Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Microservices Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, AppDynamics Blog, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, JP Morgenthal

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, Microservices Journal, Linux, Virtualization, Big Data Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

ERP and Billing Systems that Stall Innovation and Growth | Part 1

Embracing the inherent flexibility of an as-a-services economy requires systems and tools agile and smart enough for the job

The world of enterprise applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and billing, can seem boring to people who are more interested in what is going on at Amazon, Facebook, Google and Twitter, or the latest iPhone or Android application. In the late 1990s when ERP systems first came on the scene, there was plenty of drama and hype. The vendor marketing bravado and cut-throat competition, failed multi-million dollar projects, implementations spanning years and massive cost overruns are still fresh in the minds of many. Who can forget the legendary "moon" on the high seas between SAP's Hasso Plattner and Larry Ellison's Oracle boat? The infamous rivalry and competition between Oracle and SAP continues into this century with a battleground that now spans ERP and also databases. Meanwhile, in the late 2000s, certain venture capitalists (VCs) could not get enough of social media startups focused on consumers or cloud companies focused on Internet merchants. Many of the best minds of the generation were worried about how to make people click ads. Enterprises and enterprise software companies were being ignored by a large faction of the VC and startup community. Today, enterprises are struggling with how to make the enterprise future-ready with systems anchored in a past way of doing business. Many in the VC community now see the reality and are refocused on fundamentals like paying customers and profits. And like history repeating itself, vendors that ignored the needs of real enterprises - and that were perhaps prodded by increasingly impatient investors - are engaging in the same level of marketing bravado we saw in the glory days of ERP, now targeting enterprise customers with solutions built for Internet merchants. In the tradition of our defogging the cloud series, I will attempt to find truth in the noise.

Enterprises of all sizes are grappling with multiple pressures points: scaling the organization on a global basis, cost reduction, regulatory compliance, regional requirements, 360-degree visibility into the business, and agility and efficiency in the selling, contracting and revenue management process. As enterprises expand their existing applications into a mix of on-premise and cloud applications, they are finding that their monolithic ERP and billing systems built for simplistic models cannot handle the divergent needs of the business.

No enterprise can afford to compromise on the speed and flexibility required to respond to a changing and unpredictable business climate. But how do you reconcile the dual requirements of a "single source of truth" for data across the enterprise with efficient interactions with customers, partners and internal organizations using a consumer-like "customer engagement" model? With this as a backdrop, traditional ERP systems are crumbling under the triple pressures of an explosion of services and complexity, time-to-market agility, and lack of visibility for how the business is transacting. The following are the top 10 common issues we hear often from customers:

  1. Inflexible systems make it impossible to offer what we really want to offer.
  2. Any change introduces cost, risk and time.
  3. There is no single source of truth for data.
  4. There is no closed loop across the quote-to-cash (Q2C) process.
  5. Systems are too expensive to maintain.
  6. Systems are too costly to upgrade.
  7. Information is inaccurate across the business.
  8. Processes need to be changed to fit the software.
  9. Acquisitions cannot be easily integrated resulting in more disparate systems.
  10. Regional needs such as regulation, taxation or currency are difficult to support.

Compounding all of this is the new world of everything-as-as-a-service (XaaS), where the definition of a service can quickly become fuzzy. A service no longer looks like the product options of the past, defined precisely by the manufacturer up front. Customers want the freedom to mix and match pieces of different options and essentially create their own new service. After all, while customizing a mass-produced product is a challenge, surely it's easy to fine-tune a service. With an immense scaling up of service types and complexity, there is a requirement for businesses to negotiate deals with customers and partners that are more granular, not less, to the point where almost every billable event might be a micropayment.

Embracing the inherent flexibility of an as-a-services economy requires systems and tools agile and smart enough for the job. As a business matures, it needs to expand its portfolio of services and products, and react quickly to what is happening in the market. The ability to experiment, quickly launching more varied and nuanced business models and new approaches to pricing and billing, is an innovation-enabler that will attract and retain customers. You cannot constrain the business to conform to the limitations and ways of working defined in the ERP and billing systems. In part two of this series, we'll explore how to bring together a single source of truth for data across the enterprise with the need to efficiently interact with customers, partners and internal organizations through a customer engagement model.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda is responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution, product marketing, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of OSS software, now part of Extreme Networks (Nasdaq:EXTR). At Avici Systems (Nasdaq:AVCI), Esmeralda was Vice President of Marketing for the networking pioneer from startup through its successful IPO. Early in her career, she was a Director at IDC, where she led the network consulting practice and worked with startup and leading software and hardware companies, and Wall Street clients on product and market strategies. Esmeralda holds a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Marketing and International Business from Northeastern University.

