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The Commoditization of ERP Systems: Same Old Song and Dance?

It’s been a long time since ERP systems started becoming too complex, too costly and too risky for implementing organizations. But even though its been roughly ten years since the well-publicized Hershey’s ERP failure and a number of Y2K-related implementation debacles, it often feels as if organizations still aren’t any smarter about ERP implementation now than they were a decade ago. In fact, each of our annual ERP Reports dating back to 2008 reveal the same general message: most projects take longer than expected, cost more than expected and fail to deliver expected business benefits.

The irony is that while Panorama and other firms’ research shows that ERP failure rates are still alarmingly high, the market is changing in ways that suggest that ERP is becoming commoditized. Software as a service (SaaS) ERP software, cloud computing, implementation accelerators, and other tools are constantly emerging, offering the long-awaited allure of simplified ERP initiatives. Hype suggests that these tools will soon make traditional, on-premise ERP systems obsolete, at least as we know them know.

To be sure, there is a clear market trend demonstrating increased acceptance of SaaS ERP and other more modern ERP technologies. For example, according to our 2012 ERP Report, 16-percent of ERP implementations completed in 2011 were SaaS or cloud-based, up from 6-percent in 2010. However, this increased adoption of SaaS and cloud computing has not translated to either lower ERP risk and cost or higher business benefit realization. This begs the question: if ERP software is becoming a commodity, then why are ERP failure rates still just as high as they were 10 years ago?

1. The mid-market is still learning about ERP software. Larger, more stable companies have had 20 years or more to adjust to the complexities and risks of ERP systems. Mid-market companies, on the other hand, are just now working through the stark reality that ERP implementations are a lot harder than they expected. Their business processes need reengineering, their organizations need to change, and their entire physical and organizational infrastructure often needs upgrading, all of which can increase cost and risk. In addition, mid-market companies are typically on more aggressive growth paths, which results in a sort of moving target that strains their enterprise system initiatives.

2. The failed promises of SaaS and cloud ERP systems. While SaaS and cloud ERP systems may be simpler than on-premise ERP from a pure technological perspective, they don’t do much to simplify or mitigate the risk of implementations. Whether you’re leveraging SAP ECC or Salesforce CRM, organizations still need to reengineer their business processes, change roles and responsibilities and train employees on new processes and systems. These implementation activities are the real drivers of implementation time, cost, benefits and risk. As of 2012, ERP vendors still have not found an effective way to automate these more critical, non-technological implementation activities.

3. The urban myth of best-practices and “off the shelf” ERP software. Executives at most organizations we work with love the appeal of industry terms like “best practices,” “vanilla” and “off-the-shelf software,” but those concepts sound better in the boardroom than they do when it comes to operational reality. Even in more mature industries and among larger organizations, companies are constantly evolving to find their niches and competitive advantages, so the mystical concept of software best practices that help a business run more efficiently is misguided at best. While ERP vendors may continue to use these ideas to sell their software, it is important to remember that your organization most likely offers somewhat unique products and services, serves customers differently than the competition and strives for lower supply chain costs than its industry peers. The good news is that these differences are probably why your organization is still in business. The bad news is that what may be best practice or standard configuration for your ERP software may not be what’s truly best for your business.

So if ERP software is not a commodity, then does that mean that your implementation is doomed to fail? Not at all. In fact, just the opposite is true: organizations that focus on business process re-engineering before selecting and implementing ERP systems best suited to automate those processes are much more likely to succeed, while those that don’t are more destined to fail. In addition, successful companies dedicate time and resources to other critical ERP implementation success factors such as organizational change management and dedicated project management.

While ERP software technology may be evolving into more of a commodity, the actual implementations are not. The best way to “commoditize” your implementation to eliminate risk and unpredictability is to leverage proven implementation methodologies and tools that focus on both the business and technical aspects of the implementation. Although it doesn’t receive nearly as much industry hype as cool new technologies, these implementation frameworks are what will ultimately decide whether or not your project is successful.

Learn more about ERP implementation success by joining me for tomorrow’s free webinar, The Straight Story on ERP Implementation Planning.

The Real Reasons to Upgrade Your ERP System

Organizations that use modern ERP systems typically spend millions of dollars per year just to maintain their enterprise software packages. One of the benefits of implementing a modern ERP system is that vendors spend an equal amount (or more) a year on R&D, functionality improvements, and other enhancements that enable customers to benefit from lessons learned and the technology development from other companies. ERP vendors such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics invest heavily in constant improvements to their solutions. In theory, these ERP upgrades should enable the customers of ERP vendors to get more out of their enterprise software solutions.

The downside of upgrades, on the other hand, is that ERP vendors are constantly changing and improving the software, often making it more difficult for customers and end users to keep up with the various iterations of the solution. For this reason, companies can grow tired of the changes, stop upgrading and eventually opt out of annual maintenance and support as a result. However, this type of band-aid approach can be more detrimental than the change fatigue organizations often go through during the never-ending upgrade cycle.

In other words, upgrading your ERP system is a double-edged sword: on the one hand, organizations want to keep up with technology improvements while, on the other, they don’t want to constantly change their operations to adapt to functionality. To add insult to injury, most organizations don’t upgrade because it delivers any sort of tangible ROI. Instead, they do it because they have to and often have no other choice if they want to continue to have annual maintenance and support. Upgrades aren’t necessarily a good or bad idea in general, but a company should upgrade only if it can point to three key reasons for doing so:

1. The business operations are going to benefit from the ERP system upgrade. Just as companies shouldn’t upgrade because they feel as though they “have to” implement new technology, software upgrades should never happen simply for the sake of technology. Instead, there should be a clear benefit for doing so, and one that outweighs the costs. In other words, there should be a strong return on investment for the upgrade, along with a clear benefits realization plan for attaining those benefits. Unless you are using a SaaS ERP system, you should ensure that you make your upgrade decision based on the potential impact to your business operations.

2. The organization can effectively digest the upgrade. When most organizations complete an ERP implementation, going through the pain and heartburn of an upgrade is typically the last things on the minds of CIOs, CFOs and other executives. The project team and overall organization is often times burned out from changes involved with the initial implementation, and most organizations don’t have the skills, capacity or stomach to upgrade every several months when new versions of the software are available. For this reason, upgrades should only be completed if there are appropriate resources and capacity to do so. Even with SaaS ERP systems – where physical installations of new software are not required – organizations need time to adjust and adapt to new software features and functionality.

3. There is a clear upgrade project strategy and plan in place.  In order for upgrades to be successful, they need to be properly planned similar to an implementation. In other words, the upgrade needs to have a project plan, organizational change management and training plan, and other resources and focus required to make the initiative successful. Only by having this clear plan in place will organizations be able to succeed in their upgrade projects.

Although Panorama analysts have yet to study the failure rates of new implementations versus upgrades, we have had plenty of clients hire us to clean up their failed upgrade attempts. In addition, it’s important to note that upgrades of major new releases of an ERP system already in use can be nearly as taxing on an organization as a more greenfield implementation. Finally, SaaS systems, with all of their incremental and more frequent enhancements behind the scene, can be confusing and overwhelming for end-users. For these reasons, companies should proceed with upgrades cautiously and only do so if it makes sense to their organizations. Your ERP vendor may threaten to cut off support or sell you on all the great features of an upgraded solution, but just as is the case with implementing new enterprise software, business and organizational needs should determine if and when you upgrade your ERP system.

Click through to find out more about Panorama’s ERP implementation service and PERFECT Path ERP Implementation Methodology. As always, please contact us with questions specific to your organization and its ERP needs.

CIO and CFO Hunger Games: The Risks and Rewards of Rapid ERP Implementations

ERP implementations are a lot like the “Hunger Games” for CIOs, CFOs and other executives tasked with making their ERP projects successful. For those that aren’t familiar with the novel or movie, Hunger Games is predicated on a story where two children from each “district” of a futuristic United States are expected literally to fight to death. The children are selected at random, coached, mentored and dressed for the Hunger Games, but only one remains in the end. The home district of the surviving child is then bathed in riches and attention from the central government, making them the envy of the other districts.

It’s no exaggeration to say the Hunger Games are a lot like ERP implementations. The odds of “survival” – one in 24 – look interestingly similar to the success rates of ERP projects. And while CIOs aren’t battling to a brutal death, most are fighting not to bring their organizations to their knees during or after the implementation. They’re also fighting for their jobs. And anyone who’s ever sorted through a stack of client references can tell you that ERP vendors – like the fictional government of Panem – make no bones about trumpeting their own “winners” as some sort proof that the odds are indeed in each contestant’s favor. In fact, one of the lines repeated throughout the story is “May the odds be ever in your favor” – quite ironic and disturbing given the fact that the odds are completely stacked against them.

CIOs and CFOs are in the same boat. As we’ve outlined in our 2012 ERP Report, most ERP implementations take longer than expected, cost more than expected, and fail to deliver at least half of the expected business benefits. Despite this fact, purchasing organizations always are dazzled with the “may the odds be ever in your favor” marketing messaging around rapid implementations, low risk and easy user adoption. SAP frequently talks about industry best practices, pre-configurations, and “templates” that result in easy ECC, All-in-One, or Business One implementations. Oracle often refers to their Business Accelerators and User Productivity Kit as part of a low-cost, low-risk E-Business Suite (EBS), JD Edwards, or PeopleSoft implementation. SaaS ERP (software as a service) also provides promises of fast, cheap and easy implementations. Finally, Microsoft Dynamics, Epicor, Infor, and other Tier II solutions similarly focus on the ways that they each stack the odds of success for a rapid implementation.

