In the past, the ERP midmarket customer tended to have to wait their turn — sometimes a long turn — in order to reap the key ERP benefits of technology. Previously, large businesses had the money and the people-power to transform advances pretty quickly; they could make investments where needed, while midmarket customers waited until ERP technologies became more widely available and thus affordable. Today’s quick changes to technology development and agile implementations have upended the status quo; now midmarket companies can grab tech and IT changes that benefit them soon after they’re available.
That’s good for business because it helps midmarket companies grow when they need to scale up their employee headcount or production capacity. However, this sometimes results in doing without upgraded technology to save costs. With a renewed focus on the midmarket, ERP providers need to scale their systems to accommodate the midtier budgets. Growth and evolution are both the cause and effect of an ERP implementation. Companies grow and need new systems and licenses. New systems provide the ability to scale and move to the next stage of the growth lifecycle.
This also means that technology companies would be remiss if they avoided marketing and scaling their offerings to midmarket firms; they’re missing a pretty lucrative set of potential customers. We remember an instance, years ago, of walking up to SAP at a trade show and as soon as they found out we were a mid-market company, they summarily dismissed us. Today, that just wouldn’t happen as the large tier ERP cannot ignore smaller customers.
Significant ERP advantages that the midmarket seek include improved reporting and forecasting, legal and regulatory compliance, and most importantly, improved customer relationships. Besides reduced costs, technology vendors need to focus on advancing the value they bring to the midmarket clientele and continue to align with important improvements that their software tools bring to a midmarket customer.
How does all this play together to benefit midmarket companies with ERP software? This graphic lays out the current key ERP benefits for the mid-tier firm.
Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software offers manufacturing management built for the cloud, which includes inventory management, production, purchasing, MRP and cutting edge supply chain collaboration through Force.com, salesforce.com’s enterprise cloud computing platform. Kenandy offers manufacturers a versatile global system, which is both mobile and scalable. Kenandy focuses on providing a system that can be easily and quickly implemented.
One of Kenandy’s key features is that it is always up-to-date, which eliminates the pressure of expensive upgrades. Another advantage to using Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software is that there is no additional software or hardware to purchase. Kenandy offers a lean and agile solution for small to midsized manufacturers that can be implemented within weeks. Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software is a secure and on-demand application that is easily customizable to meet the needs of several manufacturing segments – apparel, electronics, industrial machinery and more, as well as several modes – discrete, MTO, mixed mode and light assembly.
Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software provides a complete system which focuses on the commonalities of most manufacturing features. Organization can have a simplistic, yet powerful solution that can easily be extended by leveraging the additional features through Force.com. There is no need for after-hours batch jobs, as MRP can be run at any time. Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software is built on a data model that is fully integrated. Imagine entering POs, reviewing work orders, and updating BOMs, all quickly and easily from a single screen.
Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software is built natively on Force.com, which allows it to be easily integrated with an Organization’s existing shop floor or associated accounting applications. Kenandy’s mobility is unrivaled, as it supports accessibility from iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android. Imagine on-the-go approvals, stock room kitting and more!
Built on salesforce.com’s highly evolved cloud computing platform, Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software offers a secure and scalable application that will pave the path for innovative manufacturers.
Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software Video
Here is Kenandy’s introduction at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce Event last November:
Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software Features
Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software focuses on five distinct features: Inventory Management, Engineering, Purchasing, Production, and Requirements Planning.
Kenandy provides an overview of that gives manufacturers complete control and tracking of their resources. This unique overview includes the maintenance of sub-inventories that specifically support distributed operations, and visibility of upstream and downstream inventory. The lean yet powerful software gives a single screen that allows direct access to a holistic view of any item, which includes inventory locations, open purchase orders and work orders, shortages, MRP plan requisitions, assemblies, order forecasts, recent transactions, manufacturing cross-references, and cycle counts. Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software can then add or maintain the item master, add and maintain inventory locations, track the movement of items and assemblies, monitor inventory status, track lot, serial, and batch numbers, and manage nettable items. Kenandy makes inventory management simple and accessible at your fingertips.
Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software provides an effective method of managing product designs, production information, product change orders for Bills of Materials, engineering changes, work orders, and shop floor routing. Assemblies can be managed from one screen, which allows for quick access to design documents and ECOs. Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software makes it possible to cover the lifespan of entire product, from design through production.
Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software provides rich functionality in managing the purchase of inventory, as well as asset and expensable purchases. Kenandy completely integrates with your financial system, making it a simple and single point of PO entry and approval. A simple, integrated screen provides access
purchase orders, line items, and approval information, making the experience easy, yet efficient. MRP can also drive purchasing, and Kenandy can streamline this process through your enterprise.
Kenandy makes it important point to streamline your enterprise through a lean operation. Kenandy allows for a simple and easy method to move work orders into work-in-progress with complete control and tracking. Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software is offered on a multitude of mobile devices, including iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android, which always puts you in control.
Kenandy alleviates the tedious after-hours batch processing of ERP systems, which is prone to failure. Kenandy provides an agile and lean system that rethinks MRP processing, and takes advantage of on-demand availability of larger memory and disk storage. Kenandy MRP is significantly faster and efficient, providing more opportunities for you. Kenandy MRP opens up the possibilities for you by providing simulators. With Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software, never again take a late-night call to recover from a failed batch job or miss a critical planning window.
Getting Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software Pricing and More Information
If you would like more information on the Kenandy Manufacturing Cloud Software, please select one of the two options below:
We ran across this article today on how SAP is one of several vendors who you can port to the cloud. It is interesting in that the article points out that while SAP does not need to run in the cloud, you can run utilities to offload the heavy processing of SAP to SAAS providers. One would assume that that would be the like so Amazon Web Services or similar.
SAP itself is definitely not a cloud application, but many might have you believe it is. This is common in many ERP solutions where they say that it can run “in the cloud” and they rely on an old ASP model where they are hosting the solution for you. To you it is “in the cloud” but in reality it is just at a server somewhere accessed via the internet.
True cloud computing, such as Netsuite or Salesforce means multi-tenant architecture, a global content delivery network and distributed computing power. So when you are looking at ERP in the cloud, be sure to find out the true structure of the providers’ cloud.
As the name suggests one of the key factors of 'Enterprise Cloud' is that it's intended for the enterprise market, in particular the enterprise applications that they use such as SAP, Oracle and JD Edwards amongst others.
An interesting discussion on ERP social media was raised on a webinar the other day. The topic of the discussion was how companies are building out their knowledge bases for their constituent communities. Specifically, how do you share captured knowledge to people external to an organization?
This lead to a discussion of the methods of communication that people use now. These methods, as you know, are typically through portals, email, and more-and-more are focusing on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Most 18-year-olds today do not use the phone. Rather the prefer to only use text or Instant Message (IM) as their way of communicating. Customer service and help desks need to accomidate these new technologies. ERP and CRM tools needs to evolve to support the move towards social media as a communication channel. There is suddenly a wave to move towards a socialization of business communication, as well as business to consumer messaging.
ERP Social Media is happening now
There are now cases where entire companies are losing their email system in support of a social media style of communication. It is instant, open, secure, and adds value beyond traditional email. Can you imagine email being called a legacy application? Well it is becoming one.
Software such as Salesforce.com (a cloud based CRM) is now focusing heavily in social media as the conduit for business communications. Their Chatter tool is a secure, internally facing, twitter-like application that provides instant user communication and notification on key business events from data updates. Users can choose who and what to follow.
Businesses are moving to ERP Social Media tools. Companies such as Bank of America are using twitter as a support desk tool, with twitter feeding their case management solution and replies posted on the case show up as direct messages to the twitter user. This is one example of how public and ERP social media tools are merging together.
With the use of open APIs (interfaces), Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and other types of ERP based applications can be merged with ERP Social Media.
For example, an HR department could use Linkedin as a direct source for their candidate recruitment efforts and pull date directly into their HRMIS solution.
Moving from Legacy to ERP Social Media
With most mainstream ERP software solutions, the source of the data is human data input. EDI, once the method of electronic communications to a Purchasing system are so out of date, yet persistently remain. Eventually we may likely see it evolve to some sort of XML SOAP message initiated by a user perhaps even in the form of a Tweet.
Most output is in the forms of reports or perhaps an email to a user. ERP business systems will need to be udpated to include posting a tweet or a similar ERP Social Media message to notify users of business events.
ERP solutions need to quickly move to this new messaging format. Most traditional ERP systems do not use text messages as a data source, much less even a Twitter post.
This needs to change quickly to support the next generation of students and users. Kids entering college will graduate in four short years. When they enter the workplace, they will find creative ways to make ERP Social Media work for them, with or without the support of the ERP software vendors.
