MUFI Rating & Risk – Oracle BI

MUFI Rating & Risk – Oracle BI

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: Oracle (Select For Vendor Profile)

Introduction

Oracle BI is rebadged Hyperion, which was acquired by Oracle in 2007.

Application Detail

Oracle BI is a high maintenance product. Along with the other large acquired BI vendors like Oracle BI and IBM Cognos, Business Objects that have received little investment since their joint 2007 acquisitions, Business Objects is on the wrong side of the self-service/maintenance continuum. Oracle BI increasingly has scalability problems as its code ages, and it is not able to keep up with other BI platforms which are more advanced under the covers. However, it does still have a good user interface and a logical layout, and that may be why it still scores well in buyer satisfaction.

Oracle BI

We found Oracle BI to be tedious use. It’s an older generation product with moderate to poor productivity, which is often associated with being a leading edge product because of Oracle’s good reputation in databases. However, developing a good relational database and a good BI platform are not the same thing, as evidenced by the fact that Oracle was not able to build it own BI platform but had to acquire one. The reports Oracle can generate are uninspiring, and the observations that can be gained from them quite limited. We don’t include many screenshots because anything that can be done in Oracle BI can be done better and faster in other BI applications. There are no “best” things to highlight. 

Seeing Oracle BI versus the newer BI applications, it is clear how BI applications have progressed throughout the years. Unfortunately, Oracle BI is the “before” picture, that is the old picture you find in the attic where you can’t believe what your family members were wearing.

This is too often the same story with Oracle. Its products are old acquisitions which have not been upgraded, while Oracle continues to be either the most challenging software vendor or one of the most challenging software vendors to deal with. The only way to top it off would be to buy Oracle BI and then hire a significant consulting company to implement the application. This would achieve the maximum TCO with one of the worst technologies at the second longest implementation time assuring failure in multiple dimensions.

Oracle makes a great deal of sales noise about what a long history it has in databases – and it does. But it does not have a long history in analytics, and it seriously lags other BI knowledge. As with most acquisitions, the employees of the Hyperion acquisition have been subordinated to the Oracle monster, many have left, and those that remain have had their opinions devalued by executive decision makers with no analytics background. The advice given by Oracle concerning BI is so poor that they should never be relied upon for anything other than tactical configuration work. Oracle continually makes claims regarding its BI platform/functionality that turns out to be not particularly relevant to practical BI usage, and therefore are far less than advertised. They are not an innovator in the BI space but are one of the nosiest vendors in BI, and one of their strategies is announcing this or that high specification usage of Oracle BI (see our article on Fake Innovators).

They are all style over substance with much of their marketing directed towards low information buyers. Oracle’s biggest market for Oracle BI is of course “Oracle Shops,” but also clients that don’t have a good understanding of BI and how to differentiate between the different vendors and technologies — BI has extremely little to do with relational database technologies. Looking at how long in the tooth Oracle BI is, and how we can predict it will receive either no or insufficient development, that Oracle, as IBM will be searching for a BI acquisition. Oracle BI is not a serious alternative for buyers, and a purchase is a virtual guarantee of a bad outcome.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

Vendor and Application Risk

Oracle BI is an average product but from a difficult to deal with the vendor. Consulting for the implementation will most frequently come from a major consulting company. Therefore the implementation will be expensive. Expectations should be kept in line with the product. Oracle has a powerful brand in the marketplace, but Oracle BI only has models capabilities.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

Risk Management Approach

Buyers should be careful not to allow the decision to purchase of Oracle BI to influence other purchases, on the basis that they will “integrate” to Oracle BI. Oracle BI/Hyperion has been around for some time, meaning that independent consultants can be found to do the work and offer opinions on the best way forward. Oracle and the major consulting companies they outsource their work to can’t be trusted to look out for the buyer’s interests, and neither entity will every contradict the other as they are tied at the hip at the highest levels. Getting an independent viewpoint will be a precious addition to risk management, and we predict that buyers that do this will get a lower priced and higher quality implementation.

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the BI Heavy software category. Or go to this link to see other analytical products for Oracle BI.

MUFI Rating & Risk – Sage X3

MUFI Rating & Risk – Sage X3

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: Sage (Select For Vendor Profile)

Introduction

Sage is one of the few enterprise software vendors we cover that is not based in the US. Sage is based in the UK and is the most popular ERP vendor for smaller businesses, although they have very few customers above this level.

Sage, like Infor, has quite a few ERP products. These are Sage 100, Sage Advanced ERP, Sage 500 ERP, Sage 300 ERP and Sage ERP X3. Sage is phasing out or sunsetting Sage 500, and the flagship ERP for Sage is to be Sage X3, and in fact, this is the only ERP system that Sage promotes on its website.

Application Detail

While Sage offers a full ERP system, but its accounting module is the most highly regarded of all its ERP modules. The overall ERP application has a very lightweight feel and is easy to use. The reporting capability of ERP system is one of the best out there, as is its workflow capabilities. This allows users to determine the step in the process that a financial object is in – a very valuable capability.