However, despite the fact that most executives want rapid implementations for their organizations and ERP vendors promise as much, the data proves that most implementations are not done quickly. So where is the disconnect? The brutal Hunger Games-style reality is that these promises of implementation acceleration – while noble in their intentions – fail to deliver. At the end of the day, organizational challenges, business process breakdowns, standardization, poor project management, lack of business and technical implementation expertise, and a host of other challenges that have nothing to do with the software all combine to create implementation initiatives that take longer than expected.

Should CIOs, CFOs and ERP project managers simply throw in the towel and run for cover? Absolutely not. Instead, they should educate themselves, be realistic and ask their team some key questions. Here are three things to keep in mind when considering a rapid implementation:

1. Define what “rapid implementation” means. According to our ERP research, the average ERP implementation for an average-size company is 14 months. However, most ERP vendor proposals we review on behalf on our clients range from three to six months for small- to mid-size clients, six to nine months for mid-size clients and 12 to 18 months for larger, multi-national clients, suggesting that these proposals are clearly misaligned with reality. While most system integrators and VARs would suggest that these ranges are typical, we would suggest, based on our experience and independent research, that these numbers actually are the definition of a rapid implementation. So when reviewing an ERP vendor’s proposal, a good rule of thumb is that their proposed timeline is indeed rapid, and therefore aggressive, risky and probably unrealistic.

2. Understand the tradeoff between speed, cost and quality. It is simply impossible to drive speed while at the same time minimizing cost and maximizing quality. For that very reason, a rapid implementation suggests that you will pay for that speed with increased costs and/or lower quality. The key to ask your organization during an implementation is which of the three variables is most important to you and how much you are willing to bend on the other two. Some organizations are willing to compromise cost and quality to achieve speed, but most are not.

3. Recognize the difference between speed to implement and the speed to adopt. Implementing ERP software is relatively easy, but defining and getting the entire organization to adopt the related business processes is very difficult and the primary driver of duration, cost and risk of ERP implementations. When developing your ERP implementation plan, it is important that you not only consider the time it takes to implement the software – which could actually be done over a three-day weekend if you really needed it done fast – but also the time it takes to define new and improved business processes, make important operational decisions, change the organization and realize the business benefits that you expected from the implementation.

These three considerations will help drive your organization toward realistic expectations and a clear understanding of what you’re getting yourself into as you prepare to play the ERP implementation Hunger Games. The key is to understand what you’re about to get yourself into, plan accordingly, and hire the right experts to help you through the difficult process.

May the odds be ever in your favor. (But, if and when you realize they’re not, call Panorama.)

UNIT4 reports continued growth in FY2011

SaaS revenues grow strongly; Group well positioned as move to SaaS accelerates

UNIT4, the global business software group, today announced annual results for 2011 which showed increased revenue and the trend towards Software as a Service (SaaS) continuing strongly. Listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, UNIT4 is the world’s leading provider of enterprise software for Businesses Living IN Change (BLINC).

UNIT4 is well known for providing customers in the public and private sectors with software solutions that reduce costs, improve control and enable them to manage rapid and continuous change without the typical costs associated with set-up and customization. This differentiation proved key in growing the number of significant deals (above €1 million), where UNIT4 successfully competed and won against competition from large ‘tier 1’ players in the market. Large deals included Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority in Ethiopia, the City of Oslo in Norway, and Magnox in the UK.

Positive revenue growth in a number of countries exceeded market levels, namely Singapore (+20%), Norway (+15%), North America (+13%), Sweden (+8%) and Benelux (+6%). There was strong activity in both the private and the public sector in these regions.

Highlights for full year 2011:

  • Total revenue increased by 8% to €454.7 million (2010: €421.7 million)
  • EBITDA, including FinancialForce.com, rose 2.1% to €87.9 million (2010: €86.1 million)
  • Earnings per share (before goodwill-related items) rose 7.9% to €1.64
  • Net profit (before goodwill) increased 11.1% to €48.0 million (2010: €43.2 million)
  • Product revenue increased 10% to €80.0 million (2010: €72.7 million)
  • SaaS and subscription revenue grew 45.1%
  • Strong performance from FinancialForce.com, with excellent prospects for future growth
  • Acquisitions in the year have positioned the company to enter the business analytics market aggressively and to extend market reach in Asia.

FinancialForce.com, UNIT4’s US-based cloud applications company formed with minority investment from salesforce.com, grew strongly in 2011. The annual revenue run rate (including services) was over $9 million by December 2011. The launch of FinancialForce Professional Services Automation (PSA) has added significant value, both in terms of revenue and the strategic direction of the company. Customers are increasingly taking both Accounting and Professional Services Automation (PSA) applications, driving larger average deal sizes. The largest deal secured to date had a total multi-year contract value of almost $1 million. FinancialForce.com has staff in the US, UK and Spain, customers in more than 25 countries, and users in more than 45 countries.

Results webcast

Chris Ouwinga, UNIT4 CEO and Edwin Van Leeuwen, UNIT4 CFO will be presenting the results via a webcast at 1000 CET on 22 February 2012. To join the webcast please visit http://www.unit4.com/Investors/financialinformation

For a full copy of the 2011 results statement, please visit http://www.unit4.com/Investors/investornews

Sysfore Named Openbravo Partner of the Year

Leading Openbravo Partner, Sysfore Technologies awarded as the Partner of the Year 2011 – India

Sysfore Technologies, a specialist provider of business web solutions and IT Outsourcing services, has been named Partner of the Year 2011 (India) by Openbravo. Openbravo, the agile ERP company, announced the winners of its “Partner of the Year 2011” awards recognized for technical excellence in their geographic region throughout the year and for helping customers achieve low cost, real business results with Openbravo’s ERP platform. The awards recognize implementation partners from Openbravo’s world-wide network of more than 100 partners in 40 countries.

”2011 was Openbravo’s most successful year in company history, and this success is a direct reflection of the dedication and commitment to customer success from our global partner network”, said Andreu Bartolí, VP Channels at Openbravo. “With so many satisfied customers and excellent partners, selecting the ‘Partner of the Year’ was more challenging than ever. We congratulate all the award winners for their contributions and the shared success of our companies and look forward to an exciting 2012.”

Sysfore, a specialist Openbravo partner, offers both enterprise and SaaS variants of Openbravo ERP, bringing to market a serious, viable and cost effective alternative to mainstream commercial ERPs. In 2011, Sysfore continued to improve its Openbravo offerings and service infrastructure to serve its customers across different industries and regions. In 2012, Sysfore launched its first solution on Openbravo – for Human Resource and Payroll Management on the Openbravo Exchange. For manufacturing industry clusters in South India, Sysfore now offers customizable SaaS variant of Openbravo ERP, raising the benchmark for the industry. Sysfore also embarked on a journey towards Retail industry vertical specialization with the launch of its Integrated Retail Solutions that include core components to manage Store, Merchandise and Ecommerce operations, easily extendable to components to automate Financial Management & Accounting and Human Resources & Payroll.

Finally, Sysfore launched its Middle East office in Abu Dhabi in 2011 offering open source Openbravo ERP implementation services for retail, distribution and discrete manufacturing for small and medium businesses.

Ajith George, Director Projects of Sysfore says, “It’s heartening to receive recognition for our efforts in pushing forward Openbravo ERP as a serious alternative for enterprise software in our regional markets of India and the Middle East. Working with Openbravo has been a pleasure, and their partner friendly approach and support ecosystem has helped us deliver value in the highly competitive ERP space. With the new Openbravo 3 release in early 2011, its rich functional footprint, appealing user interface and compelling advantages in terms of cost-benefit value, we see a rich world of opportunities especially with the small and medium sized enterprises in our markets.”

About Sysfore

Sysfore Technologies Pvt. Ltd. is a specialist IT Outsourcing Services company focusing on Openbravo ERP implementations, Turnkey Cloud Solutions and Microsoft Business Application Outsourcing Services for Small and Medium Businesses globally. Based out of Bangalore, India, Sysfore delivers on IT engagements by providing high quality local engagement, complemented by cost-effective offshore development. At Sysfore, we are committed to our customer’s success. Sysfore has several Openbravo implementations with customers globally in the last year across industries in Retail, Manufacturing and Distribution. Some of the customers who have valued Sysfore’s services and achieved success include Decathlon Sports India, Maison Boutique, ReaMetrix, and Compact Electric Lamps.

A full profile of Sysfore Technologies is available on the web at www.sysfore.com.


Top Ten Predictions for ERP in 2012

This last year was another eventful time for the ERP software industry. Vendors continued to consolidate, the rate of ERP failures and lawsuits accelerated, and enterprise software technologies continued to evolve. Our company, Panorama Consulting Solutions maintained its aggressive growth and merged with TPG Solutions, reflecting the dynamic and evolving nature of the ERP market and its customers.

