.
SAP gets $11B from PLM, SSA Global while Oracle Corporation and Autodesk gets $1.5B but this where both companies' main revenue come from. Other big names in the PLM arena are IBM with $88.9B and EDS with $19.8B.
Coming up in tomorrow's blog, we will try to dissect Oracle E-Business suite whose PLM is also making it waves among business companies. We will also try to dissect other PLM implementations from other vendors.

SAP xApps

Business organizations come in many shapes and forms. Some business organizations are so diversified that products and services offered can make one wonder what niche a company is trying to make.

Of course there are many business organizations who are focused on specific industries. For instance, a Nike is company with a Nice in sports shoes and apparel but they have built a niche in this area that they are recognized as a global brand.

The global enterprise resource planning (ERP) software maker, SAP, has recognized this fact.

SAP has developed what is known as Collaborative Cross-Applications, or xApps, xApps is a term for a collection of products from SAP and a range of software applications where are targeted to every specific industries. xApps, compared to full blown ERP systems, have typically smaller footprints.
Some of the xApps from SAP include the following:
SAP xApp Cost and Quotation Management (SAP xCQM) – this software product is used for allowing disparate function of sourcing, design and costing to be aligned so that wise and profitable decision making can be achieved by the company.
SAP xApp Integrated Exploration and Production (SAP xIEP) – This enterprise wide operating environment management application is designed and deployed in order to optimize a company's xploration and production (E&P) life cycle.
SAP xApp Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP xMII) – this xApp can connect manufacturing with the business processes of the enterprise. Likewise, it can provide information in order for the business organization to improve its performance.
SAP xApp Product Definition (SAP xPD) – this xApp helps in translating ideas into innovative, attractive and successful products.
SAP xApp Resource and Portfolio Management (SAP xRPM) – this xApp is geared towards helping a business organization improve its portfolio performance and aligning it with the organizational objectives. This objectives include development of new products and services across the enterprise.
Companies are going to the internet where potential customer is very vast and even unlimited. Together with web services, SAP xApps applications can be work together to bring efficient delivery of products and services in the internet. SAP Composite Application Framework within the SAP NetWeaver platform defined the functions and features of xApps. This said framework guides xApps methodologies, tools and run time environments. Developers can easily make composite applications with graphical user interfaces so that end users with limited IT skills can easy make business operations.

The development of xApps are relatively new but the use is fast becoming popular especially among small to medium sized businesse and xApps are not tightly integrated with SAP's common platforms such as NetWeaver so SMBs can deploy xApps without investing on expensive SAP's full blown ERPs.
Starting tomorrow, I will blog about different SAP xApps. I will start bloggin about SAP xApp Resource and Portfolio Management (SAP xRPM) and then individually blog about the rest.
For more details about xApps, visit the SAP website at They have new innovative products and are still developing for. The aptly describe their xApps as " Applications That Keep Pace with Business Innovation".

SMBs and ROI in ERP

In the not so distant past, enterprise resource planning applications vendors were misconstrued to have ignored the small to medium business enterprises as a potential market for their ERPs. But now, these companies have known better and have starting to recognize the vast potential for sales from the SMBs.

But despite the ERP vendors development of customized ERP for SMBs as manifested by SAP's A1s, Micrsoft's multitenant CRM and Oracle's JD Edwards Enterprise One, many SMBs are still hesitant to get the last ERP wares for them due to prohibitive costs. Most of the vendors ERPs could reach to six figures in price.

Well, in businesses, the price of any investment does not really matter as long as the company can afford and the return of investment (ROI) is clear. In the case of ERP, since there plenty of vendors and the prices are sky high, the decision makers of the company should evaluate the investment potential by making a comparison of the magnitude and timing of expected gains against the investment cost.

Of course, everybody, and not just the business people, knows that technology has become an indispensable commodity in business. Investment and ROI are always tied together almost as if one cannot exists without the other (ROI could be zero). So if one know how to invest means that one has already calculated the ROI.

In considering the ERP, it is important to know the upfront cost of software as different vendors have different pricing structure. Some ERP vendors offer complete package will all modules and the pricing is based on the number of concurrent users. Some vendors would allow you to specify which modules you want to buy and how many concurrent users can use.

