Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Aruna Ravichandran, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Cameron Van Orman

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
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
Digital transformation leaders have poured tons of money and effort into coding in recent years. And with good reason. To succeed at digital, you must be able to write great code. You also have to build a strong Agile culture so your coding efforts tightly align with market signals and business outcomes. But if your investments in testing haven’t kept pace with your investments in coding, you’ll lose. But if your investments in testing haven’t kept pace with your investments in coding, you’ll...
Containers are rapidly finding their way into enterprise data centers, but change is difficult. How do enterprises transform their architecture with technologies like containers without losing the reliable components of their current solutions? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Tony Campbell, Director, Educational Services at CoreOS, will explore the challenges organizations are facing today as they move to containers and go over how Kubernetes applications can deploy with lega...
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. 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 w...
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable? Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, will answer these questions and demonstrate techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Burley, a Senior Business Development Executive in IT Services at NetApp, will describe how NetApp designed a three-year program of work to migrate 25PB of a major telco's enterprise data to a new STaaS platform, and then secured a long-term contract to manage and operate the platform. This significant program blended the best of NetApp’s solutions and services capabilities to enable this telco’s successful adoption of private cloud storage and launchi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the leading technology training platform for enterprise multi-cloud infrastructure. Cloud Academy is trusted by leading companies to deliver continuous learning solutions across Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most...
The last two years has seen discussions about cloud computing evolve from the public / private / hybrid split to the reality that most enterprises will be creating a complex, multi-cloud strategy. Companies are wary of committing all of their resources to a single cloud, and instead are choosing to spread the risk – and the benefits – of cloud computing across multiple providers and internal infrastructures, as they follow their business needs. Will this approach be successful? How large is the ...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
Many organizations adopt DevOps to reduce cycle times and deliver software faster; some take on DevOps to drive higher quality and better end-user experience; others look to DevOps for a clearer line-of-sight to customers to drive better business impacts. In truth, these three foundations go together. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 21st Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, industry experts will discuss how leading organizations build application success from all...
DevSecOps – a trend around transformation in process, people and technology – is about breaking down silos and waste along the software development lifecycle and using agile methodologies, automation and insights to help get apps to market faster. This leads to higher quality apps, greater trust in organizations, less organizational friction, and ultimately a five-star customer experience. These apps are the new competitive currency in this digital economy and they’re powered by data. Without ...
A common misconception about the cloud is that one size fits all. Companies expecting to run all of their operations using one cloud solution or service must realize that doing so is akin to forcing the totality of their business functionality into a straightjacket. Unlocking the full potential of the cloud means embracing the multi-cloud future where businesses use their own cloud, and/or clouds from different vendors, to support separate functions or product groups. There is no single cloud so...
For most organizations, the move to hybrid cloud is now a question of when, not if. Fully 82% of enterprises plan to have a hybrid cloud strategy this year, according to Infoholic Research. The worldwide hybrid cloud computing market is expected to grow about 34% annually over the next five years, reaching $241.13 billion by 2022. Companies are embracing hybrid cloud because of the many advantages it offers compared to relying on a single provider for all of their cloud needs. Hybrid offers bala...
With the modern notion of digital transformation, enterprises are chipping away at the fundamental organizational and operational structures that have been with us since the nineteenth century or earlier. One remarkable casualty: the business process. Business processes have become so ingrained in how we envision large organizations operating and the roles people play within them that relegating them to the scrap heap is almost unimaginable, and unquestionably transformative. In the Digital ...
These days, APIs have become an integral part of the digital transformation journey for all enterprises. Every digital innovation story is connected to APIs . But have you ever pondered over to know what are the source of these APIs? Let me explain - APIs sources can be varied, internal or external, solving different purposes, but mostly categorized into the following two categories. Data lakes is a term used to represent disconnected but relevant data that are used by various business units wit...
The nature of the technology business is forward-thinking. It focuses on the future and what’s coming next. Innovations and creativity in our world of software development strive to improve the status quo and increase customer satisfaction through speed and increased connectivity. Yet, while it's exciting to see enterprises embrace new ways of thinking and advance their processes with cutting edge technology, it rarely happens rapidly or even simultaneously across all industries.
It has never been a better time to be a developer! Thanks to cloud computing, deploying our applications is much easier than it used to be. How we deploy our apps continues to evolve thanks to cloud hosting, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and now Function-as-a-Service. FaaS is the concept of serverless computing via serverless architectures. Software developers can leverage this to deploy an individual "function", action, or piece of business logic. They are expected to start within milliseconds...
With the rise of DevOps, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in Enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery for the business. When it comes to adopting containers in the enterprise, security is the highest adoption barrier. Is your organization ready to address the security risks with containers for your DevOps environment? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Van Tuin, Chief Technologist, NA West at Red Hat, will discuss: The top security r...
Most of the time there is a lot of work involved to move to the cloud, and most of that isn't really related to AWS or Azure or Google Cloud. Before we talk about public cloud vendors and DevOps tools, there are usually several technical and non-technical challenges that are connected to it and that every company needs to solve to move to the cloud. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Stefano Bellasio, CEO and founder of Cloud Academy Inc., will discuss what the tools, disciplines, and cultural...