Here are a few noteworthy highlights that we saw in 2011:
  • Infor acquired Lawson
  • Lawsuits, fraud and project failures continued to grab headlines (e.g., Lumber Liquidators, CareSource Management Group, Tesco Bank, Whaley Foodservice Repairs, City of New York, etc.)
  • Cloud ERP gained steam
  • Social ERP gained credibility
  • And, worthy of a second mention, Panorama Consulting merged withTPG Solutions to become Panorama Consulting Solutions

As we look forward to 2012, there are a number of trends we expect to continue, while we expect a few new developments as well. Here are our highly anticipated top ten predictions for 2012:

1. Continued consolidation in the industry. Infor’s acquisition of Lawson was just the start. Barriers to entry in the ERP space are low and there are way too many players in the industry (in fact, we track nearly 200 ERP vendors in our proprietary ERP database). At the same time, global economic uncertainly isn’t necessarily creating an environment for robust industry growth that might support the crowded field, so we expect the merger and acquisition activity to continue among ERP vendors.

2. Shake-up in the Tier I space. This coming year may be when we finally see a shakeup among the big Tier I ERP vendors. While SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics certainly aren’t likely to lose their foothold as the Big 3 of the ERP software market, we do expect that some of the larger Tier IIs are going to pose legitimate challenges to their market share and reach. For example, after their acquisition of Lawson, Infor is just a couple steps behind the traditional Tier II players, while companies such as IFS, Epicor, Kinaxis, and QAD are continuing their aggressive growth, especially in the SMB space.

3. Acceleration of ERP failures. Unfortunately, we’re still seeing the collateral damage from poor decisions of years past, and this isn’t likely to change in the next year. Tight IT budgets and a “do it yourself” mentality to ERP projects of the last few years have finally started catching up in terms of the large number of publicized ERP failures in the latter part of 2011. Companies have simply under-invested time, money, expertise, and resources in their ERP projects in recent years, so we will see those bad decisions catch up to us in the coming year.

4. Increase in the number of ERP lawsuits. If we look at demand for our ERP expert witness services as a leading indicator, 2012 is going to entail a huge number of ERP lawsuits. We are typically engaged by courts and legal counsel to consult on lawsuits before they are formally filed, and we have seen a marked uptick in demand for these services in late 2011. Combine this with the #3 prediction above, and it is clear that 2012 will be a year of epic ERP lawsuits.

5. Less “do it yourself” ERP projects. Because of #3 and #4 above, we expect fewer companies to attempt the DIY approach to ERP selection and implementation. Installing a light fixture from Home Depot may work for do-it-yourself home improvement projects, but CIOs and CFOs are becoming smart and risk adverse enough to know better than to try this approach when it comes to transforming their entire business with a new ERP system. These companies will lean on outside consultants and experts more than they have in recent years, with the understanding that an expert consulting firm that has fine-tuned selection, implementation, and organizational change management methods over 100s of organizations will be able to deliver better, faster, and cheaper results than they can internally.

6. SaaS ERP providers will continue picking off smaller pieces of ERP. Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors such as Salesforce, Plex Systems, Netsuite, Kinaxis, and Workday have successfully poached smaller customers from the traditional ERP vendors over the last few years, but next year they will start making broader in-roads among mid-size companies. In addition to riding the SaaS wave of hype, the above vendors offer a sort of best-of-breed system approach that allow companies to rollout enterprise technology focused on one or a handful of specific functions within organizations, such as CRM, supply chain, or HR. Also feeding into this trend is the risk-adverse propensity for organizations to not bite off more than they can chew with their software initiatives.

7. Convergence of CRM and social media. Industry analysts have been talking about it and software developers have been working on it for years, but next year is when we will finally start to see some meaningful integration between the “enterprise” side of CRM and the “social” side of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  Enterprise and social technologies will finally converge in a meaningful way that will allow organizations to better manage internal customer relationship functions in tandem with the external and less structured social media functions.

8. Misalignment of ERP systems. A lot has changed in the last few years – the economy tanked and recovered moderately while companies evolved, customers demanded more, and mergers continued, but many companies did not proactively invest in their ERP software, leaving organizations with systems that are misaligned with their current business needs. This points to a large subset of organizations wanting to realign their enterprise software with their operational realities, whether it be through investing in new systems or attempting to get more out of their existing software.

9. Conducting a business blueprint as part of the ERP selection process. Fortunately, companies are starting to learn from others’ mistakes (see #3 and #4 above) and are realizing that they shouldn’t rush the ERP evaluation and selection process. Too many failures and lawsuits are caused by choosing the wrong software that is misaligned with business needs, so companies are being more diligent about blueprinting their business processes prior to selection rather than after. We at Panorama are seeing an uptick in the number of companies wishing to engage us to facilitate more robust blueprinting as part of the selection process, which is a reflection of CIOs and CFOs wanting to mitigate their risk.

10. Technology-centric system integrators will continue to struggle to be effective. As I’ve seen in the industry over the years, the traditional technology-focused implementation approach of most system integrators, partners, and value-added resellers (VARs) is clearly not getting the job done. Too much focus on the software, its functionality, and capabilities typically means under-investing in the things that really matter, such as business process design, organizational change management, and effective project management. System integrators will need to either learn to do these things, which they typically don’t have the competency to provide, or partner with firms that do.

Last year was a good year for the ERP industry and we expect even more exciting and positive things in 2012. What do you think? Feel free to leave your comments below or discuss these predictions in more detail in our upcoming webinar, Top Ten Predictions for ERP in 2012, on December 1.

Cloud ERP: The Silver Lining of Enterprise Software or Just a Foggy Mess?

Cloud ERP is clearly the talk of the ERP software industry. The marketing engine supporting cloud options such as software as a service (SaaS) and hosted ERP systems is very strong, even reaching into the consumer-facing side of things with Microsoft’s push into the cloud with Windows-based products.

In fact, our 2011 ERP Report – published earlier this year – shows just how prominent the cloud is becoming in the enterprise software space: 17-percent of organizations are reportedly using SaaS-based solutions, up from 6-percent the previous year. In addition, another 24-percent are using the cloud to host their traditional, single-tenant ERP systems, while just over half of organizations are opting for traditional systems that are hosted on site.

So cloud ERP must surely be the wave of the future, right?

Not necessarily. Just as the cloud can be very practical for a consumer that doesn’t want to deal with hosting their music or pictures on their laptop, smaller businesses often find that the cloud is an ideal solution because it minimizes the need for costly IT support. Some mid-size companies find that point solutions – such as CRM or HR systems – are feasible to host in the cloud. In addition, cloud solutions can be faster and less costly to deploy, at least in the short-term. But larger organizations are simply not embracing the cloud like their smaller-company counterparts. How can this be, you might ask? First of all, a big limitation of the cloud is lack of flexibility. On-premise ERP systems have been and still remain easier to configure and customize to fit your specific business needs, while SaaS and other cloud-based solutions offer less flexibility in these areas. While that could actually be a positive thing for vanilla companies with fairly generic business operations, it can be very detrimental to more complex companies with distinct competitive advantages from their peers.  This problem is starting to dissipate with the advent of platform as a service (PaaS) and other development and integration tools, but those options are not yet mature or robust enough for most larger organizations we work with.

The other big issue larger organizations tend to have is with control and security. Although most SaaS and cloud ERP vendors are able to provide more stability and security than most internal IT departments, most CIOs are at least a little skeptical about not having complete control over security and other issues. These concerns can be mitigated via well-defined service level agreements, but they are still very real and valid concerns.

So what’s one to do when trying to determine whether or not the cloud is for their organizations? First, it is important to define what your specific needs are and recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to ERP. Second, understand the tradeoffs between cloud versus on-premise solutions. The industry marketing sales hype may suggest that there are no tradeoffs, but they are indeed there and the tradeoffs are very distinct. Keeping these two points in mind will take you a long way toward making your way through the foggy and sometimes confusing landscape of cloud and SaaS ERP.

If you’d like to discuss your organization’s specific business processes and how they relate to ERP software selection, including cloud and/or SaaS solutions, contact our independent ERP experts today.

Is SaaS ERP Right for Your Organization?

Software as a Service, or SaaS ERP as it’s known in industry circles, has been receiving its share of media and business attention in recent years. The allure of SaaS – including potentially lower up-front costs, no software to implement, and relatively easy upgrades – can be enough to convince some CIOs that it’s the right choice for their organizations.

But is it right for everyone? That’s one of the more controversial questions we answer when working with current and prospective clients. If you ask industry analysts, academics, and media types, most will tell you that the future is all SaaS and nothing else. Some have been arguing for years that traditional “big” ERP is dead. In fact, Dun and Bradstreet recently reported Gartner’s estimation that 25-percent of ERP software purchased in 2011 will be SaaS solutions. In addition, SaaS vendors such as Netsuite, Plex, and Salesforce have been aggressively growing while other ERP vendors have struggled.

A couple of counterpoints are always in order when there is this much buzz surrounding an industry trend. First, while 25-percent may seem like a large portion, that still leaves 75-percent of ERP purchases that are of the traditional on-premise flavor. As for the steep growth of SaaS ERP vendors, they have a much smaller revenue base to start with relative to other more established software providers. And it also helps to understand the primary customers of SaaS ERP solutions: our experience and research shows that SaaS customers are disproportionately skewed toward smaller to mid-size companies. Larger and more complex organizations simply haven’t had a compelling reason to switch to these types of solutions.

Since SaaS may be perfect for some companies and misaligned with others, how is an executive team to decide the best fit for their organizations? Here are a few starting points to ask to determine whether or not SaaS is the right option for you:

1. How unique or complex is your business relative to others? The fact of the matter is that SaaS ERP systems are still not as flexible as on-premise solutions. While this may change with the continuing evolution of platform as a service (PaaS) and other development and integration tools, it is generally more difficult to change SaaS offerings to fit your business. If you have a fairly vanilla or less complex business operation, then SaaS may be a good option for you. If, on the other hand, you have unique competitive advantages or otherwise need the flexibility to materially change the software to fit your business, then the ability to heavily configure on premise solutions may make them more appropriate for your organization.