Sage X3 is browser-based – meaning that it is extremely easy to create shortcuts to areas of functionality within any browser. This leverages the bookmark functionality of browsers, which is far better than trying to rebuild this bookmark functionality within the application. And actually, we have yet to see any ERP system, except for ERPNext, which has better bookmark functionality than a browser (of course because ERPNext is also browser-based, one can use the browser’s bookmarks in addition to the applications’ bookmarks)

Most of the initial screens are just web pages and come with a great deal of instruction as to what to do. Forms are quick and logical to understand and come with links for more explanation. Something we have been asking for in all applications regardless of the software category is a search box, allowing all of the functionality to be searched comes standard with Sage X3, greatly improving user productivity.

Sage X3 is overall a very forward thinking application, which puts ERP systems like SAP and Oracle to shame when it comes to usability and user productivity.

Sage X3 scores well on the speed of implementation as well. We estimate they will take longer than Rootstock and ERPNext, our implementation time leaders, but as Sage is a more complex product than Rootstock, the comparison is not apples to apples. Sage would be the fastest implementing ERP system, which is towards the more complex end of the spectrum. In fact, the speed of implementation that is reported to us leaves us scratching our head – and leaves vendors like Epicor, Oracle – that is other ERP applications in the same category looking quite slow.

A major benefit is of course not being implemented by the major consulting companies which our research shows greatly extends out the length of the implementation – however, Epicor is also generally not promoted by major consulting companies, and Sage implementations are still quite fast in comparison.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

Vendor and Application Risk

Software Decisions Risk Defined: (See This Link for Our Categorization of Risk)

Sage X3 is similar to Infor Lawson in that the system is a good application which rates well for implement ability, but the software vendors are towards the weaker side regarding consulting and organizationally overall.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

Risk Management Approach

Risk management for Sage X3 should be focused on getting the right resources and managing these resources. Sage has grown into a software conglomerate, and its sales arm will try to use Sage X3 to pitch other applications, and it is emulating SAP and Oracle in this regard.

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the Big ERP software category. Or go to this link to see other analytical products for Sage X3.

References

Brightwork MRP & S&OP Explorer for Tuning

Tuning ERP and External Planning Systems with Brightwork Explorer

MRP and supply planning systems require tuning in order to get the most out of them. Brightwork MRP & S&OP Explorer provides this tuning, which is free to use in the beginning until is sees “serious usage,” and is free for students and academics. See by clicking the image below:

Software Selection Book

SELECTION

Enterprise Software Selection: How to Pinpoint the Perfect Software Solution Using Multiple Sources of Information

What the Book Covers

Essential reading for success in your next software selection and implementation.

Software selection is the most important task in a software implementation project, as it is your best (if not only) opportunity to make sure that the right software—the software that matches the business requirements—is being implemented. Choosing the software that is the best fit clears the way for a successful implementation, yet software selection is often fraught with issues and many companies do not end up with the best software for their needs. However, the process can be greatly simplified by addressing the information sources that influence software selection. This book can be used for any enterprise software selection, including ERP software selection.

This book is a how-to guide for improving the software selection process and is formulated around the idea that—much like purchasing decisions for consumer products—the end user and those with the domain expertise must be included. In addition to providing hints for refining the software selection process, this book delves into the often-overlooked topic of how consulting and IT analyst firms influence the purchasing decision, and gives the reader an insider’s understanding of the enterprise software market.

This book is connected to several other SCM Focus Press books including Enterprise Software TCO and The Real Story Behind ERP.

By reading this book you will:

  • Learn how to apply a scientific approach to the software selection process.
  • Interpret vendor-supplied information to your best advantage. This is generally left out of books on software selection. However, consulting companies and IT analysts like Gartner have very specific biases. Gartner is paid directly by software vendors — a fact they make every attempt not to disclose while consulting companies only recommend software for vendors that give them the consulting business. Consulting companies all have an enormous financial bias that prevents them from offering honest advice — and this is part of their business model.
  • Understand what motivates a software vendor.
  • Learn how the institutional structure and biases of consulting firms affect the advice they give you, and understand how to properly interpret information from consulting companies.
  • Make vendor demos work to your benefit.
  • Know the right questions to ask on topics such as integration with existing software, cloud versus on-premise vendors, and client references.
  • Differentiate what is important to know about software for improved “implement-ability” versus what the vendor thinks is important for improved “sell-ability.”
  • Better manage your software selection projects to ensure smoother implementations.

Buy Now

Chapters

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to Software Selection
  • Chapter 2: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
  • Chapter 3: Software Sell-ability versus Implement-ability
  • Chapter 4: How to Use Consulting Advice on Software Selection
  • Chapter 5: How to Use the Reports of Analyst Firms Like Gartner
  • Chapter 6: How to Use Information Provided by Vendors
  • Chapter 7: How to Manage the Software Selection Process

Enterprise Software TCO Calculator – Sage X3

How it Works

Fill out the form below for a your customized TCO calculation, as well as each of the supporting cost components that make up the TCO. The form does not have a “beginning or end.” The form is constantly calculating, so feel free to make constant changes and the application will auto-adjust.