If you have 10 employees, you do not want to buy a prepackaged ERP for 20 concurrent users otherwise your ROI would not be good unless you are sure that your company will grow to more than 20 employers within the next few months. You will want to buy and ERP for a minimal number of concurrent users and then upgrade when need arises. But then again, your situation maybe different so it's really up to you.

The same goes for the concept of modularity. If you buy a prepackaged ERP and your company may only use 35 percent of all the functionalities, then ROI may not be optimized. You should try to scrutinize: Is buying an ERP 40 percent cheaper if I only buy 40 percent of the package's functionalities?

Implementation cost of an ERP refers to the start of implementation to the one going use of the system. A good ERP vendor does not just have smarter sales people but have good technical support as well. Remember that any given period the ERP stops functioning due to problems could mean loss on the business.

ERP is not just a one time process but a continuing one. So it is also important to consider the cost of upgrades. Knowing the goals and objectives of the company as well as proper planning of the ERP implementation will definitely mean good ROI.

SAP Partners with Indians

I have always been a believer in the win-win situation of business outsourcing. I do not mean to offend to citizens coming from wealthier countries who have been complaining about jobs lost from them through outsourcing. What I am trying to say is that from my perspective, outsourcing helps companies save money on expenses by spending a relatively lesser amount on salaries from poor countries while trying to help the latter with their problems on unemployment.

I was elated to learn that he Global IT Services Division of Wipro Limited and SAP AG had announced that there is an expansion of their existing collaboration and this expansion is related to enhancing development and implementation of high end business solutions that SAP is known for. This is research has particular focus on enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA). In the agreement, Winpro will establish a solutions laboratory in Bangalore, India which will exemplify the best practices in the industry, models of innovative service delivery models and the benefits of enterprise SOA.

The Indians are known to excel in information technology around the world so there quality outputs can be expected from this laboratory. As a commitment of SAP to deepen its engagement with India's local engineering talents, it has come up with initiatives.

SAP is implementing a scholarship program which is being coordinated with the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore (IIIT-B) and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) at Pilani in Rajasthan. Screening for this scholarship program is very tough as students undergo a technical entrance exam, interview on soft skills and assessed in their behaviors. As scholars, these students also work at the SAP Labs on part time basis. Once they finish the course, they will be hired by SAP.

The campus of SAP labs will have a 350,000-square-feet facility. This can house up to 2,000 employees.

This will surely be a huge boost on the economy of this vast third world country. I think the world has a way of making things fair. For richer countries like Germany where SAP comes from, many people can easily travel from one country to another so they can get the best jobs they want. But for Indians, many of them get stuck in their country due to prohibitive cost of travel. This project is a way of bringing the best job to the deserving citizens of India.

And for SAP, they can get the same world class IT skills at lesser price. The 6.6 billion SAP has set a target of 100,000 customers base by 2010 around the world. Currently it has 41,000 customers worldwide. The country's client base in the last 12 months has doubled to about 2,000 and is expected to parallel Britain's and France's in the next five years. SAP Labs India will surely be a strategic location of the company's expansion.

With India's big population and high percentage of the people having great IT skills, both parties will surely gain from each other in the years to come.

The internals of ERP

We know that there are hundreds of enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors in the market today. The top vendors SAP and Oracle are constantly innovating their products and trying to outdo each other.

ERP systems are never cheap. Even ERPs targeted for small to medium sized business organizations can reach up to six figures. But there are open source alternatives also to proprietary ERP software applications. Between proprietary and open source, there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

Perhaps, to give you a view on the differences of ERP implementations by vendor would take a whole book. But if we try to break down an ERP's modules which are generally implemented by ERP systems, then this blog will suffice.