2. Are you more willing to increase capital versus expense budgets to support a new ERP system? Many high-growth companies are cash and/or budget strapped, which can affect the type of software you invest in. Companies with less cash reserves or capital budgets or more likely to invest in SaaS, while those that are more comfortable carrying depreciable assets on their balance sheets are more likely to invest in on-premise ERP. In addition, SaaS customers need to be more comfortable with the possibility that it will cost more in the long-term, despite the lower up-front costs. A realistic and objective business case will help determine a total cost of ownership estimate for either type of solution.

3. How much control and security do you need over your ERP systems? While this question isn’t 100% based on reality, it is based on the common perception among CIOs that SaaS affords less security and control. While SaaS can indeed offer less control (see #1 above), security should not be as much of a concern for most organizations. After all, SaaS vendors are able to provide more world-class security and reliability than most IT departments. However, our government, aerospace, pharmaceutical and other types of clients with sensitive business information are more inclined to retain control via on premise solutions.

While SaaS is a very real emerging trend in the market, like everything, it’s not for everyone. Your specific needs will determine the most appropriate needs more than industry or marketing hype. Learn more about how to evaluate SaaS vs. on-premise solutions by attending our upcoming ERP Boot Camp.

Can Software as a Service (SaaS) Accounting Solutions Really Do it All for Professional Service Firms?

For professional service firms, cloud computing or software as a service (SaaS) is becoming more and more of a norm. For good reason, more companies are adopting SaaS as a new way to make ends meet for their technology needs. Here are the three top reasons companies are choosing SaaS over on-premises options:

  1. Affordability – SaaS converts a previously large expense into a small and affordable monthly payment. This type of payment is similar to paying the electricity bill and allows for more cash flow, especially in smaller organizations.
  2. Flexibility – Technology is changing at a rapid pace and has been for years. By adopting SaaS, companies don’t have to worry about going out of date in terms of their software. Because online services are well-run through the cloud, companies can benefit from regular and automatic updates.
  3. Simplicity – If you’ve gone through the process of purchasing software on-premises, you know the headaches that come with proper licensing, customizations, training, and so on. Most SaaS solutions are a breeze to get set up and rolling so companies can continue business as usual without having to worry about downtime.

As you can see, the overall benefits of SaaS can really help improve your bottom line and increase efficiency across your organization. A good example of this is SAP Business ByDesign. This on-demand product provides role tailored capabilities and connects your project management department with your accounting professionals to ensure proper workflow and accurate forecasts of your financial data. It meets the requirements of the top three benefits listed above in the following ways:

  1. Affordability – SAP Business ByDesign is offered through a monthly subscription with no hidden costs. The deliverables are clearly defined so what you see is what you get.
  2. Flexibility – SAP Business ByDesign is a full suite of products, including CRM, core financials, analytical tools, fixed assets, project management, resource planning and human resources. Customers can purchase the solution and turn on/off what they want/need throughout their subscription period. Regular updates have been made about every six months and the last round of upgrades finished out the professional services capabilities. Remote access is also available to users through mobile devices, allowing for real-time and any-time access. If you have a lot of remote employees, SAP Business ByDesign is especially beneficial and flexible to your needs.
  3. Simplicity – SAP Business ByDesign is quick and simple to implement, helping your company get up and running smoothly. Because SAP Business ByDesign is browser based and extremely intuitive, training in your employees takes much less time. The training is available online, so is especially easy to access when adding on new employees or when trying to time around people’s busy schedules.

SAP Business ByDesign is also role-based. So for example, a project manager would have access to information pertaining to their projects while the warehouse would have insight into inventory, orders, and shipping.

SAP Business ByDesign is one of the few SaaS products out there that can do it all. It can really help create a complete picture for your company and ensures proper communications between departments. Let’s take a look at how it connects project managers and accounting…

SAP Business ByDesign Speaks to Project Managers: Project managers need to see at a glance how their projects are going at any given time. They need insight to billing time and project deliverables expected of them every day. With SAP Business ByDesign, project managers can see real-time snapshots of their specific projects, including billable time, cost allocations, labor resources, time and expense transactions, approvals, outstanding alerts, billing schedules, contracts and more. This allows project managers to notice whether they are behind on a project or if they don’t have resources to complete a certain project. This helps solve potential issues or even fix problems before they occur. SAP Business ByDesign is a flexible option for project managers and also meets the rigid needs of accounting . . .

SAP Business ByDesign Speaks to the Accounting Department: Most accounting solutions make accountants want to tear their hair out because nothing is truly integrated, meaning it’s not truly accurate. Instead of analyzing the numbers, they are wasting time adding in different components, cross referencing multiple reports, or double-checking their manual entries. SAP Business ByDesign is exciting because it provides robust back office reporting integrated with all front office procedures. SAP Business ByDesign allows accountants to see what their situation is on any given process. For example, if a client calls about a bill, they can easily drill down to time sheets associated, vendor invoices that came in, and how it relates to a project. SAP Business ByDesign gives accountants a 360-degree view of the customer and the project so they can quickly respond to inquiries and properly report on the company’s financial status.

The benefits listed above are opinions based from our experience here at Sikich. Our SAP Business ByDesign product experts have provided their feedback and knowledge to better inform our readers of the SaaS options available in the market. SAP Business ByDesign may not be for all companies. Contact us to learn more about efficient project management with SAP Business ByDesign.

Note: The inclusion of guest posts on the Panorama website does not imply endorsement of any specific product or service. Panorama is, and always will remain, completely independent and vendor-neutral.

If you are interested in guest blogging opportunities, click to read more about our submission guidelines.

Demo Day at Panorama: Infor

Fridays at Panorama are when we have ERP vendor demos. We recently met with Infor.

Infor Global Solutions is a privately held U.S. software company that specializes in enterprise systems, including ERP, CRM, Enterprise Asset Management, and the like. Infor has four major products: ERP Visual, ERP Adage, ERP SyteLine and ERP LN. Of these, the most common software used by Panorama clients is ERP SyteLine, which is marketed toward mid-sized to large companies with revenues over $100 million. Infor LN is an upgraded and rebranded version of Infor Baan. It targets higher level customers who have over $500 million in revenue and 75-10,000 users. Infor ERP Visual has a very low total cost of ownership (TCO), making it ideal for smaller organizations, such as manufacturing companies having less than $15 million in revenue and having 20-500 users. A more complete solution than ERP Visual, Infor ERP Adage is designed for process manufacturers with 30-1000 employees.

Infor ERP has a pretty flexible deployment: on-premise, software-as-a-service or hybrid. So far, they have six business solutions in their SaaS model, including Infor ERP SyteLine, Infor EAM, Infor Expense Management and so on. As we have noted previously, SaaS deployment is usually not as powerful as on-premise or hosted ERP. However, Infor claims that the user experience, functionality, reporting and security are consistent regardless of deployment options.

Since it began in 2004, Infor has grown aggressively through acquisitions. Before the demo, my impression was that Infor had a similar growth pattern to Oracle but the demo provided more clarity. Infor recently released its integration suite INFOR ION to share document-based communications and data both in-house and in the cloud. It appears to me that Infor ION is an integration middleware similar to Oracle Fusion Middleware. One of the main comparisons with Oracle Fusion Middleware is that both products use SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). Although both tools use open standard and are able to integrate a suite of applications, Infor markets themselves totally different from Oracle. Several integration merits regarding Infor ION were mentioned proudly during the demo: lightweight, loosely coupled and suite-based workflow. Without the need for heavyweight footprints, Infor ION can enable a new application in less than 10 minutes, by what they called 3-3-3:  three minutes to install, three minutes to configure, and three minutes to activate.

Although it was quite high level, the one-hour demo was very informative. I expect that in the future Infor will compete against the Tier I ERP software vendors Oracle and SAP as it continues to develop innovative technology and products.

Blog entry written by Haoyan Sun, a research analyst at Panorama Consulting Group.

SaaS ERP Continues to Gain Traction in 2011

If you’ve followed our blogs and thought leadership over the last several years, you probably know that I’m skeptical of marketing hype and academic theories from industry analysts that don’t necessarily reflect reality.  Software as a Service, or SaaS ERP, is one of those trends that I’ve been openly skeptical of.  Granted, I’ve never doubted that SaaS has its place and niche in the industry, but I have yet to  buy into the idea that traditional on-premise ERP is dead and that SaaS options will soon take over the world.

According to new data we’re about to officially publish in February, I may need to begin softening my stance.  In our extensive study of ERP implementations across the globe, we found that just 6% of organizations implementing ERP were deploying SaaS options in 2009.  However, this number nearly tripled to 17% in 2010.  In addition to the 17% that deployed SaaS solutions, another 24% implemented ERP systems that are hosted off-site or in the cloud.  In other words, nearly half of companies implementing new enterprise software are doing so in the cloud.  Clearly, the trend toward SaaS and hosted ERP solutions is continuing in the new year and the new decade.