You can view her other blogs at www.metratech.com/blog.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Once the decision has been made to move part or all of a workload to the cloud, a methodology for selecting that workload needs to be established. How do you move to the cloud? What does the discovery, assessment and planning look like? What workloads make sense? Which cloud model makes sense for each workload? What are the considerations for how to select the right cloud model? And how does that fit in with the overall IT transformation?
Docker is an open platform for developers and sysadmins of distributed applications that enables them to build, ship, and run any app anywhere. Docker allows applications to run on any platform irrespective of what tools were used to build it making it easy to distribute, test, and run software. I found this 5 Minute Docker video, which is very helpful when you want to get a quick and digestible overview. If you want to learn more, you can go to Docker’s web page and start with this Docker intro...
Enterprises are fast realizing the importance of integrating SaaS/Cloud applications, API and on-premises data and processes, to unleash hidden value. This webinar explores how managers can use a Microservice-centric approach to aggressively tackle the unexpected new integration challenges posed by proliferation of cloud, mobile, social and big data projects. Industry analyst and SOA expert Jason Bloomberg will strip away the hype from microservices, and clearly identify their advantages and d...
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the...
Over the years, a variety of methodologies have emerged in order to overcome the challenges related to project constraints. The successful use of each methodology seems highly context-dependent. However, communication seems to be the common denominator of the many challenges that project management methodologies intend to resolve. In this respect, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be viewed as powerful tools for managing projects. Few research papers have focused on the way...
As the world moves from DevOps to NoOps, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. However, applications have been architected with a much tighter coupling than it needs to be which makes deployment in different environments and migration between them harder. The microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, Netflix and so on is at the heart of CloudFoundry – a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading in...
The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential. The DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo – to be held June 3-5, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City – will expand the DevOps community, enable a wide...
There’s a lot of discussion around managing outages in production via the likes of DevOps principles and the corresponding software development lifecycles that does enable higher quality output from development, however, one cannot lay all blame for “bugs” and failures at the feet of those responsible for coding and development. As developers incorporate features and benefits of these paradigm shift, there is a learning curve and a point of not-knowing-what-is-not-known. Sometimes, the only way ...
There is no question that the cloud is where businesses want to host data. Until recently hypervisor virtualization was the most widely used method in cloud computing. Recently virtual containers have been gaining in popularity, and for good reason. In the debate between virtual machines and containers, the latter have been seen as the new kid on the block – and like other emerging technology have had some initial shortcomings. However, the container space has evolved drastically since coming on...
How can you compare one technology or tool to its competitors? Usually, there is no objective comparison available. So how do you know which is better? Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA? Java EE or Spring? C# or Java? All you can usually find is a holy war and biased comparisons on vendor sites. But luckily, sometimes, you can find a fair comparison. How does this come to be? By having it co-authored by the stakeholders. The binary repository comparison matrix is one of those rare resources. It is edite...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to DevOps Summit 2015 as Conference Chair. The 4th International DevOps Summit will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited to help the great team at ...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding bu...
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immed...
T-Mobile has been transforming the wireless industry with its “Uncarrier” initiatives. Today as T-Mobile’s IT organization works to transform itself in a like manner, technical foundations built over the last couple of years are now key to their drive for more Agile delivery practices. In his session at DevOps Summit, Martin Krienke, Sr Development Manager at T-Mobile, will discuss where they started their Continuous Delivery journey, where they are today, and where they are going in an effort ...
Container frameworks, such as Docker, provide a variety of benefits, including density of deployment across infrastructure, convenience for application developers to push updates with low operational hand-holding, and a fairly well-defined deployment workflow that can be orchestrated. Container frameworks also enable a DevOps approach to application development by cleanly separating concerns between operations and development teams. But running multi-container, multi-server apps with containers ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseDB (EDB), the leading worldwide provider of enterprise-class Postgres products and database compatibility solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EDB is the largest provider of Postgres software and services that provides enterprise-class performance and scalability and the open source freedom to divert budget from more costly traditiona...
Do you think development teams really update those BMC Remedy tickets with all the changes contained in a release? They don't. Most of them just "check the box" and move on. They rose a Risk Level that won't raise questions from the Change Control managers and they work around the checks and balances. The alternative is to stop and wait for a department that still thinks releases are rare events. When a release happens every day there's just not enough time for people to attend CAB meeting...
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud en...
I’ve been thinking a bit about microservices (μServices) recently. My immediate reaction is to think: “Isn’t this just yet another new term for the same stuff, Web Services->SOA->APIs->Microservices?” Followed shortly by the thought, “well yes it is, but there are some important differences/distinguishing factors.” Microservices is an evolutionary paradigm born out of the need for simplicity (i.e., get away from the ESB) and alignment with agile (think DevOps) and scalable (think Containerizati...