Each of these software modules in an ERP is based on the real life undertakings of the area of the organization where they are implemented. They sort of mimic the functional area of the company. Many modules that are not packed with an ERP used to be stand alone software applications like the Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Financials, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Human Resources, Warehouse Management and Decision Support System are now integrated as modules in most of today's ERP implementations
Okay, so here are the major ERP modules:
ERP Financial Module – This module is the core of many ERP implementations. This can be used both for profit and non-profit organizations. This module is used in financial data gathering from different functional departments and then generating of relevant financial reports like general ledger, balance sheets, trial balance and others.
ERP Production Planning Module – This module optimizes the process of utilizing manufacturing capacity, components, parts and sources of materials with the use of historical production data and sales forecast. This module takes all aspects of production – from getting raw material to the final packaging of the product.
ERP Purchasing Module – This module is used in streamlining the process of procuring required raw materials. The software will be used to automate specific purchasing processes such as identification of potential suppliers, negotiating the price with them, awarding of purchase order to the supplier and doing the final billing. This module is closely associated with the inventory control and the production planning modules. In some cases, the purchasing module is integrated supply chain management software.
ERP Inventory Control Module – This module facilitates the maintenance of the appropriate level of products stocks and numbers in the warehouse. This module is used to identify inventory requirements, set targets, provide replenishment techniques, reconcile inventory balances, monitor usage of items and of course report the status of the inventory.
ERP Sales Module – This module take care of implementing functions related so sales like order placement, order scheduling, invoicing and shipping. This module is often closely linked the e-commerce website of the business organization.
ERP Market in Module – This module takes care of lead generation support, direct mailing campaign, advertising and other activities related to promoting the company's products or services.
ERP HR Module – This module is for streamlining the management the company's human capital and human resources.
So now that you know the modules, you now have some guide in acquiring an ERP system. I hope that you can get your money's worth. Examine your ERP carefully!

So many ERP vendors, which one suits my needs?

Enterprise Resource Planning sounds fancy and complicated. Well, fact is, it is really fancy and complicated, not to mention intimidating to some degree.

Imagine doing work with integrating all the processes of a company in one unified system with ERP. This is a daunting task of course. In a common ERP environment, the system data make processed by multiple components of computer hardware and software. And above all that, former stand alone applications such as Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Financials, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Human Resources, Warehouse Management and Decision Support System are now integrated as modules in most of today's ERP implementations.

And for a company, the plan to acquire an ERP system does not end in translating business rules into one integrated and automated system. The price can give a company a serious thought. Most of today's ERP can reach more than six figures in price. Today's top ERP vendors, SAP, Oracle and Microsoft command ERP prices at such high prices although investing in an ERP really has long term benefits.

Before jumping into purchasing an ERP system from the vendor or you choice (there are many vendors other than SAP, Oracle and Microsoft; in fact there are less priced open source ERP system), it is important to note that different companies install ERP software in different processes. Knowing these implementation approaches may help you save money on your decision on how to implement an ERP system.

The first approach is laying out a grand plan for the ERP system. This means that all modules of an ERP system is installed across the company all at once. This approach was intended to reduce cost of integration but has been outdated already. Many companies today have experienced doing this approach in the past at such high failure rate in implementation.

The second approach is the modular implementation. This is done by installing ERP modules one at a time. For example, one functional department first is the limit of the scope of ERP implementation. Then another department with another module later. This approach is best for a company that has departments which do not share many common processes with other department or company divisions. This is the most commonly used implementation approach today where each department or business unit has its own instance of databases and ERP. This implementation approach reduces installation risks.

The last method is the process oriented ERP implementation. This approach is focused on initial customization of ERP functionality which is closely related to the intended business process. Then the implementation may of course grow to full blown ERP system depending on the trend of the business. Many small to medium size companies use this approach as they have less complex business processes internally and they have a big potential for growth.

So there you have it, if you are considering acquiring an ERP system, you know where you needs fit and you have the three approaches to choose from.

The Future Is Now

I was digging old files from last year and trying to sort out which ones to delete to free my laptop from stale files. I came across an old article about ERP written about 2 years ago today. The article tacked about the future of ERP systems.

The articles stated that there are two emerging technologies that cannot be ignored in the field of ERP as these technologies will surely make a major presence in ERP. The two technologies were Web services and XML (extensible markup language).

Of course today, anybody in the IT world who has not heard of web services and XML must be living under some kind of rock or may just be some imposter trying to claim to be an IT guy.

Before XML, there was absolutely no way that any technology could make use of the full potential of business collaboration. But now XML is everywhere, not just in ERP. XML has become so ubiquitous and useful in every way that it has become the standard for exchanging data and documents of different formats between two disparate systems. XML, EDI (electronic data interchange linking systems with different data formats) has become cost effective and easily accessible to all, thanks to XML and the internet.