However, I’m still not convinced that every CIO reading this article should scrap their on-premise ERP system and switch to SaaS.  If I had to choose between the SaaS and cloud trends, I would absolutely pick cloud computing as the direction the majority will head in the next five years.  Most companies are thinking long and hard about outsourcing their IT functions, but there are always going to be a large number that benefit from the flexibility and control of on-premise solutions.  Even in those cases where CIOs are looking to the cloud, the data shows that they are much more likely to deploy traditional ERP options in the cloud rather than leveraging pure SaaS solutions.

Granted, SaaS ERP still makes sense for a number of companies.  For example, small and some mid-size companies often find SaaS to be simpler and more cost effective.  In addition, vanilla and less complex organizations may find that SaaS options handle their business requirements just fine.  Finally, ERP vendors such as Plex Systems are developing manufacturing ERP software systems that are more robust and flexible than SaaS options of years past.

Clearly, SaaS and cloud adoption are still on the rise.  However, it is important to carefully consider the options that make the most sense for your organization.  Learn more about our forthcoming ERP report by registering for upcoming ERP webinar or by attending our ERP Boot Camp training session in Denver.
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Epicor’s(R) Cloud ERP Solution Receives a 2010 Product of the Year Award From Customer Interaction Solutions(R) Magazine

IRVINE, CA, Jan 17, 2011  — Epicor Software Corporation (NASDAQ: EPIC), a leading provider of enterprise business software solutions for the midmarket and divisions of Global 1000 companies, today announced that Epicor Manufacturing Express Edition (Epicor Express) has received a 2010 Product of the Year Award from Technology Marketing Corporation’s (TMC(R)) Customer Interaction Solutions magazine. Epicor Express — the on-demand version of the Epicor 9 next-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution — is a true multi-tenant Software as a Service (SaaS) offering that is designed to meet the needs of job shops and small manufacturers.

“We are excited to receive a 2010 Product of the Year Award for Epicor’s cloud ERP solution,” said Chad Meyer, director, product marketing for Epicor. “Epicor Express provides manufacturers with all of the functionality they need to manage and grow their business, and continues to be the go-to choice for small and emerging companies because of its depth of functionality, affordability and flexibility to accommodate growth.”

Delivered in the cloud with subscription pricing, Epicor Express offers rapid, secure, low-cost access to value-added applications and new capabilities. Based on the same source code as Epicor 9, Epicor Express has the flexibility and functionality to accommodate future requirements and growth so users can move up and down Epicor’s continuum of editions and deployment models (i.e. multi-tenant SaaS, hosted, on-premise, etc). The ability to grow with the system and mix and match deployment models makes Epicor a truly unique offering.

“Epicor Express has demonstrated excellence, as well as provided ROI for the companies that use it,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “Customer Interaction Solutions magazine has been honoring innovative companies for 13 years and Epicor has earned its place with this distinguished honor.”

The 13th Annual Product of the Year Award winners are featured in the January 2011 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions magazine, www.cismag.com. For more information about the Customer Interaction Solutions’ 2010 Product of the Year Awards or any of the TMC media properties, please visit www.tmcnet.com.

About Customer Interaction Solutions

Since 1982, Customer Interaction Solutions (CIS) magazine has been the voice of the call/contact center, CRM and teleservices industries. CIS magazine has helped the industry germinate, grow, mature and prosper, and has served as the leading publication in helping these industries that have had such a positive impact on the world economy to continue to thrive. Through a combination of outstanding and cutting-edge original editorial, industry voices, in-depth lab reviews and the recognition of the innovative leaders in management and technology through our highly valued awards, Customer Interaction Solutions strives to continue to be the publication that holds the quality bar high for the industry. Please visit www.cismag.com for more information.

About TMC

Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) is a global, integrated media company helping clients build communities in print, in person, and online. TMC publishes Customer Interaction Solutions, INTERNET TELEPHONY, Unified Communications, NGN and InfoTECH Spotlight magazines. TMC is the producer of ITEXPO, the world’s leading B2B communications event. TMCnet.com, which is read by two million unique visitors each month, is the leading source of news and articles for the communications and technology industries. In addition, TMC runs multiple industry events: 4GWE; Smart Grid Summit; M2M Evolution; Cloud Communications Summit; Social CRM Expo; SIP Tutorial; VIPeering; Business Video Expo; CVx; Digium|Asterisk World; StartupCamp; MSPAlliance MSPWorld and more! Visit TMC Events for a complete listing and further information.

About Epicor Software Corporation

Epicor Software is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, hospitality and services industries. With 20,000 customers in over 150 countries, Epicor provides integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM) and enterprise retail software solutions that enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. Founded in 1984, Epicor takes pride in more than 25 years of technology innovation delivering business solutions that provide the scalability and flexibility businesses need to build competitive advantage. Epicor provides a comprehensive range of services with a single point of accountability that promotes rapid return on investment and low total cost of ownership, whether operating business on a local, regional or global scale. The Company’s worldwide headquarters are located in Irvine, California with offices and affiliates around the world. For more information, visit www.epicor.com.

Epicor is a registered trademark of Epicor Software Corporation. Other trademarks referenced are the property of their respective owners. The product and service offerings depicted in this document are produced by Epicor Software Corporation.

Are You Well Positioned for Growth?

After a challenging few years, manufacturers are welcoming a new era with significant upticks in business activity. Recent news reports show that factories, in a wide range of industries, boosted output and booked more orders. The Institute for Supply Management’s index of manufacturing activity recently rose to a seven-month high and represents the 17th straight month of growth.

Looking at the Manufacturer’s Use of ERP Software

What does that mean for today’s manufacturer who might be stuck with an outdated ERP system, or worse yet, relies on standalone systems to track operations, production, inventory and more? It’s likely that many manufacturers are in this exact situation and they are ill prepared for the healthy economy that lies ahead.

Many manufacturers installed their current ERP software in the late 1990s to avoid the Y2K problem. Many of these same companies also delayed replacing their ERP system due to the recent recession and downturn in the economy.

The economy is in an upturn and savvy managers have taken advantage of today’s increase in business activity to improve and streamline their operations. They are preparing for the continued growth and laying the foundation for success.

The Case for a Single ERP Solution

As an example of one such forward-thinking organization, a North American auto supplier took time over the last year or so to implement a single, comprehensive cloud ERP solution. This organization replaced over a dozen separate systems once used for accounting, production, quality, problem tracking, preventive maintenance, reporting, and other key functions.

For this manufacturer, a single ERP system with full MES functionality now manages all core shop floor functions. Instead of having a host of mismatched systems, the manufacturer satisfies the organization’s needs and that of the manufacturing and production. The new ERP solution manages operations and includes manufacturing software functionality that covers the management of bill of materials, purchasing, receiving, inventory, basic quality, planning and scheduling, production, shipping, key measures, EDI, engineering change tracking, subcontracting, and document control. The manufacturer didn’t stop there. The single solution tracks time and labor, quoting, maintenance, advanced quality, and program management functions. And unlike multiple standalone systems, all of the manufacturing and production activity is directly tied into the financials.

While the domestic users were getting their systems in order, the international operations were as well. In addition to relying on one standard solution to manage the parent company’s facilities and operations, users in China run on the same ERP system as users in Mexico, subcontractors in the Southeastern US, and everyone on the shop floor in the company’s Midwest facilities.

One ERP System Means One Data Source

Does a single ERP system really matter? Yes. The company leverages a single point of data entry without having to maintain interfaces, duplication, or replication. Not only is this a time saver, it greatly contributes to a reduction in data entry errors and it facilitates the theory of a “single version of the truth”.

For instance, the employee list used for time and attendance is the same one used to track who produced which container, and to evaluate worker performance. The process routing to make the products is the same one used for quality control plans and check sheets. This helps reduces entry errors, speeds data entry, and helps ensure departmental data is in sync.

Ready for Growth

This manufacturer serves as a great example of a forward-thinking company that’s ready to compete. The company is well positioned for the continued economic growth and it will be able to scale production and operations to meet the increasing consumer demand.

By taking the time to standardize on one ERP system, and improve their entire process – not just continue with an inefficient process – the company is poised for a competitive advantage.

 

NetSuite Continues Crusade to Rid Companies of Software Hairball Syndrome

SAN MATEO, Calif.—January 13, 2011— NetSuite Inc. (NYSE: N), the industry’s leading provider of cloud-based financials / ERP software suites, today announced the details of its latest efforts to rid the world of costly software hairballs (commonly known as Software Hairball Syndrome) that are choking corporate productivity, profitability and innovation. This NetSuite initiative includes new software hairball diagnostic tools, a downloadable Hairball Elimination Kit and a series of detailed case studies highlighting the steps a number of companies have taken to successfully eradicate Software Hairball Syndrome from their organizations while reaping the benefits of reduced IT costs and complexity, enhanced reporting and analytics, and improved productivity and business performance.

Business software hairballs are the inefficient, ineffective tangle of disparate enterprise applications and middleware that hinders productivity and drives up costs due to brittle integration, incompatible processes, low productivity and high maintenance costs. Companies featured in the program include Advantage Sign Supply, The Chefs Toolbox, Clickstop, avVenta Worldwide and Learning.com, joining thousands of businesses to benefit from NetSuite’s suite of cloud business applications that cures hairballs with end-to-end, cloud-based integration of core enterprise data and processes.

Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly known as Great Plains) is commonly found at the heart of Software Hairball Syndrome, the inevitable result of acquiring and trying to maintain the integration of multiple, siloed business software applications. This mess of disconnected systems often creates an unstable, confusing, and ineffective tangle of ad hoc integrations, processes, and systems. As the business grows, the hairball acts like a parasite, sapping productivity and profits, calcifying data silos, cramping growth and devouring cash flow. By providing one complete suite of cloud business applications, including accounting/ERP, order management, CRM, and Ecommerce, NetSuite can help fast-growing and midsized companies to permanently dislodge even the mightiest software hairball.