We welcome your comments on this topic as it will soon become a real issue in enterprise business software.
There is an informative article on ERP and Cloud Applications Strategies at SoftwareAdvice.com. In the article, the author discusses the considerations of implementing the Suite of an ERP solution or doing a Best-of-Breed approach where a company would pick and choose the functionality from various vendors. Not so long ago, companies would only pick a suite and stay within its boundaries.
Now, however, companies are finding that moving to a varied vendor set, including a mix of traditional and cloud applications provides some advantages. This brings up some questions: How well does this work? What are some of the considerations you need to look at before making an investment in a cloud app? Let’s take a look at these issues.
Cloud Applications as a Best-of-Breed Approach
The typical scenario for many companies is one of adding a cloud CRM such as Salesforce.com, to their mix of in-house ERP applications. More often than not, Salesforce is acquired by the business users and IT does not even know of its existence until the business users ask for integrations to the back-end systems.
One concern for moving to Cloud Applications is that frequently, IT departments do not “get” cloud computing. In fact, they often see it as a threat. Because the applications are hosted elsewhere, there is little or no overhead required from an IT department. The IT department does need to be involved in Cloud Application selections and implementations so that they understand what will be implemented.
Secondly, modern Cloud Applications such as Salesforce.com do not require traditional programming overhead.
Because it is configuration based, adding a field is as simple as filling out a form. If you find you don’t want that field, remove it. In traditional applications management, you would want to run this field addition in a sandbox, test it thoroughly to make sure it doesn’t break anything. In a cloud application, like Salesforce.com, you simply don’t expose the field to the users until you review it. You do not need to implement a sandbox to change configurable settings.
As pointed out above, IT departments frequently do not get this paradigm. They are used to code-upon-code where small changes make a big deal. In a configuration environment of a cloud application, there is little if any impact when configuration changes occur. Everything lives as metadata. Nothing touches the code.
Because many of the available cloud offerings are configuration driven, they are much faster to get up and running. Due to this, it often make sense to run an agile-like implementation of various releases (or sprints) of various best of breed applications coming on-line at different times. Not everyone chooses to do this, but a two or three-month release cycle of various solutions provides a way to move forward on systems quickly.
Integrating Cloud Applications with non-Cloud Applications
After configuration, integrations need to be defined and typically there are three options. First, you can manually export a csv file from the source system and upload it to the target system. This works for very basic updates. The next option is custom coding to push/pull the data from the APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). The last option is to use a Middleware product such as Pervasive, Informatica, or Boomi.
Traditionally, middleware was a separate application sitting on an on-premise server and it would transact the data between the source and target systems. It would also perform and data transformations that needed to occur to align the fields between the systems.
Now, there is a trend to going to Cloud-based middleware, such as with Informatica-on-demand. Like other cloud solutions, they come with a less expensive price tag and they do not require a full implementation on an on-premise server. Rather, what they do need is a small install of an “Agent” software that allows the cloud app to talk to the in-house solutions.
These middleware cloud applications work well, but they do have some limitations. First, since they are newer than the traditional software, they still have some bugs. Not a lot, but don’t be surprised if you run into one. Next, they have a more limited toolset than the traditional in-house solutions as the programming and scripting tools are not as robust (but they are getting better every day).
Moving forward with Cloud Applications
Using Cloud Applications has many benefits, including financial and technical reasons for approaching the platform. Often Cloud Apps can be charged as an expense monthly rather than being capitalized like large asset purchases. Further, you can buy as much or as little licensing as you need and scale up or down much more readily than a traditional application.
All-in-all, Cloud applications have tremendous benefits to organizations as part of a best-of-bread solution. For a smaller firm, an app like Netsuite may provide a complete solution, but for the larger enterprise, a “pick and choose” solution strategy may be a good way to go.
The big question is how will companies adopt with Cloud ERP? According to Microsoft it will be a 50/50 mix of people using traditional on-premise ERP and those electing to move to the cloud. There are many things to consider if you are selecting a new system. One of the most important decisions you can make is on the platform you will choose. This lays the groundwork for all decisions moving forward.
Cloud Computing is not new. In fact, Salesforce.com pioneered this technology with multi-tenant architecture back in 2000. So with an eleven year history, they have grown to be a powerhouse in the cloud. However, most ERP vendors tried at first to apply an Application Service Provider (ASP) model in the early 2000’s and did not have much luck. Can they reshape themselves as Cloud Computing providers?