In the not so distant internet history, EDI was for the elite few. It was only open to business organizations that had the money to implement a private network and the clout to influence suppliers and customers to use the network. But then again, thanks t the internet it has done away with the need for private networks, is prohibitive to smaller companies, and XML has added its benefit to the masses by being the vehicle for standardization with the way servers talk about data to each other.
Todays's ERP implementation can create XML schemas and can just important and export data in XML documents. This makes sharing of data within and beyond the enterprise very easy to do. The more data is being shared with business partners, the more important it is to have a robust ERP to manage the enterprise.
In the past, probably when the article was written, there was no heavy or constant mention of the term web service. But today, web services, those small software applications which can be accessed from within business applications, are almost as widely used as stand alones. Today, there are so many data centric web services used in ERPs and they provide information that frequently change such as currency exchange rates and tax codes.
In addition to XML, McKie identifies Web services—smaller software applications that are accessed from within business applications—as the other key technology for the future. In the ERP world, there are lots of data-centric Web services, which typically provide information that changes fairly frequently, such as exchange rates and tax codes.
Companies who want to go into e-Commerce and want a portal on the web should really consider having an ERP to closely collaborate with web resources.

How to invest for SRP when you are an SMB

Many small and midsize business (SMB) companies are constantly challenged with how to maintain customer satisfaction and support an anticipated growth rate and evolving the business into doing new and innovative ways of transactions. Having to be profitable in today's business environment requires a good information system which can speed up innovation, improve customer communication and attain global visibility.

Investing in an enterprise resource management (ERP) system can be very expensive. In fact even most ERPs designed for small to medium sized business can still reach six figure prices. In a study a few years ago, it was found out that only about 27 percent of small companies (less than 500 employees) use ERP. This survey was done with over 500 companies. Other data gathered showed that 57 percent of large companies or those with 500 to 2500 employees have ERP systems. Of the large companies or those with more than 2500 employees, 70 percent have operational ERP systems.

It will not be surprising to see in the next few months that small and medium sized businesses will all scamper to get ERP systems installed in their companies since today's business environments have leaned towards relying heavily on automating systems like ERP. Also ERP vendors, especially the giants SAP, Oracle and Microsoft, have reached out to SMBs by developing less expensive ERP systems tailored to SMB needs.

But still, SMBs need to consider these investment decisions before finally making the move to implement ERP, regardless of whether they get their ERP from SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and other smaller vendors:

• Productivity – can the company get the most out of the choice of ERP from a particular vendor?

• Connectivity – how does the ERP implementation work collaboratively with the company's key customers and suppliers?

• Business Insights – Does the ERP improve the speed and quality of the company's decision making?

• Total Cost of Ownership – How will the ERP reduce the cost of owning and operating the IT systems in the business organization?

Implementing an ERP needs a regular group of IT professionals who will monitor the operations of the system. ERP is closely linked with a data warehouse of maybe even integrated with a warehouse in one system. So when investing in an ERP, it is not just the software that needs expense in licensing but the staff to maintain the system as well.

Training for ERP management for staff can also be quite expensive. There are relatively few IT professionals specializing in SAP because of the high cost of training. Also, technical support for proprietary software may in some cases be a problem with some vendor. So a company better be ready to have a third party consultant should problems arise.

Despite all these problems, investing in ERP has long term benefits. I know that all businesses will be heading towards a unified IT system for efficient flow of business and to take advantage of the broken geographical boundaries because of the internet. And ERP can do this unification.