With the guidance provided by the Hairball Elimination Kit, businesses can quickly self-identify data silos, wasteful and error-prone data entry, redundant processes and other tell-tale hairball symptoms and take the first important steps towards purging these hairballs from their business software systems. Featured in the Kit are some of the thousands of customers who have already disentangled their hairballs with NetSuite’s complete seamless cloud business system to unlock their value from their enterprise. The kit is available for free download at www.netsuite.com/nohairballs.

“Companies should know that they need not suffer the slow growth, high costs and inefficiencies that software hairballs invariably create,” said NetSuite Chief Marketing Officer David Downing. “NetSuite leads the fight to eliminate Microsoft Dynamics GP hairballs with the world’s leading cloud-based business management software suite, and with the Hairball Elimination Kit, executives can join us in eradicating these enemies of profit and expansion.”

These companies are among the many to overcome Software Hairball Syndrome by switching to NetSuite:

  • Advantage Sign Supply (www.advantagesignsupply.com), of Grand Rapids, MI has been serving the sign and graphics industry for 20 years from 10 facilities throughout the US. The company’s business software management revolved around a master inventory and AR system written in COBOL, the great-grandfather of enterprise hairballs dating back to the 1960s. Caught up in the tangle was Microsoft Dynamics GP for accounting and AP, and OnContact for CRM which struggled with stability and performance issues under the strain of Advantage’s high-volume business. The hairball’s inefficiencies were responsible for significant excess inventory, and systems could not even be configured to support standard trade credit for buyers. Switching to NetSuite gave Advantage an immediate boost. Real-time inventory and analytics have reduced costly surplus stock, fully integrated Ecommerce has opened new international markets, and the consolidated database and user-friendly interface has slashed the time necessary to process orders and maintain the product catalog by 66 percent and up. “Our hairball was dictating to us how to run our business,” said David Jarrell, Director of IT at Advantage Sign Supply. “NetSuite was able to simplify our business by increasing visibility and unifying our transactions.”
  • The Chefs Toolbox (www.chefstoolbox.com), based in Sydney, Australia, distributes and sells cookware in Australia, New Zealand, and the US. As the company’s revenues and complexity grew, the start-up software powering the company showed its limitations, so The Chefs Toolbox undertook a migration to Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains. But after one year of intense investment and effort, the project was abandoned. With expansion to the US, and the adoption of new wholesale/distribution sales model looming, The Chefs Toolbox made the bold decision to cut ties with Dynamics GP and switch to NetSuite OneWorld. Replacing the hairball with NetSuite OneWorld saves The Chefs Toolbox hundreds of thousands of dollars, including reduced accounting hours and consulting fees, as well as eliminating the costs and IT overhead of maintaining expensive enterprise servers. “We quickly realized just how deep NetSuite’s functionality is, and how much we would benefit from the cloud-based delivery,” said David Mills, founder of The Chefs Toolbox. “NetSuite is powerful enough for us to enhance, refine, and grow with it.”
  • Clickstop (www.clickstop.com), based in Urbana, IA, is a multi-brand Ecommerce merchant, selling everything from pet supplies to cargo equipment. The company’s numerous merchant sites spawned several instances of entry-level bookkeeping systems and countless spreadsheets, uneasily paired with Sage Peachtree. This hairball required constant manual attention and endless re-keying, and provided virtually no business insights or reporting. Business processes were error-prone and growth was threatened. Switching to NetSuite saves Clickstop $70,000 per year in IT costs, and NetSuite’s integration and automation saves the company up to 20 hours per week in manual processing tasks. These improvements helped fuel 65 percent growth in year-over-year revenue, accompanied by the hiring of 17 new employees and an impending move to a larger facility. “We knew that we couldn’t continue manually typing and retyping information like our tangle of systems forced us to do,” said Shaun Linderbaum, Clickstop Vice President and CTO. “We always lacked important analysis and reporting. It was slowing our sales down and was much too error-prone for our multi-brand retail business. With NetSuite, our accounting, shipping, Ecommerce and CRM are all integrated, and because NetSuite is cloud-based, it gives us capacity to grow into a large company.”
  • avVenta Worldwide (www.avventa.com), based in Mount Pleasant, SC, is a digital production and interactive services agency, producing digital assets for top brands including Intel, Starwood, and Merck. To service its clients in Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America, avVenta previously relied on a cumbersome hairball incorporating entry-level bookkeeping systems, salesforce.com, numerous spreadsheets and various legacy systems. The lack of integration slowed the flow of data through the company, creating complications for the short sales cycle necessary to stay current and competitive in the media space. Accurately accounting for professional services activity was difficult because of the disconnected systems, and avVenta’s hairball was forcing it to leave money on the table. NetSuite solutions have provided significantly streamlined operations and ongoing savings. “Before adopting NetSuite solutions, we had no way to track our utilization or bill clients correctly, so we were losing a lot of money simply because we did not know how our time was being used,” said David Kelley, avVenta CFO. “We save thousands of dollars per month and close our books in one-quarter of the time.”
  • Learning.com (www.learning.com), based in Portland, OR, provides 21st-century learning environments for teachers and students. A hairball made up of entry-level bookkeeping systems, salesforce.com and a myriad of spreadsheets was inhibiting the company’s ability to grow into the broader US and Canadian markets. The poorly-integrated systems could not support the necessary sales channel expansion required to further Learning.com’s business goals. Order processing was slow and the hairball limited the scope of the company’s commission structure. Clearing out the hairball in favor of NetSuite saves Learning.com $150,000 in IT infrastructure costs and dramatically reduced the time necessary to process invoices and commissions, by anywhere from 60 to over 90 percent. Now, Learning.com’s executives, employees, and partners enjoy an integrated, real-time view of all the company’s opportunities and sales activities, and expansion is back on track. “Without NetSuite’s integrated architecture, it would have been near impossible to expand as smoothly as we did, and to be able to do business remotely with a fairly complex hierarchy of sales channels,” said Jerry Soto, Consultant at Learning.com. “That’s one of the main reasons we’ve grown tremendously since 2007.”

For more information about NetSuite Inc., please visit www.netsuite.com.

NOTE: NetSuite and the NetSuite logo are registered service marks of NetSuite Inc.

NetSuite Helps Kiva.Org Make Loans That Change Lives

SAN MATEO, Calif. — January 12, 2011 —NetSuite Inc. (NYSE: N), the industry’s leading vendor of cloud-based financials / ERP software suites, today announced that Kiva, the world’s first personal micro-lending website, is realizing significant cost and time savings by using NetSuite to run its global business. Kiva uses NetSuite’s powerful cloud computing solution to support rapidly expanding needs in the fields of accounting, expense and payables management, reporting, and multi-currency management. Since its founding, Kiva has facilitated more than $175 million in loans to entrepreneurs in 55 countries. Kiva received a software donation through NetSuite.org, NetSuite’s unique corporate citizenship program for growing social enterprises.

With a mission of connecting people, through lending, to alleviate poverty, Kiva empowers individuals to lend to entrepreneurs around the world, via the assistance of over 120 local microfinance institutions. Through its innovative Web-based platform at www.kiva.org, and initiatives like the Kiva Fellows Program, Kiva has connected more than 510,000 lenders to over 450,000 entrepreneurs around the world.

NetSuite meets Kiva’s needs for a comprehensive, international ERP solution. Transparent, reliable multicurrency support expedites the entry and validation of expense reports for dozens of globe-trotting employees, and NetSuite’s approval workflows ensure that expense reports automatically flow to supervisors, where they can be easily reviewed and approved. Powered by the NetSuite Employee Center, the system supports clear, informative expense categorization and automatically displays Kiva’s approved per diem rates based on territory, adding clarity to the process.

Further, with NetSuite’s flexible reporting solution, Kiva can manage its internal processes on a departmental basis while also providing a secondary view to meet donor needs. Now, not only does Kiva have access to multiple reporting methods in real-time, but it has the tools to easily obtain operating budget status at the departmental level.

With the strength of the NetSuite cloud business management solution, Kiva is able to run its back office operation in an efficient, low-cost manner, freeing resources to focus on the organization’s core mission of connecting lenders and entrepreneurs in more than 55 countries. “NetSuite.org’s service gift helps Kiva keep administrative overhead low even as our lending portfolio has grown substantially,” said Stefanie Madrid, Accounting Manager at Kiva.

“NetSuite.org is always looking to help rapidly growing, high impact organizations like Kiva,” said David Geilhufe, NetSuite.org Program Manager. “These are the organizations best able to take advantage of our software to support their missions, and to realize Netsuite.org’s goal to help more people do good, better.”

About Kiva.org

Kiva.org is the world’s first personal micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. Founded in 2005, Kiva.org’s mission is to connect people, through lending, to alleviate poverty. Over 519,000 people have loaned more than $180 million to 472,000 entrepreneurs in 57 countries. Kiva.org is headquartered in San Francisco.

About NetSuite.org

Being a good corporate citizen is no longer just about giving away some money. It’s about putting the strengths and assets of a company to work in the world to make a difference. NetSuite.org leverages NetSuite’s complete suite of business software, our people and our know-how into a solution for organizations seeking to expand and extend their social impact. NetSuite.org provides product donations, pro bono service grants and social solutions to support charities and social enterprises worldwide in achieving their missions.

