Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, PagerDuty Blog, Christopher Keene, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @BigDataExpo

@CloudExpo: 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 VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, 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 resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at DevOps Summit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, cutting-edge enterprise web applications for desktop and mobile. SmartClient combines the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simp...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, 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 world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...

Modern organizations face great challenges as they embrace innovation and integrate new tools and services. They begin to mature and move away from the complacency of maintaining traditional technologies and systems that only solve individual, siloed problems and work “well enough.” In order to build...

The post Gearing up for Digital Transformation appeared first on Aug. 31, 2016 06:15 PM EDT  Reads: 1,738

Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Thomas Bitman of Gartner wrote a blog post last year about why OpenStack projects fail. In that article, he outlined three particular metrics which together cause 60% of OpenStack projects to fall short of expectations: Wrong people (31% of failures): a successful cloud needs commitment both from the operations team as well as from "anchor" tenants. Wrong processes (19% of failures): a successful cloud automates across silos in the software development lifecycle, not just within silos.
As the world moves toward more DevOps and Microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. 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 Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. Serverless computing is revolutionizing computing. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Raghav...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
This complete kit provides a proven process and customizable documents that will help you evaluate rapid application delivery platforms and select the ideal partner for building mobile and web apps for your organization.
The following fictional case study is a composite of actual horror stories I’ve heard over the years. Unfortunately, this scenario often occurs when in-house integration teams take on the complexities of DevOps and ALM integration with an enterprise service bus (ESB) or custom integration. It is written from the perspective of an enterprise architect tasked with leading an organization’s effort to adopt Agile to become more competitive. The company has turned to Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) as ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, a leading provider of middleware modernization, integration, and management solutions, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware evolution products and services that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
This is a no-hype, pragmatic post about why I think you should consider architecting your next project the way SOA and/or microservices suggest. No matter if it’s a greenfield approach or if you’re in dire need of refactoring. Please note: considering still keeps open the option of not taking that approach. After reading this, you will have a better idea about whether building multiple small components instead of a single, large component makes sense for your project. This post assumes that you...
Monitoring of Docker environments is challenging. Why? Because each container typically runs a single process, has its own environment, utilizes virtual networks, or has various methods of managing storage. Traditional monitoring solutions take metrics from each server and applications they run. These servers and applications running on them are typically very static, with very long uptimes. Docker deployments are different: a set of containers may run many applications, all sharing the resource...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Node.js and io.js are increasingly being used to run JavaScript on the server side for many types of applications, such as websites, real-time messaging and controllers for small devices with limited resources. For DevOps it is crucial to monitor the whole application stack and Node.js is rapidly becoming an important part of the stack in many organizations. Sematext has historically had a strong support for monitoring big data applications such as Elastic (aka Elasticsearch), Cassandra, Solr, S...
There's a lot of things we do to improve the performance of web and mobile applications. We use caching. We use compression. We offload security (SSL and TLS) to a proxy with greater compute capacity. We apply image optimization and minification to content. We do all that because performance is king. Failure to perform can be, for many businesses, equivalent to an outage with increased abandonment rates and angry customers taking to the Internet to express their extreme displeasure.
Before becoming a developer, I was in the high school band. I played several brass instruments - including French horn and cornet - as well as keyboards in the jazz stage band. A musician and a nerd, what can I say? I even dabbled in writing music for the band. Okay, mostly I wrote arrangements of pop music, so the band could keep the crowd entertained during Friday night football games. What struck me then was that, to write parts for all the instruments - brass, woodwind, percussion, even k...
Right off the bat, Newman advises that we should "think of microservices as a specific approach for SOA in the same way that XP or Scrum are specific approaches for Agile Software development". These analogies are very interesting because my expectation was that microservices is a pattern. So I might infer that microservices is a set of process techniques as opposed to an architectural approach. Yet in the book, Newman clearly includes some elements of concept model and architecture as well as p...

Let's just nip the conflation of these terms in the bud, shall we?

"MIcro" is big these days. Both microservices and microsegmentation are having and will continue to have an impact on data center architecture, but not necessarily for the same reasons. There's a growing trend in which folks - particularly those with a network background - conflate the two and use them to mean the same thing.

They are not.

One is about the application. The other, the network. T...