SAP A1S Online Apps Launches in September

Anybody who has work with SAP from scratch would agree that installing and maintaining SAP ERP is not an easy task. In fact, it is intimidating especially for newbies who do not have a very stable foundation in relational databases.
Many services are offering adult education for SAP training and since they know how intimidating learning SAP is, they have integrated fun and in game in the learning curriculum.
But for many who want to learn at their own pace and not worry about being overwhelmed by the pressure of coping up with the installation and maintenance of SAP systems, the worry is about to be over – September 19, 2007 – maybe you want to mark your calendars now.
The new SAP's "A1S" SaaS-style offering which will be launched on September 19, 2007 will surely mark a milestone in ERP history as SAP giant will make it easy for medium sized business to let some of their staff to try the online ERP application that small to medium sized companies can hardly afford many of their staff to a classroom training. SAP said it hopes to make the small to medium sized business organizations all over the world which have been looking for innovate way to do consuming automation with software. And reaching out to this global market is so easy as this software obviously uses the internet and deploys software as an online service.
A1S has been intended by SAP to cut the cost of cost of ownership for small and mid-sized companies by as much as 90 percent. By doing this, SAP is putting a player which will have a critical part in helping the company to attain its goals which is to grow its customer base to 100,000 from the current 39,000. SAP is also targeting to expand is addressable market to $70 billion by 2010 from today's $30 billion.
This project has been at works for the past couple of months and was codenamed "Project Vienna". This represent the company's third thrust at the midrange market. By SAP's definition, midmarket refer to a company with fewer than 2,500 employees and less than 500 million euros in annual revenues.
In the next few months, there will surely be lots of talks, discussions, forums and articles on SAP's Netweaver middleware and whole the whole suite of stacked software has been re-jiggered with a services oriented architecture. Re-jiggering will make it doable for companies to implement mySAP without having to spend on huge amounts of consulting fees.
There is yet no word up to know whether the A1S products will be supported on the System I platform. Windows has been very popular with SAP's small and medium businesses customers so it will be no wonder when the A1S will soon debut on Windows platforms.

So let us wait for September 19 and when that time comes, there will be no need to stampede because we all have access from the comforts of our chairs.

Open Source ERP is Heaven Sent

My friend's hardware business is growing and he wants a new ERP within this year because his aging ERP could no longer handle the needs.
In an email he sent to me, he said he was frustrated because he felt that ERP companies are not considering mid sized companies like and there not much ERP choices within his budget range.
I mentioned to that there are ERP applications for midmarkets and even software giants have them. For instance, SAP has A1Stargeted to midmarket enterprises, Microsoft will be coming up with Titan multi-tenant ERP and Oracle has several ERP products for mid sized markets with its JD Edwards Enterprise One software.
A couple of days later, he said that even though the ERP for mid sized markets I mentioned to him were relatively cheaper, they still come with a six figure price.
Well, how could I not have recommended open source to him? It was my friend who found open source ERP. With open source ERP, he said his company could save a lot of money from licensing cost alone. And that is not even considering other cost which would go into customization. With the money saved, the company could only focused on customizing open source ERP to better fit the needs.
Open Source gives more flexibility, not just with ERP but with other open source applications as well. And for businesses, flexibility means money.
With regards to ERP choice, control is one of the biggest considerations, almost the same degree to cost.
Technical support is one area which attracted open source ERP users. With propriety ERP, there could be a very few select technical support. SAP for example is very expensive in training and there are very few professional who have SAP skills. In the case of open source, if a company feels unhappy with the service of one ERP vendor, it would be easy to switch to another. Companies are not tied to any proprietary vendor telling them what to do.
IT observers are divided on their conclusion on how fast the companies will adopt open source ERP in the future. Even the longest lived and most established open source ERP cannot yet fare up with the wide usage or proprietary software.
Those who have adopted open source ERP now are mostly smaller companies who take advantage of the monetary savings from the licensing cost.
According to my friend, he read some research which shows that among the companies which are currently using or considering adopting open source in any form, 12 percent are using open source ERP. And in the next 12 month, 14 percent are planning to adopt open source ERP too.

I think for owners and decisions makers of business, it is not really a big question of whether open source ERP will be popular or not. The internet has billions of users who are continually collaborating to make software affordable to all. The possibility that more innovations in open source ERP will from this collaboration of brilliant minds!

When Small Businesses Grow to Mid Markets

A lot of big business started out small. Some of today largest retailers like Amazon and Walmart had started somewhere very small some time ago.

I have not heard of anybody who gets into business and plans to stay the way he started until he dies. Anybody wants to get into business because he or she wants to grow. This is the reason why many career oriented people quite their regular day jobs and get into business because the potential for growth is not hindered by any corporate ladder or bureaucracy.