Details

  • Vendor Name: Sage Group PLC (See for Vendor Rating)
  • Software Category: Big ERP
  • Company Headquarters: North Park, Newcastle Upon Tynem NE13 9AA
  • Site: http://www.sage.com
  • Contact number +44 (191) 294.3000
  • Delivery Mechanism: OnPremises

Finished With Your Analysis?

Once complete, goto this link to see other analytical products for Sage X3.

Project Planning Package – Sage X3

How it Works

Fill out the form below for your project planning estimate. The form does not have a “beginning or end.” The form is constantly calculating, so feel free to make constant changes and the application will auto-adjust.

Details

  • Vendor Name: Sage Group PLC (See for Vendor Rating)
  • Software Category: Big ERP
  • Company Headquarters: North Park, Newcastle Upon Tynem NE13 9AA
  • Site: http://www.sage.com
  • Contact number +44 (191) 294.3000
  • Delivery Mechanism: OnPremises

Finished With Your Analysis?

Once complete, go to this link to see other analytical products for Sage X3.

References

Risk Book

Software RiskRethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Better Managing Software Risk

The software implementation is risky business and success is not a certainty. But you can reduce risk with the strategies in this book. Undertaking software selection and implementation without approximating the project’s risk is a poor way to make decisions about either projects or software. But that’s the way many companies do business, even though 50 percent of IT implementations are deemed failures.

Finding What Works and What Doesn’t

In this book, you will review the strategies commonly used by most companies for mitigating software project risk–and learn why these plans don’t work–and then acquire practical and realistic strategies that will help you to maximize success on your software implementation.

Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 3: The Basics of Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 4: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
Chapter 5: Software Sell-ability versus Implementability
Chapter 6: Selecting the Right IT Consultant
Chapter 7: How to Use the Reports of Analysts Like Gartner
Chapter 8: How to Interpret Vendor-Provided Information to Reduce Project Risk
Chapter 9: Evaluating Implementation Preparedness
Chapter 10: Using TCO for Decision Making
Chapter 11: The Software Decisions’ Risk Component Model

Honest Vendor Ratings – Sage

Introduction

Sage has been a value-driven software vendor for quite a number of years but given our exposure to Sage buyers, and the activities within the company are actually concerned about Sage’s future. Without a change in management, Sage can within five years become a vendor with serious problems and an acquisition target.

Sage is another follower of growth through acquisition, which we consider a low-quality path to growth. As with JDA, this has lead to the purchase of software vendors with duplicate functionality – which is a sign of a vendor, which is making acquisitions not for the software but as a way to purchase customers.

Quality of Information Provided

Sage is similar to Epicor and Infor in that their size versus their market opportunity is not positive, which means that salespeople are tripping over themselves and dealing with them as a customer means being perpetually pitched new products. This will always bode poorly for the accuracy of information that is received from sales, but it has not come back to bite Sage in the same way as some of the other software vendors that are in similar predicaments. In reviewing multiple documents available at Sage’s website, we found quite a few unsupported contentions made within them. Statements like this one…

“Well-run, global organizations are increasingly adopting a two-tier enterprise resource planning (ERP) strategy.”

Without any reference or evidence were easy to find. Therefore, Sage’s published material should not be considered a reliable source of information.

Consulting and Support

While we do not have the statistics to prove that Sage has high turnover, given what employees say about the company, it appears that low pay below the industry standard leads to early departures. This is negatively affecting consulting and support. Sage has also been one of the most aggressive ERP vendors in outsourcing support to countries where English is a second language. Its amazing to us that so many ERP software vendors are so expensive, and yet outsource their support to India. This is true of the giants in the ERP market as well such as SAP and Oracle. However, these costs savings don’t ever seem to get passed on to the buyers. All of these decisions are showing in Sage’s reduced ability to provide support. This is yet another in a string of short-term oriented decisions that are eroding Sage’s reputation and ability to deliver on sales promises.

Internal Efficiency

We reduced their rating in several areas because Sage’s strategy may yield short-term results, but it is traveling down a lower quality path, and we consider it one of the most likely of the ERP vendors to continue to lose market share. Buyers have to consider two countervailing factors – one is the fact that Sage has some good products, but the other is that Sage as a company is far less impressive than its product database.

A poor management team more focused on personal enrichment than on maintaining a sustainable and dynamic company is causing Sage to shrink, even with a quality product. There is also some question as to whether Sage is dedicated to continuing to develop their ERP product or if it to be treated as a cash cow.

Recently Sage made an acquisition. They purchased Intacct. Intacct was one of our highest rated vendors, but the purchase by Sage means we had to downgrade Intacct. Although the purchase of Intacct should lead to a bump for Sage.

Innovation

Sage has historically been a modest innovator, however, we have lowered their Current Innovation Level, because recent management changes will naturally lead to a decline in innovation.

Vendor Scores

Part of the Following Software Categories

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Software Selection Package for Big ERP