What are the differences from and ASP and a Cloud ERP company? Well first off, ASPs worked under the premise that they were simply hosting the software and data in a data center. There was a complete separation of customers due to the fact they each had their own server or set of servers. True cloud computing is more than just a marketing gimick. It is the pooling of resources to provide fast response and a virtual division of data and sessions. The analogy that Salesforce.com has used in the past is multi-tenant, meaning just like an apartment building, you lease an apartment (or a set of resources) that are separate from other renters, but using the same infrastructure.
Unfortunately, many ERP providers are going back to the ASP model and calling it cloud computing. Yes, it is easier for them to get up and running, but in the long run, it is more costly. Each client is now on their own infrastructure and updates have to be managed separately. In a true multi-tenant environment, you can upgrade everyone at the same time.
The client companies who are looking at new ERP solutions need to consider these things and more. We have listed below some of the key benefits and concerns a buyer needs to be aware of when looking at Cloud ERP.
Reduced Costs in workstation expenditures – A net computer would work fine
Easily Expandable – just buy more licenses
Reduced costs of communications for large multi-site companies – possible elimination of site-to-site bandwidth
Costs hit the Profit and Loss statement, not the Balance Sheet – before you had to capitalize the large expenditure of an ERP, now you can expense the license costs.
Disadvantages of Cloud ERP
Financial Data part of the Cloud ERP system – Can you trust your provider?
Integration to other systems may be more difficult
Higher costs of Internet bandwidth
Indirect access to your data – will likely have to use an API rather than direct data access
Full backups will be dependent upon pulling data down from the cloud, thus possibly resulting in less frequent backups
Cloud ERP and the next few years
The future of Cloud ERP is going to be an exciting one. People will be transitioning technologies and as a result, many legacy systems will likely be retired. Software that is running on old platforms will begin to disappear. Only those providers with the most up to date technologies will be able to survive, because Cloud updates happen so fast and so regular. Imagine having pushed updates every quarter that just appear. No more waiting for disks and announcing downtime to your users while you test, load, and then patch updates. The next five years should be very exciting as more and more providers and customers transition to Cloud ERP.
Where does Microsoft Dynamics AX stand in the Microsoft ERP Mix?
Don Fornes, CEO of our partner Software Advice, interviewed the Microsoft ERP Director of Marketing, Guy Weismantel, about the latest updates to the Microsoft ERP product line. In this segment he provides some clues to release dates of Microsoft products and their fit to the market place.
Providing some interesting insight into the Microsoft Dynamics product line, Mr. Weismantel discusses the release plan for the various MS Dynamics products. Interestingly enough, he talks about how they go to market with the different products based on geography and customer buying behaviors. In the video, he talks about the following:
Dynamics AX and its niche for high end, multi-channel, multi-country/language strengths
Dynamics GP and how they play to its strengths (and even mentions a few weaknesses)
Dynamics NV which is a highly customizable solution for vertical markets
Dynamics SL which provides a good fit for project accounting clients
This is the fourth in a series of 7 videos that we will be posting.
Is Microsoft ERP Dynamics AX the Favorite Child?
Getting More Microsoft ERP Information
If you are interested in exploring Microsoft ERP for your company, please select one of the two links below:
ERP Channel Partners – Can they Survive the Cloud?
Don Fornes, CEO of our partner Software Advice, interviewed Microsoft’s Director of ERP Marketing, Guy Weismantel, about the latest updates to the Microsoft Dynamics ERP product line. The topic of discussion turned to ERP Channel Partners and how the cloud computing era will affect them.
Mr. Weismantel talks about how Microsoft ERP Channel Partners can adjust to the new marketplace where there is now hardware or software to install or maintain. Cloud computing brings a new way of doing business. Traditional resellers and implementors make money on both the licenses of the software, the hardware provided, and the service to install and configure the systems. But additionally, they should be making money from the value added services such as crafting the best solution for the client and providing an upsell opportunity. This is the area that will need to expand for these ERP Channel Partners to survive.
This is the third in a series of 7 videos that we will be posting.
How Can ERP Channel Partners Survive in the Cloud Era?
Getting More Microsoft Dynamics Information
If you are interested in exploring Microsoft AX 2012 for your company, please select one of the two links below: