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Are the big ERP behemoths making life difficult for CIOs?

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Are the big ERP behemoths making life difficult for CIOs? 

Upon hearing about the traumatic licensing ordeal that Specsavers went through with Oracle (which you can read in full here), I’m reminded of two things concerning the relationship between the suppliers of ERP software and their clients.

Firstly, there’s the shared frustration that buyers seem to face when dealing with these big vendors – or “transaction-based organisations”, as Specsaver’s CIO Phil Pavit describes them – and the damaging misinformation this negative portrayal can put upon businesses who are undecided when it comes to adopting a new software solution.

The second thing is that old saying in business, that you should always ‘practice what you preach’. After all, ERP software is about enabling improvements across key business areas, one of which is customer relationship management. Had Oracle provided the same levels of customer service and flexibility, maybe the whole experience would have been a lot better for Specsavers.

And Specsavers is not alone. Research from the Campaign for Clear Licensing (CCL) revealed more than 100 surveyed customers said Oracle did not clearly communicate its methods and changes to licensing models; with comparisons being made with the likes of SAP and IBM, which are noted for treating customers like “cash-cows”, rather than providing the right deal for the organisation. Again, you should check out the links in the original article and read the opinions for yourself in full. But it’s evident that CIOs are getting more and more frustrated when dealing with these big vendors, something which mainly appears to be an outcome of lacking customer-focus.

Restoring clarity and confidence with cloud based ERP 

So where does this leave the rest us, the smaller vendors? Well, for one, it reaffirms everything we already believe and put into practice when it comes to working with all our customers – that clarity and transparency instills confidence.

One of the things that infuriates many CIOs is the way in which, over time, the issue of software licenses becomes markedly more complicated, with products changing names and, more importantly, software vendors making subtle amendments to the terms and conditions with each upgrade or release. For a CIO to be able to clearly understand what they are buying, where their money is being spent, and to have absolute long term confidence in what they have purchased is very important.

Cloud computing provides a viable alternative to onsite legacy systems at a lower cost, sure, but it’s the newfound transparency surrounding user licensing that makes life a whole lot easier for concerned CIOs. The simplicity of a cloud-based subscription model removes the complexities found in legacy vendors, specifically the issues regarding compliancy with license ownership.

As CIO of Hillarys’ Julian Bond puts it, “If you buy a car every five years, just because you bought it, you don’t expect to get a new one. But if I’ve been paying another quarter [of the purchase price] every year to keep it up to date, I’m expecting a darn-fine trade-in when it comes to moving across to the latest version of it.” This was in relation to the retailer having to pick through the incredibly complex licensing model of ERP behemoth SAP, specifically when it came to complying with upgrades and licensing changes and the struggle to see exactly what was going on.

It’s little wonder, therefore, that organisations have increasingly turned to cloud computing as an alternative, provided by specialised vendors who have more time for their clients.

NoBlue provides NetSuite which is a single solution to support all your company’s back office processes including ERP (financials, inventory, order management, etc.), customer relationship management and eCommerce.

 Recent new NetSuite customers include WHSmith, Pret A Manger and Deliveroo. Read more about how they are using NetSuite here.

 If you’d like to discuss how integrated ERP can improve your customer management, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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