So now you are in your business and a few months later, you notice that your product distribution or manufacturing is reaching a tipping point. You will begin to see that customer orders cannot keep up with deliveries from suppliers. Your product volume and request can no longer fit into your spreadsheets and suddenly you wake up and your organization has become too big that you can no longer talk to one another.

This means that you business has grown and you need to invest in software applications to keep up with the demands of your growth.

It is time that you need to implement an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. But then when you research about ERP, you are being pointed to exorbitantly priced ERP applications which you think have too much features that you feel like hitting a small nail with a sledge hammer.

The advantage of smaller business nowadays is that business solutions are easy to come by. Today, even the giant ERP vendors like SAP, Microsoft and Oracle, who, for years have been focused on marketing ERP for multinational corporations, are now developing ERP implementations for midmarket enterprises.

SAP easily comes to mind with talking about ERP for big corporations. But they have midmarket solutions as well. A product which has been in the works for months which is codenamed A1S is targeted to midmarket enterprises. SAP is reported to have invested between $414 million and $552 million over eight quarters to do research and development of business solutions for midmarkets.

Microsoft is also coming up with its Titan multitenant CRM, a component of an ERP which is also targeted for midmarkets. A lot of Microsoft's role based ERP applications are bundled with Windows servers.

Not to be left behind, Oracle is planning to strengthen a partnership with IBM to respond to ERP needs of small and medium sized businesses with Oracle's JD Edwards Enterprise One software on IBM platforms.

These ERP solutions for mid-market will surely boost small to medium sized enterprises as they move in transition from activities that take days automated to a few minutes.

It is a good thing to know that these ERP vendors have realized of the mid-market. Multination corporations may be big and have lots of assets but mid-market businesses are a lot more abundant. Taken as a whole, they may even be better market for ERP products compared to multinational companies.

When Google and Salesforce Webbed Together

Webber 1: Google – for those who do not know (is there anybody), Google is the largest search engine on the internet.

Webber 2: – an on-demand Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution vendor headquartered in San Francisco, California with regional headquarters in Dublin, Singapore and Tokyo.

About two months ago, these two companies made one sensation pact. Google, although mostly known as the search engine supreme, is also the largest online advertising agency and has been helping not just big corporations but small businesses as well to market theselves. has also been giving support to the same small businesses in keeping track of sales leads.

With the new partnership, Google will help small enterprises in generating sales leads while Saleforce will take its turn turning these leads into actual customers.

According to the Boss of Saleforce, Marc Benioff, this deal will help his company sell more subscriptions. A Salesforce subscription is a package which costs about $600 a year for five employees in the same business. But for charitable institutions, subscription is free.

And maybe the deal has done a lot more than what Mr. Benioff expected. On August 15, Salesforce in its website at reported that its number of additional customers has been at record high beating consensus estimates in terms of total revenue and earnings per share during the second quarter of 2008 fiscal year.

As shown in their website, Mr. Benioff detailed the addition of customers for the quarter. Two customers have more than 30,000 subscribers; four have 20,000; five have 10,000 and 68 customers have more than 1,000. this translates to 40 percent increase in the number of customers having 1,000 subscribers compared to six months ago.

According to Mr. Benioff, it was actually the company's CRM which made the largest deals but its platform. This year the platform with include the Apex development language is expected to give the company more sales boost.

Salesforce will be competing with industry giants, SAP, Microsoft and Oracle. SAP is reported to release later this year its A1S suit targeted for mid-markets. And Microsoft has announced the pricing for its Titan multitenant CRM. Oracle has acquired a great demand with their Siebel On Demand.

This triumvirate of juggernauts is not only industry leaders in customer relationship management but also of enterprise resource management (ERP). Modern ERPs have included many components what would have formerly been stand alone applications including CRM.

For sure these three giants would give up with top posts without a fight. I do not know how Saleforce will strategize to maintain its high sales in the future in the midst of these competition; but I'm sure its Google big brother will be there go lend a helping hand.

SAP or Oracle?

I know that this question has been raging on for ages. This usually happens when two giant names in an industry have become household names or for this matter, office names. The same reminds of the similar questions like Coke or Pepsi?

As a backgrounder, Oracle is the second largest software supplier in the world and is based in the United States. SAP on the other and is based in Germany and is more focused on business solutions.

