Wednesday, 7 April 2010
I'm making a habit these days of writing huge comments to good blog posts, and then deciding to turn them into blog posts on my site
Lee Provoost's blog post on Spotify at Dachisgroup was what triggered me to write this lengthy comment, and I've just turned it into this post
Lee's gone back on a music trip to memory lane because he saw cassettes in the Callooh Callay bar's bathroom in London, and making a great comparison from CD
to iTune to Spotify - read the post at Dachis, there are some great points in it
Going back 20 years, the really bad thing was knowingly paying for numbers you didn't like - as of course you listened to the entire LP or CD before you bought it. Maybe you fastforwarded a few, but you listened to every single number before buying the record. Wow. Waste of time? No, actually having a good time and it simply was part of the music-buying experience
The thing I really like about MP3 is that I will just physically delete a song I don't like. Not because it saves space, but simply because I don't want to hear it again. Kick! Out of sight, out of heart
ERP from the Cloud, however? No. Salesforce.com is proving my point, wrote a blog post about that a few months ago and rant about it on a regular basis on Twitter: it's simply not static enough to SaaS highly dynamic business, certainly not on that scale. Salesforce.com is taking so very, very long for Chatter because they are trying to fix a moving target onto a static base. And I wouldn't be surprised at all if Marc Bernioff were to "redefine his ambitions" in the next few weeks. That on a sidenote
Cloud's certainly not the same as outsourcing, but when it comes to plugging in and out of the Cloud with great ease, it must all be similar stuff
You can't outsource manufacturing a car before you specified to death every single part of it, thereby freezing the design in its entirety and only allowing for a bit of bandwidth for the car parts to fluctuate within.
Back to my going back 20 years: paying for parts you don't like is what ERP comes with. You can't start to delete ERP-parts at will unless they've become absurdly cheap (compared to what we are accustomed to now) and completely detached from the monolith we're used to see them in.
They won't become that cheap unless they're "made in China". And they won't be "made in China" unless they've been specified to death and become boringly dull, static stuff. But when they have, we can greatly standardise them and UDDI will finally take off
So, answering Lee's question: primary processes are what make businesses tick. The businesses all support the same business, but just slightly differently so they can nick a few extra customers the competition can't get to. Ask a CEO what makes him or his company so special, and he'll start by saying: "what differentiates us from our competitors is..." - meaning that they all do the same business just slightly differently.
That's why ERP hardly pays off. And that's why Cloud will pay off for storage, virtual machines, networks and such: because the business just doesn't care about that at all. Like you don't care whether your car is manufactured in China, Poland, US or India. You just ordered that very car...
At a higher level, SaaS will service a standardised part of business applications. SaaS and service are the keywords there: it's small, fine-grained, and standardised. Unlike ERP, the big monolithic ball on Atlas' shoulders
I'm sure that System Integrators will loudly applaud the idea of ERP out of the Cloud as they now support SAP because there's great money to be made in implementing and maintaining it. To me that's totally defying the purpose of a package, but then again I haven't seen a package that wasn't customised to a great extend, so maybe that's just today's IT reality? Or business? Or are we all just spoiled rotten, and would we be equally happy when our options are limited to a wide few, like in the car industry?
So maybe we'll not get ERP from the Cloud, but just Cloud Resource Planning. And will that finally help to make the IT industry mature