Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Microsoft in Retail

In one of my previous post I've mentioned the lack of investment from Microsoft in the EPM space. In this post I'll touch on the Retail space and some transformations that organizations partake.

I was with Microsoft Dynamics between the years of 1990 to 2000 and very privileged with the opportunity. In the last 10 years it has been unfortunate though that most of my engagements (mostly Retail and CPG) have been moving Microsoft to SAP. Why is that? It took me awhile to realize that there were commonality between these companies.

Here are some of my observations:
1  Scalability. They have outgrown Microsoft products, their processes have become more complex and existing investments cannot scale.
2  Relationship. They don’t have direct relationship with Microsoft so they find another partner to help them with their transformation.
3   Support. They need more support from their partners including technology, processes and data. Their current partner don't have all expertise, they can only do one not all.
4  Technology. They want to explore new technologies like Cloud, Big Data, IoT and others. Even though Microsoft can fill these space, the companies don't know who to contact.

If you look at the reasons, Microsoft could’ve easily filled the gaps. SAP does this pretty well, their regional AE's are in constant contact with their clients. They’re constantly asking and they take care of companies that carry weight in the verticals, brands that matter in that space. 

Retail is one vertical where Microsoft can capture some market share. Here are some reasons:
1- Retail companies have complex processes from store operations to back office. Microsoft have all the toolset to help but they're not selling it bundled. They need to go to these retailers and sell their products from store to back office. Show how the POS can integrate with Microsoft Dynamics Inventory then show them Analytics thru Power BI. Do a retail suite of solutions that can solve a retailers process from end-to-end.

2 - Microsoft needs to put more investment in their Retail space. They have the products to scale up and capture a market share but it’s not happening. They’re even losing clients and more importantly “brands” that matter in the space. SAP talks directly to top brand customers to know what processes are changing because of regulations, compliance, tariffs and others. In the Enterprise Applications technology takes a back seat, CIO’s look at vendors who can solve complex processes, use best practices, able to provide solutions to regulatory or country specific requirements and others.

I can go on but my point here is Microsoft does have the products but they need to understand the business needs and how they’re going to selling their products effectively. I’ve seen demos where the CFO and CIO just walk out of the room because they’ve missed the mark so bad. SAP is not untouchable, they just know how to sell their products well and Microsoft needs to learn from them.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Did SAP Fiori capture the future of software development?

SAP Fiori is using modern design principles like role-based, responsive, simple and delightful to create the next generation of SAP software products. The user experience or UX is personalized that you can create an application by targeting a certain user or persona instead of the current designs where we all fit everything in one window to target multiple users. What happens, users tend to ignore fields that are not relevant to them and this equates to frustration or even inefficiencies. So the question then is, will the future design of applications target certain personas not roles to make business users feel that its personalize than targeting a role then use that as your template?

Here are some videos about SAP Fiori:

Friday, February 12, 2016

In-Memory Appliance: SAP HANA vs Oracle Exalytics

I was trying to research Oracle Exalytics to learn more about the Oracle cloud offering and stumbled upon this interesting video comparing it with SAP HANA. Just interested as previously had implemented HANA with another client so knowing the basic difference might make a difference in the future I need to choose between the 2 giant vendors.

Here's the video, ignore the characters as they look like aliens without neck:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

EPM arena but where is Microsoft

Happy Monkey Year!!!

I haven't been as active as I've been learning and implementing different systems. If you check my previous posts, my last project was moving Dynamics to SAP suite and we finally wrapped that at end of 2014. One reason my client move out of Dynamics is lack of applications in planning and HR.

In 2015, I started another chapter and this time managing programs. One program was finance transformation where there were several tracks including SAP upgrade, Financial Planning, Tax Transformation and others. I'm also managing other parts of retail like OmniChannel, Retail Accounting, Visual Mechandising programs which was very interesting as you see other parts of a retail business.

The SAP landscape was moving to a new platform, can't really say it but it's in the retail space. 

Financial Planning was another exciting program where I'm moving an Infor system to Oracle Planning Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS). 

I want to call out Microsoft Dynamics as I moved to implementing Tier 1 applications,  I realized that Microsoft Dynamics is missing a lot of business applications. One application which organizations have now realized benefits is Enterprise or Corporate Performance Management (EPM/CPM). Leaders include SAP BPC, Oracle Hyperion/PBCS, IBM TM1 (Cognos). In my years attending Convergence and others, I never heard Microsoft going into this arena and you ask why. 

Every organization today do performance planning in one way or the other. Retail, CPG, Telecom, Healthcare, Prof Services and others need to do this to stay competitive and the functionality is already mature. I think to survive the next wave of ERP investments or Postmodern ERP, CIOs will look for vendors who can provide a consolidated package of solutions including the following - ERP, CPM, BI, CRM, HRIS and others.

If you look at the market today, you can count the vendors with one hand. Unfortunately, Microsoft Dynamics is not one of them as they missed investing in CPM and HRIS. SAP even have solutions for HRIS - SAP HR and SuccessFactor.

I hope this will open conversations inside Microsoft where the next investment should be. I'd be interested to be part of that conversation.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Actuals vs Budget using Tableau

One product I liked using to do data visualization and analytics is Tableau. It's easy to use and can work with most of the datasources that I have in my environment. I could've utilized another tool like MicroStrategy, SAP Lumira or BusinessObjects but because I need a quick turnaround for the client, I decided to used Tableau.

In this video, I used Tableau Desktop so show a simple side-by-side of Budget vs Actual Sales. I could've added other steps but since it's my introductory video I wanted to make it simple.

Find the video here or watch it below:

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Microsoft Dynamics to SAP ECC - Part 2

As promised, I'm posting Part 2 of the Dynamics GP to SAP migration.

Since my last post we've done a lot of cleansing to the GP data. Some of the ETL processes we ran include:

- Master data including GL accounts, Profit Center, Cost Center, Employees, Vendors and others
- Vendor and Customer addresses including multiple addresses for Vendor Partner functions
- Any Tax-related fields including 1099, GST, etc.
- Hierarchy if any (can be messy)
- Open Balances for General Ledger, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable and Fixed Assets

Lastly, I consider my SQL scripting decent but get a really good one as you'll need to create lines of code and SP for your ETL.


Note: I'll see if there's a need for another Part in FI, otherwise Part 3 will be more on SAP SD.

Microsoft in Retail

In one of my previous post I've mentioned the lack of investment from Microsoft in the EPM space. In this post I'll touch on the Re...