By the early 2000, in terms of ERP software, Oracle came only second to ERP. And as the years progressed, each claimed to be supreme over the other in terms of quality of software and the number of clients they are serving.

Even up to now, IT professional are divided on which side they want to take. Some think that Oracle is the supreme ERP provider and the vision and solid track record of CEO Larry Ellison. Others strongly believe that SAP's NetWeaver platform and battled tested ERP is SAP's greatest competitive edge.

Just these recent months, Oracle introduced more development of its Fusion which part service enabled middleware and part applications from PeopleSoft, Edwards & Co., Siebel Systems Inc., Retek Inc. and other Oracle acquisitions.

On the other hand, SAP is on the move to have its entire application suite around the NetWeaver platform service enabled.

One of the things which can give Oracle a boost is its price. Many ERP professionals agree that SAP is far more expensive than Oracle. In fact a study found out that the average three-year total cost of ownership of Oracle is 48% lower compared to SAP.

SAP supported strike back by faulting Oracle for its strategy of expansion by acquiring other companies instead of purely doing internal development.
Both Oracle and SAP have intensified the battle in the small and midsized business markets. Oracle is aggressively marketing its Special Edition products while on the other hand, SAP is also pushing its All-in-One and Business One suite.
I tried to scour the forums and the way I see it, there is almost 50-50 feelings between those who favor Oracle and those who favor SAP. But even though Oracle comes cheaper than SAP, SAP has an edge because it has more consultants and third party developers that can supply many add-in programs which can work together with products of SAP. Even if SAP is more expensive, there are more SAP users than Oracle.
According to an email from one ERP professional "SAP partners are more willing to invest … to get their SAP [All-in-One] solution verticalized compared to an Oracle solution, thus to the end customer; [SAP All-in-One] is essentially a shorter implementation, has a highly knowledgeable partner, and probably a more successful implementation."
I know this competition will go one for a couple more years and this is good. As one tries to outdo the other, there will be more investment in research within the companies and brilliant ideas innovations will come out.

In the end, the real winner is the consumers.

Adult Learning for Enterprise Resource Planning Courses

ERP has is a fairly new technology even if the processes automated by an ERP has existed for many years, the use of the technology is still new.

I read in some article that there is a great need for ERP professionals today and that not too many young, technology-savvy professionals are as much interested into ERP as they are interested in other technologies like systems programming.

So many companies are looking into their existing business staff who may have been with them for quite so time. In short, some senior staff or those who are not the very young once.

It is good to know that a company, Titan Technology Partners has been placing a premium on ERP training for adults. Titan has been a known provider of high quality ERP training to help business with their business activities and turn investments on technology into maximized return of investments.

It is even a more exciting development now that Titan has acquired GBSynergy which will enable Titan to come up with more innovative training courses for ERP training.

Karen Berentsen, the senior vice president of Education Services of Titan, the partnership will boost interest of companies to have their staff for adult learning on ERP.

Titan's ERP training is based on learning theories and at the same time incorporating engaging games and online tools to optimize learning of adults.

Titan understands that the learning behaviors of adults are very different from those of children. The curriculum for the ERP training include subjects that immediate relevance to the jobs of the adult students.
Berenstsen said that key in having games for learning is that games are very human activities which involve interaction. This will relax the atmosphere because ERP can really be intimidating especially for adults who are just learning from scratch. Berentsen also understands that adults are competitive in nature and games can bring out this competitiveness and relate it to the ERP learning scenario.
Any IT professional would agree that ERP is not easy. In fact ERP systems are often very complex and more often than not, many users do not understand that they don’t work in a bubble. The games played in the adult ERP trainings also try make the students understand integration. In real life business situations, there is a direct impact on, say, purchasing and finance and some staff may not understand this.
I am not sure very sure if Titan offers ERP for many vendors. The only name mentioned was Oracle, which is one of the leading developers of business solutions. But whether they also cater to other brands or not, my point is that adult education in ERP education is a good move.
Enterprise resource planning is a technology that has become more indispensable in today's pace of businesses. While it is true that implementing ERP is not only complicated in term of infrastructure, cost of software could be extremely expensive. And the trainings do not come cheap.
But then the return of investments will definitely be long term.