Business & Technology Nexus

Dave Stephens on technology and business trends

ERP, Procurement, and M&A

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I’ve posted in the past about Oracle’s Global Single Instance – both the vision and the reality. And although Oracle is now about as far off message from pushing a Global Single Instance as they ever could be, there are some compelling points that come with the promise of system centralization.

[Before you get too excited, this isn’t an argument for Oracle to return to the GSI message – clearly the world prefers messiness & Oracle is generating the revenues to show it!]

Answering key questions about your business is easier when it’s done from a central source. Ask Hyperion… And while a data warehouse is the most common route for larger organizations, a few have unified transactional systems that they can query directly.

A friend of mine, Greg Tennyson, was quoted extensively in a recent Inside Supply Management cover story entitled “Acquiring Refinforcements“. In it, another huge benefit of system centralization is showcased: acquisitions.

Oracle, according to Greg, can fully integrate an acquisition’s procurement operations into their central system within 6 months. And that’s impressive. In effect, it means all the overhead costs associated with doing business as a separate company can disappear.

But you needn’t get the “Global Single Instance” religion to wield your systems toward your competitive advantage in M&A actions. A single system is far from required – just ask GE. In one GE business, system practitioners use their “all you can eat” Oracle ERP license and stamp out a new instance with standardized processes within 30 days of acquisition close. They have to! Because +30 days there’s another acquisition to work on… At the end of the process they then tie ERP instances together so closing the books is as easy as possible.

Systems prowess is often overlooked when companies pursue acquisitive growth strategies. But it’s absolutely critical. Done well systems work is transparent and allows a company to focus on what’s most important: their new customers and employees.

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Written by Dave Stephens

09/18/06 8:58 AM at 8:58 am

Posted in IT, Opinion

One Response

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  1. GE’s usecase is very intresting.

    There are scenarios when a single instance model is bound to fail. The peak load scenario. Let’s say there is a coporate deadline for filling out appraisals. As most people do this as a least interested task, the last day or the day before is when the load on the system is going to be high. And being a single instance it is (no doubt there will be multiple app servers, load balancing and all the good stuff, and perhaps even a RAC configuration on the database side, but still a single database), the apps start crawling instead of running. And it gets annoying, while on one hand, people would like to meet their deadline, and on the other, the system doesn’t cooperate. This further aggrevates the problem as people often try to login and logout, close the app that’s crashed in the middle and restart and so on.

    Same may be applicable for apps deployed for a university. There will be peak load for course registration, peak load to pay the fee etc.

    In general, there are 2 types of partitioning choices for apps.

    1. Partitioning by functionality (purchasing vs invoicing)
    2. Partitioning by geography (US vs Europe)

    While the first 1 will usually end up as an integration nightmare, with a well planned execution and a decent data warehouse, the second option is not bad afterall.

    There may also be a lot of non-relational data that can be optimally served to everyone within the organization using edge computing (http://www.edgecomputing.org/uc/lucene.html) than putting everything in one single database.

    AnonymousCoward

    09/18/06 10:25 PM at 10:25 pm


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