 

Plex Systems, Inc. Receives Certification from Technology Evaluation Centers

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Jan. 11, 2011 — Plex Systems, Inc., provider of the No. 1 rated manufacturing ERP software, today announced it has been certified as a vendor by Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC). As part of the certification, cloud ERP solution Plex Online, delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS), is profiled as part of TEC’s state-of-the-art Web-based decision support solution designed specifically for software selection.

Through impartial and quantifiable analysis, TEC provides extensive online IT research, knowledge bases and analyst insight. TEC certification has emerged as a leading IT evaluation tool for manufacturers seeking assistance with their software selection projects. Plex Online’s TEC profile is available here.

“Enterprise software selection and implementation projects are complex and can be fraught with risk for the typical manufacturing company,” noted Mark Symonds, Plex Systems CEO and president. “TEC helps mitigate that risk by providing software selection resources to help businesses choose best-fit solutions quickly and cost effectively. We’re pleased Plex Online is now a TEC certified vendor, and is included in the evaluation process for manufacturers looking to meet their unique business requirements.”

About Plex Systems, Inc.

Plex Systems, Inc. is the developer of Plex Online , a SaaS ERP (software as a service) cloud ERP solution for the manufacturing enterprise. Plex Online offers industry-leading features for virtually every department within a manufacturer, including Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES ) and Quality Management Systems (QMS ) for the shop floor, Supply Chain Management (SCM ) for procurement, and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP ) for finance and management. Plex Online’s comprehensive functional coverage delivers a “shop floor to top floor” view of a manufacturer’s operations, enabling management to run its business at maximum efficiency. Founded in 1995, Plex Systems is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, with customers around the globe. More information is available at www.plex.com.

 

Flexible Deployment: Miniflex Chooses QAD Enterprise Applications

 

QAD Inc. (NASDAQ: QADA) (NASDAQ: QADB), announced today that Miniflex Ltd., a manufacturer of optical fiber protection, management and installation systems, has selected QAD Enterprise Applications On Demand to transition the company from start-up to full production.Founded in 1994, Miniflex has catapulted to the forefront of fiber protection technology. Based in Suffolk, UK, the company operates in multiple locations, including two manufacturing sites that design and deliver fiber protection products to help improve fiber safety and reliability for customers worldwide in such diverse industries as telecom, medical, aviation and defense.

Although Miniflex management still views the company as a research-based start-up, it operates a complex manufacturing business and a global customer base, and is now poised for full production. Miniflex needed a flexible enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution to support the company’s aggressive growth, without taxing its current budget and resources.

“We have three key goals – growth, profitability and customer satisfaction,” said Tom Carpenter, chief operating officer for Miniflex. “The next two to three years will be critical for us. It’s vital that we focus our resources on our key goals and minimize any effort or expenditure that may distract us from them. That’s why we decided early in the project that QAD On Demand was the correct ERP solution for us.”

QAD On Demand is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that will provide Miniflex all of the QAD Enterprise Applications functionality, while reducing its total cost of ownership and allowing its IT staff to focus internal resources elsewhere. Moreover, QAD On Demand mitigates many of the IT and financial risks associated with a new ERP implementation, as all of the software, systems and infrastructure are managed and administered by QAD in a secure, reliable and industry compliant data center.

This solution will provide Miniflex with a level of ERP functionality typically enjoyed by much larger companies, yet affordable and adaptable enough to support the company as it expands.

“QAD’s On Demand solution most closely meets our needs, giving great functionality, superior data analysis and business control, out-of-the-box – at a competitive price,” Carpenter added.

About Miniflex

Miniflex offers everything needed to install and protect raw fiber. The company’s extensive portfolio of products can be used in any environment where fiber needs protecting or installing. Miniflex specializes in producing industry leading fiber protection, routing and splice-less fiber systems to increase the reliability of fiber-optic networks and decreasing fiber installation costs.

Miniflex products and services are key to successful fiber application in the Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH), Transport (airplanes, ships, cars) and Enterprise sectors.

Today, there are millions of meters of Miniflex deployed in the Fiber-to-the-home, data center, automotive and aerospace markets. For more information, visit: www.miniflex.co.uk.

Note to Investors: This press release contains certain forward-looking statements made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. A number of risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. These risks include, but are not limited to, evolving demand for the company’s software products and products that operate with the company’s products; the company’s ability to sustain license and service demand; the company’s ability to leverage changes in technology; the company’s ability to sustain customer renewal rates at current levels; the publication of opinions by industry and financial analysts about the company, its products and technology; the reliability of estimates of transaction and integration costs and benefits; the entry of new competitors or new offerings by existing competitors and the associated announcement of new products and technological advances by them; delays in localizing the company’s products for new or existing markets; the ability to recruit and retain key personnel; delays in sales as a result of lengthy sales cycles; changes in operating expenses, pricing, timing of new product releases, the method of product distribution or product mix; timely and effective integration of newly acquired businesses; general economic conditions; exchange rate fluctuations; and, the global political environment. In addition, revenue and earnings in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software industry are subject to fluctuations. Software license revenue, in particular, is subject to variability with a significant proportion of revenue earned in the last month of each quarter. Given the high margins associated with license revenue, modest fluctuations can have a substantial impact on net income. Investors should not use any one quarter’s results as a benchmark for future performance. For a more detailed description of the risk factors associated with the company and the industries in which it operates, please refer to the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for fiscal 2009 ended January 31, 2009.

Plex Online Cloud ERP Offers Customers Expanded Integration

AUBURN HILLS, MI–(Marketwire – January 4, 2011) – Plex Systems, Inc., provider of the No. 1 rated manufacturing ERP software, today announced additional functionality options for its Plex Online customers who use Salesforce.com.

With a range of ERP features in its comprehensive system, Plex Online is already one of the top SaaS / cloud computing manufacturing solutions. Manufacturers that use both Salesforce.com and Plex Online in their business operations will benefit from the seamless integration of the two applications.

Together with implementation partner Revolution Group, Plex Systems researched how Plex Online and Salesforce.com could interface and created a fully cloud-based integration of the lead management process.
“Plex Online provides a complete suite of CRM tools for managing the total sales process, from powerful quote tracking and order entry modules, to release accounting and shipment tracking, to revenue reporting,” noted Patrick Fetterman, Plex Systems vice president. “Yet, for customers that must keep their Salesforce.com deployment, Plex Online will now be able to integrate with it. Teaming with Revolution Group, the integration with Salesforce.com is an opportunity to provide manufacturers with even more functionality.”

Launched as one of the original cloud computing companies in 1999, Salesforce.com reported annual earnings exceeded $1.3b in the fiscal year ending on January 31, 2010. Based on Salesforce.com’s real-time, multitenant architecture, the company’s platform and CRM applications have revolutionized the way companies collaborate and communicate with their customer.

About Revolution Group

Revolution Group, a Premier Plex Systems Implementation Partner and Registered Salesforce.com Partner, has been delivering solid, business-driven IT solutions and services to manufacturers since 1995. Revolution Group combines technology, a broad understanding of business best practices, and the best hardware and software alternatives to help bring clients cost-effective, reliable and scalable solutions. Their expertise in Plex Online implementation ensures clients the competitive advantage that technology promises. For more information, visit www.revolutiongroup.com.

About Plex Systems, Inc.

Plex Systems, Inc. is the developer of Plex Online, a SaaS ERP (software as a service) cloud ERP solution for the manufacturing enterprise. Plex Online offers industry-leading features for virtually every department within a manufacturer, including Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Quality Management Systems (QMS) for the shop floor, Supply Chain Management (SCM) for procurement, and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for finance and management. Plex Online’s comprehensive functional coverage delivers a “shop floor to top floor” view of a manufacturer’s operations, enabling management to run its business at maximum efficiency. Founded in 1995, Plex Systems is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, with customers around the globe. Follow Plex Systems at twitter.com/PlexSystems. More information is available at www.plex.com.

Plex Systems and Plex Online are trademarks of Plex Systems, Inc.

Epicor Unveils On-Demand Carbon Accounting Solution

IRVINE, CA, Dec 15, 2010 – Epicor Software Corporation (NASDAQ: EPIC), a leading provider of enterprise business software solutions for the midmarket and divisions of Global 1000 companies, today announced Epicor Carbon Connect, a software as a service (SaaS)-based carbon accounting solution to help organizations address sustainability and the ever increasing associated government regulations. Epicor Carbon Connect provides companies with the ability to identify, analyze, audit, track, manage, benchmark and report on their carbon emissions/environmental impact and energy consumption.

Coupled with Epicor enterprise resource planning (ERP) utility invoices and production schedules drawn from current or forecasted orders, companies can use Epicor Carbon Connect to calculate expected emissions output and budget for environmental cost factors. Epicor Carbon Connect is a fundamental part of an overall financial management and accounting system to enable companies to engage in emissions accounting for regulatory, public relations, marketing, and operational efficiency purposes.

Automated Reporting Equals Measurable Cost Savings

For the budding green economy to have meaningful impact and sustainable change, organizations must have a valid means of measuring its worth to justify continued investment. Epicor Carbon Connect provides automated reports that demonstrate measurable savings and provide meaningful measurement of sustainability initiatives; this validation translates to justification of further investment and expenditures.

