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Notes on Enterprise Software Architecture – Part I September 26, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Business, Technology.
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In this sequence of postings, I am going to review current trends in Enterprise Software Architecture.  This appears to be a very interesting time period, driven by the following underlying patterns:

  • The basic plumbing for integration of applications and their content is now in place.  While it is still being built out, this includes concepts of SaaS, SOA, web services, and Rich Internet Applications that we have discussed in prior postings.
  • Users are expecting a new level of capability and business value in the applications.  This wave is being represented by the Enterprise 2.0 concepts.  One interesting driver of this trend is that the employees coming into industry today are expecting their applications to work like the Web 2.0 applications that they use in daily life.  This shift has been discussed at length by a number of analysts.
  • Corporations have realized that the traditional model of centralized services is not going to be effective.  (more…)
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Serus is Presenting at Enterprise 2.0 Mashups Summit September 25, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Announcements, enterprise 2.0, Technology.
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Serus will be presenting a case study on using enterprise mashups in outsourced manufacturing at the Enterprise 2.0 Mashups Summit in San Francisco on Friday, September 28th.

Other companies presenting include Google, IBM, StrikeIron, Salesforce.com, Mashery, and JackBe.

Shorter “Time to Volume” is the New Goal September 21, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Business.
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We recently had a presentation by Bob Parker of Manufacturing Insights.

He described a new measure of product innovation and manufacturing:  time to volume.  This is considered a better measurement than ‘time to market’, as it captures the time period required to get a new product into volume production.  For instance, over half of the ECO’s (engineering change orders) are logged against a product during the first 90 days, as the product begins volume manufacturing.

Efforts to focus on reducing ‘time to market’ have been observed to cause engineering and product design efforts to shortcut steps needed to verify manufacturing scalability, which can actually increase ‘time to volume’.  Instead, by measuring the ‘time to volume’, the alignment of activities in the product innovation process is increased.

Further, carrying out an effective new product introduction process has become of increased importance, as the number of new products introduced in consumer packaged goods worldwide has increased from 15,000 in 1990 to 36,000 in 2006.

Thoughts on Business Intelligence – Part III September 19, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Business.
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Previously we provided a definition of Business Intelligence and its applications, then of the data warehouse behind it.  Return to Part II.  In this post, we look at examples of business intelligence use, and some of Serus’ thoughts on the role of BI in Intelligent Operations Management.

Business Intelligence Use in Corporations

Less than 10 percent of companies exploit the full potential of supply chain business intelligence (BI) technology. However, companies that do use supply chain BI to enhance profits and coordinate promotions are able to improve sales planning and supplier performance, and, as a result, they gain flexibility to meet changes in demand. These are the key findings of a recent benchmark study by Ventana Research, as reported in Intelligent Enterprise magazine. (more…)

Defining the Software Product Category: Intelligent Operations Management September 18, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Business, collaboration, Technology.
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At Serus, we are building systems and tools for operations managers, and a key element in providing a tool for operations is to understand the information management needs of the user community.  By “information management needs”, we mean: what information is required, what information is produced, what information is shared with others, and what is the lifecycle of a change to the information.

Let’s consider a typical example:  one operations manager is looking at a schedule for a production of a product with hundreds of parts in its bill of materials.  Several of those parts are arriving according to another delivery schedule.  The manager would like to change a date in the primary schedule, but this requires a change in the subordinate one.  The other schedule is “owned” by someone else in the supply chain, perhaps across an organizational boundary. (more…)

Thoughts on Business Intelligence – Part II September 14, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Business, Technology.
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Previously we provided a definition of Business Intelligence and its applications.  Return to Part I.  In this posting, we are looking at the query side, the keys to success, and future trends in BI.

Query Tools and Outputs

In this phase, users are running queries and reports against the database.  Determining what to ask is the most critical part of using the system.  Since many users are not technical enough to write complex queries, many tools have automatic query generation.  The queries use the metadata to determine the tables and fields. (more…)

Amazon Promotes Web Services with a Challenge September 13, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Business, Technology.
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Many of us have been tracking what Amazon is doing in the area of web services.  Starting in late 2006, they have opened up much of their system, but more importantly, they have been offering their system as a base or platform for e-commerce solutions.  Called “Amazon Web Services”, it has components including the E-Commerce facility, the Secure Storage facility, the Elastic Computing Cloud, and the Mechanical Turk.

Yesterday, they gave a presentation at the Stanford Faculty Club to start-up and potential start-up companies.

It was sponsored by Kleiner Perkins.

Their marketing approach was interesting, but perhaps half-hearted. They created a challenge that they are offering to start-up companies: create a plan for a product/service based on AWS, and if you win, they will give you $50K.

Of course, on roughly that same day, Google announced their challenge: fly to the moon and they will give you $20M!

FSA Suppliers Expo was a Big Success for Serus September 12, 2007

Posted by Mike Lazich in Event Reporting.
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At the Expo, we had our best turnout yet!  Our booth was visited by several dozen fabless companies, and we showed the new Fabless Suite release 6.0, along with our newest booth and presentation materials.  In case you missed it, here is a photo of our Sales team.

FSA Expo Booth Team 2007

Thoughts on Business Intelligence – Part I September 10, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Technology.
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When defining the product for Intelligent Operations Management, we have drawn on a number of concepts from the area of Business Intelligence.  Since these concepts are quite similar (even in name), I thought it would be useful to provide some background information and definitions regarding Business Intelligence. (more…)

Improving your Organization’s Skill at Collaborative Demand Planning September 2, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Business, collaboration, enterprise 2.0.
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While Serus was developing its Demand Planning module, we worked closely with planners at our customer organizations to gather requirements.  In addition to those requirements, we also looked at industry surveys that characterized organizational skills in collaborative demand planning.

One of the most useful articles appeared in Supply and Demand Chain Executive in Oct/Nov 2006, called Demand Excellence.  That article, written by partners at Plan4DemandSolutions, described the criticality of Demand Planning in today’s environment:

Across all industries, organizations are struggling to meet the market-driven surge in customer service requirements while simultaneously striving to make the most of working capital.  Hypercompetition is driving down prices, leading many to choose offshoring as a way to reduce costs and manage pricing.  Yet solutions like offshoring have their own risks, as revealed in cautionary tales about wrong inventories being shipped overseas or costly air freight shipments from distant supply lines to meet urgent customer demand.

(more…)