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back to article Oracle, SAP under attack: How cloud upstarts steal their lunch

After more than 20 years coining it, the Goliaths of the lucrative enterprise software world are about to meet their Davids: nimble rivals touting technology at a sensible price. And as we shall see, with customers jumping on cheaper services, ultimately the giants could be destroyed by their reliance on expensive support …

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Anonymous Coward

IBM?

Wot no mention of IBM and their exorbitant licensing models, also with extremely high maintenance fees... They're a bit more tricky to remove due to execs thinking they're the best when their software seldom works let alone as advertised.

They also factor in massive consultancy fees, for which you could buy a small company, let alone a flaky product that doesn't work...

Anon as I have to deal with them a lot and rip into their products & charges...

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Re: IBM?

Hey John. How's it going?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IBM?

A couple of years ago, I heard what my company had spent in its big brand name ERP implementation. After a few seconds to recover from the shock, I said exactly the same thing: you could have built your own ERP with that money, and probably make some money out of selling it to other non competitors if it was good enough. And trust me, it is not difficult to create an ERP that is better than the 10% of the gigantic ERP my company is running.

The only problem was, what was the company going to do during the few years while we were burning all that cash to create the ERP? Open question, really, this is something that has left me puzzled since then.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IBM?

Yes, but the problem with that plan is not that large company XYZ cannot build an ERP system or even build an ERP system better than the big ERP providers for your business. The problem is that no one wants to pay for the constant maintenance, extension, revision when they are doing pretty standard processes, like accounting. Every time Belgium, or insert country of choice, makes a tax rule change, which happens in every country, every year, all of the companies out there don't independently want to re-write part of their accounting applications. Likewise with every regulation. It actually is less expensive, over time, to buy commercial software. Not to mention if the guys who wrote the apps start to leave, it is always a problem getting the new people to understand the old team's documentation, assuming there is documentation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IBM?

A best of breed approach usually works best. Develop the things which are unique to a business, buy the common processes which the same everywhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IBM?

Let me tell you a little secret: big companies using big brand ERP packages face exactly the same problem. Why? Because they have customized their ERPs so much that any changes introduced by the vendor, as part of tax law or anything else, usually don't get merged without extensive testing, if they ever get in at all.

That is, if and when the ERP vendor actually introduces any changes to comply with any legal requirements. Most of them dismiss these changes as just configuration adjustements in their 14.000 table ERP configuration.

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"new features are rolled out at the flip a switch [...]"

Ah, the magic of the Cloud (tm).

As if there wasn't an army of coders hammering away at the code in order for some admin drone to be able to "flip the switch".

And we've seen some pretty ugly results already when the "magic" of the Cloud meets the grim reality of load balancing and other server-side issues (hey Microsoft, any word on Azure clients' web site restore ?).

Let's keep our feet on the ground, shall we ? It may be "someone else's data center", but that in no way changes anything about the number of coders involved nor does it diminish in any way the dangers of rolling out an update or a new functionality.

The BIG difference is that, when it goes down (and it does), you will have no control over when it comes back up nor what state it will be in (eh, Azure users ?).

THAT is the reality of the Cloud.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "new features are rolled out at the flip a switch [...]"

No, the reality of the cloud is that you get some service for a price. Yes, cloud has its drawbacks as you mention, but it's all about a business decision where realistically you have to compare the benefits and costs and decide.

Yes, clouds go down. So does the internal company infrastructure. Now compare the downtime, the costs and decide. Not saying that cloud will always be the best option, but saying the opposite is equally wrong.

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Re: "new features are rolled out at the flip a switch [...]"

>>The BIG difference is that, when it goes down (and it does), you will have no control over when it comes back up nor what state it will be in (eh, Azure users ?). <<

Can't say about the others, but I've seen a similar issue with SAP hosted on an external site. It was down for some time and when it did eventually come back up, ran like a three legged dog for several days. Tried to estimate the cost to the business; probably over $50k, unlikely more than $75k (but not certain). We never did get any refund of our fees. But that was for an SME; I've heard of far worse cases.

That doesn't mean that internal is always best; you pays your money, you makes your choice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "new features are rolled out at the flip a switch [...]"

I've seen similar problems with cloud solutions which go wrong leaving disaster in their trail. The performance one is also a problem and some suppliers seem to think they can get away with delivering poor performance, knowing that it is difficult for the business to move away.

Don't get me wrong, SAP and the like have there problems but with all the integrated system built around them your usually much better off running the thing yourself.

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WTF?

Bad Business Model

---NetSuite's revenue for 2012 was up 30 per cent year on year to $308.82m, although it made a net loss of $35.23m, slipping slightly further into the red from 2011's $32m loss. Salesforce's revenue for the year ended 31 January 2013 was $3bn, up 35 per cent year on year, although it made a loss of $270m, surpassing the previous 12 months' $11m loss.--

Have these companies made a profit on previous years?? Wil the bubble burst in the next dotcom crash??

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Devil

Re: Bad Business Model

I guess that depends,

Do the losses mean that they are unable to make money.

Or does it mean they guessed the yearly profit wrong and paid too much to the "Salesforce (Cayman Islands)" company that licenses all the IP for reasons that are not at all to do with avoiding corporation tax.

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A few facts...

Gavin: This article conveniently ignores the past three years of SAP's ongoing push into the cloud in order to support a one-sided, distorted story line. The description of SuccessFactors merely as a "management software biz" -- with no mention that it is the biggest cloud apps company in terms of users -- is selective disclosure betraying the article's editorial bias. For anyone interested in the 2013 facts, SAP is a major player in the cloud today – with over 24 million cloud users, the number one cloud-based commerce network, a €900 million revenue run rate, and among the most comprehensive portfolio of cloud applications available. Choose whatever dog you wish in this fight, but you insult your readers by so blatantly distorting the full picture.

[Posted by James Dever, SAP Global Communications]

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Re: A few facts...

Some more up-to-date info on SAP in the cloud, from today's New York Times: "SAP Takes It All to the Cloud"

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/07/sap-takes-it-all-to-the-cloud/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A few facts...

You did not address the issue of licensing and maintenance costs, with the cloud offer if you feel like. Is it going to be cheaper for the poor customer ?

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Anonymous Coward

Race to the crappiest GUI

It's been a number of years since I used SAP's GUI, but I thought it was pretty horrible. Shop floor workers needed a lot of training to be able to understand it's esoteric names for things and navigation methods. Suffice to say, I didn't rate the UI.

Where I work now we use Salesforce (aka. Failforce, FailFarce, etc). The UI on there is quite possibly the worse I've ever seen. It's so bad as to be unproductive.

For all those people moving from SAP to Salesforce, it's a case of "out of the pan and into the fire". It's sad that we're unlikely to see a real agile upstart company encroach on these old dogs space - if we did though, we might see a GUI that doesn't suck, and get the actual productivity boost that comes of it.

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Re: Race to the crappiest GUI

I too will second the salesforce comments, I'm told Dynamics is lovely but haven't got the time to explore.

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