“Financial management applications are the central hub toward effective management of sustainability challenges,” said Matt Muldoon, vice president, product marketing for Epicor. “Deploying an enterprise-class carbon accounting solution in the Cloud will empower our customers to meet evolving reporting and regulatory requirements, while optimizing the performance, cost and value of their governance, compliance and risk efforts.”

Increased Emphasis on Environmental Sustainability

Gartner research vice president Stephen Stokes recommends in his recent report, “Sustainable Business Systems, Part 1: Enterprise Sustainability for the Low-Carbon Economy,” published October 25, 2010, that organizations start developing carbon-emission inventories now. “The emergence of carbon as a newly commoditized asset class, price volatility, uncertainty of a future supply of conventional energy, and concerns over other factors, including an acute focus on energy efficiency, water availability and quality, waste, hazardous chemicals, and product accountability and traceability across the supply chain, have driven sustainability and its attendant business risks up the corporate agenda to an unprecedented level.”

Availability and Pricing

Epicor Carbon Connect is currently scheduled for release in December 2010, on-demand or on-premise, with Epicor’s next-generation ERP suite. Carbon Connect will be available for all other Epicor products as an Extend application.

About Epicor Software Corporation

Epicor Software is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, hospitality and services industries. With 20,000 customers in over 150 countries, Epicor provides integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM) and enterprise retail software solutions that enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. Founded in 1984, Epicor takes pride in more than 25 years of technology innovation delivering business solutions that provide the scalability and flexibility businesses need to build competitive advantage. Epicor provides a comprehensive range of services with a single point of accountability that promotes rapid return on investment and low total cost of ownership, whether operating business on a local, regional or global scale. The Company’s worldwide headquarters are located in Irvine, California with offices and affiliates around the world. For more information, visit www.epicor.com.

Follow Epicor on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Epicor

Epicor is a registered trademark of Epicor Software Corporation. Other trademarks referenced are the property of their respective owners. The product and service offerings depicted in this document are produced by Epicor Software Corporation.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: This document includes descriptions of product functionality that is not presently available. This press release contains certain statements which may constitute forward-looking statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include statements regarding future product releases, growth prospects, and the direction and launch of future functionality and other statements that are not historical fact. These forward-looking statements are based on currently available competitive, financial and economic data together with management’s views and assumptions regarding future events and business performance at the time the statements are made and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to changes in the demand for Epicor’s products; the timely availability and market acceptance of new products and upgrades; the impact of competitive products and pricing; the discovery of undetected software errors; changes in the financial condition of Epicor’s customers; and other factors discussed in Epicor’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009 and quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2010. As a result of these factors the business or prospects expected by Epicor as part of this announcement may not occur. Epicor undertakes no obligation to revise or update publicly any forward-looking statements.

CDC Software Launches its Cloud Discrete ERP Solution on Microsoft Azure Platform in China

SHANGHAI & ATLANTA — CDC Software Corporation (NASDAQ:CDCS – News), a global provider of hybrid enterprise software applications and services, announced today the launch of e-M-POWER On Demand, the first cloud discrete ERP solution offered on the Microsoft Windows Azure platform in China, and one of only three enterprise software solutions currently available on the Azure platform in China.

The launch of e-M-POWER On Demand is the latest move in CDC Software’s plans to expand its growing portfolio of cloud-based solutions and increase recurring software-as-a-service (SaaS) revenue significantly over the next few years. In addition to its cloud acquisitions, CDC Software is also developing its SaaS solutions internally. As a partner of Microsoft, CDC Software plans to develop additional cloud applications on the Windows Azure platform. As previously announced, CDC Software also plans to launch its enterprise complaint management solution, CDC Respond, as a SaaS solution on the Azure platform early next year. The Windows Azure platform is a set of cloud computing services that can be used together, or independently, that enables developers to develop cloud applications.

“The launch of e-M-POWER On Demand, using Windows Azure technology, illustrates the commitment of CDC Software to Microsoft Cloud Services,” said Kathy Lee, Platform Strategy advisor, Microsoft Corporation. “e-M-POWER is the first ERP manufacturing solution using Windows Azure technology available in China. We are excited on our partnership with CDC Software and look forward to working with them on future deliverables on Windows Azure.”

Hong Kong-based Union Energy Industries Limited, a manufacturer of watch components and metal parts with a factory in mainland China, recently implemented e-M-POWER On Demand. According to Louis Li, manager, Corporate Business Development at Union Energy Industries, “We believe that e-M-POWER On Demand provides us with the most up-to-date, sophisticated solution addressing our manufacturing needs while eliminating the burden of costly IT overhead and maintenance. With an On Demand model, we can quickly leverage new ERP features and functionality while maintaining our low cost of ownership.”

“Access to affordable and scalable ERP solutions, like CDC’s e-M-POWER On Demand, is a key contributor to success when it comes to driving to a more efficient business,” says Dan Miklovic, Chief of Research for Sustainable Collaborations Group, a Green and Clean Tech market research firm. “On demand access is giving small to mid-sized firms access to ERP capabilities previously only available to the largest enterprises. SaaS also opens the door to better sustainability for any firm in China. Business efficiency is key to small to medium-sized businesses in China as they strive to become greener and operate in a sustainable way.”

“I am very proud to announce the availability of e-M-POWER On Demand for our China customers,” said Peter Yip, CEO of CDC Software. “Just six months ago, I participated at Microsoft’s press event with Steve Ballmer in Delhi, India where I proclaimed our commitment to developing cloud applications on Windows Azure. Now, we have delivered the first ERP manufacturing SaaS solution utilizing Windows Azure for the China market. Soon, we expect to deliver our cloud-based CDC Respond solution on Windows Azure. These deliverables not only confirm our commitment to Windows Azure, but the strength of our partnership with Microsoft. The e-M-POWER On Demand solution further enhances our already strong SaaS product portfolio, which we believe strengthens our position as a provider of hybrid enterprise solutions offering customers on-premise and cloud deployment options.”

“We also believe that by developing applications using Windows Azure and leveraging our Agile development methodology, we will be able to launch flexible, reliable and scalable cloud applications quickly to the market, and e-M-POWER illustrates that,” said Hilton Law, managing director, China for CDC Software. “By utilizing Azure, CDC Software has the ability to develop SOA-based, multi-tenant architectures with the tools we are already using, and deploy them to a robust platform with staged production, failure-resilience, elastic scalability and self-service provisioning. Our goal is to continue to provide specialized enterprise solutions that directly address our customers’ unique strategic requirements, and at the same time, offer a full range of deployment options, ranging from on premise to on demand and mixed deployments, to suit their current and future needs.”

About e-M-POWER

e-M-POWER On Demand is a SaaS ERP solution specifically tailored for the needs of small-and medium-size discrete manufacturers in China. Its product suite includes Sales, Purchasing, Inventory, Production, Mold Management, Finance, with full integration to ACCPAC, a popular accounting system in China. Customers for e-M-POWER include industries such as electronics, watch, toys and furniture.

About CDC Software

CDC Software (NASDAQ:CDCS – News), The Customer-Driven Company™, is a hybrid enterprise software provider of on-premise and cloud deployments. Leveraging a service-oriented architecture (SOA), CDC Software offers multiple delivery options for their solutions including on-premise, hosted, cloud-based software-as-a service (SaaS) or blended-hybrid deployment offerings. CDC Software’s solutions include enterprise resource planning (ERP), manufacturing operations management, enterprise manufacturing intelligence, supply chain management (demand management, order management and warehouse and transportation management), global trade management, e-Commerce, human capital management, customer relationship management (CRM), complaint management and aged care solutions.

CDC Software’s recent acquisitions are part of its “integrate, innovate and grow” strategy. Fueling the success of this strategy is the company’s global scalable business and technology infrastructure featuring multiple complementary applications and services, domain expertise in vertical markets, cost effective product engineering centers in India and China, a highly collaborative and fast product development process utilizing Agile methodologies, and a worldwide network of direct sales and channel operations. This strategy has helped CDC Software deliver innovative and industry-specific solutions to 10,000 customers worldwide within the manufacturing, distribution, transportation, retail, government, real estate, financial services, health care, and not-for-profit industries. For more information, please visit www.cdcsoftware.com.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Hong Kong was established in 1991.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements relating expectations for our plans and goals for recurring revenues in future periods, our plans relating to the development or acquisition of cloud products, and the timing thereof, our expectations regarding our continuing relationship with Microsoft Corporation, our beliefs regarding e-M-POWER On Demand, including the features and benefits thereof, our beliefs regarding our market position as a provider of hybrid enterprise solutions, our beliefs regarding product development and the Agile process, and other statements that are not historical fact, the achievement of which involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. These statements are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties and changes in circumstances. There are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward looking statements including, among others: the continued ability of our products to address industry and customer requirements; demand for and market acceptance of new and existing solutions; the acceptance of our products in new territories and geographies; the ability and willingness of our partners to fulfill any obligations they may have to us; and the development of new functionalities that would allow customers to operate more effectively. Further information on risks or other factors that could cause results to differ is detailed in our filings or submissions with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2009, filed with the SEC on June 1, 2010, and those of our ultimate parent company, CDC Corporation, located at www.sec.gov. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are based upon information available to management as of the date of this press release, and you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward looking statements which speak only as of the date of this press release. Results may vary from customer to customer, based upon particular facts and circumstances. The company assumes no obligation to update or alter the forward looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Historical results are not indicative of future performance.

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