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                                    Tuesday, March 24, 2015

                                    With Manufacturing ERP, the Best UI is No UI

                                    Among industry analysts, there is much talk these days about smart devices. The story is that information technology is being embedded in a host of products, from your household thermostat to your wristwatch to your toothbrush. These smart devices can be connected to each other and to cloud-based systems, resulting in an Internet of Things (IoT) that enables a whole host of new products and services. They also throw off enormous quantities of data—big data—that can be analyzed for insights and predictions and further leveraged for information-based services.

                                    All this is new and exciting. But there’s one industry where smart devices are very old news: manufacturing.

                                    Yet, for the most part, today’s ERP systems do not leverage those smart devices on the factory floor. In the typical factory, the intelligence of the factory equipment is used almost exclusively by manufacturing engineers, process engineers, and quality assurance professionals to control production. But when it comes to recording transactions for production control, inventory, or accounting, they are often performed by human operators hand-entering the data.

                                    Read the rest of this post on the Strativa blog: With Manufacturing ERP, the Best UI is No UI→

                                    Friday, March 20, 2015

                                    Beyond Business Systems to Business Transformation

                                    Over the past several years, we’ve seen a subtle shift in our consulting work at Strativa. Years ago, clients would ask us to facilitate an ERP or CRM vendor selection, a business process improvement project, or various types of IT assessments. Our consultants still do those types of projects, of course.

                                    But today, increasingly, clients are asking us to help them in a more holistic way. Increasingly, they are not just looking for a new system or for business process improvement. They are looking to see how new technologies can enable new business models, how they should rethink their whole applications portfolio to support changes in their businesses, and how they should redesign or simplify business processes to take advantage of new technologies.
                                    Enterprise Software Vendors Need a Broader Focus

                                    I attend a number of vendor conferences and analyst briefings every year. My goal in attending these events is primarily to keep up on the latest capabilities of each vendor, so that we can best qualify them for short listing for our clients. As much as vendors like to talk about business transformation, most of what I see at vendor events is more narrowly focused on features/functions of vendor products. The best try to inspire their customers about the vendor’s product road map. The worst are just sales events, with networking opportunities and parties thrown in.

                                    So, when I planned my attendance at Microsoft’s annual Convergence conference this week, I was expecting more of the same. But after the first keynote, something felt different.

                                    Read the rest of this post on the Strativa website: Beyond Business Systems to Business Transformation

                                    Sunday, March 15, 2015

                                    Where in the World? At the IT Financial Management Conference!


                                    If you are an IT executive or responsible for an IT budget, you should consider attending the IT Financial Management association conference this year, April 13-17, in Pittsburgh.

                                    For my research firm, Computer Economics, this conference is right up our alley. So, John Longwell and I will both be giving presentations at the conference this year. John, our VP of Research, will be speaking on Long Term IT Trends and What They Mean for Your Organization.  Here's the abstract:
                                    Long-term economic and technology trends are creating new challenges for IT financial management. These trends include the declining cost of hardware, the shift in the spending mix to software and ongoing support, the use of contingency workers, the outsourcing of IT services, the impact of cloud computing, and the increase in IT spending outside the IT budget. Based on over 25 years of research, this presentation will outline the impact of these long term trends and provide practical recommendations to take advantage of them.
                                    My presentation will be on Best Practices for Benchmarking Your IT Budget. Here's the abstract:
                                    Benchmarking is a popular way for IT organizations to justify their IT budgets and focus their efforts for continuous improvement. But CIOs are often unhappy with or question the validity of the results. Based on benchmarking exercises with clients over the past decade, this session will outline three complementary approaches to benchmarking. Best practices will be described for defining peer groups, selecting key metrics, understanding variations by industry and organization size, analyzing gaps, and translating findings into actions.
                                    Registration details are on the ITFMA website. 

                                    Related Links

                                    Computer Economics IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks

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