This blog is a dedication to a never-ending debate in my mind that had continued to intrigue me since the beginning of my class here at UC Berkeley about 3 months ago. This curiosity of mine with an insatiable quest for finding an answer has led me to devote much time and attention to this debate for which the answers still allude me. To some it may be just another IT debate but to me, it seems to be a new found reality of the future of enterprise software.
To kick-start our Tech Debate Part 3, a fresh new study done by Gartner gives a technological twist to the debate. What fascinated me most about this study was that it delved into the intricacies of the technical aspects of Cloud Computing to put forth its pros and cos and used very simple examples of Google, Amazon and Salesforce.com to drive home the point. Interestingly, this is not a sole dedication to sing paeans of SaaS or Cloud Computing even though it does enumerate the aspects of ease of configuration of these systems to the customer’s need, greater affordability and smaller deployment time frames. The Gartner study equally emphasizes on some of the disruptive aspects and difficulties revolving around issues with security of data, integration of niche products, scalability and global support requirements.
To serve as an anchor for this debate and resolve it, let’s use the power of imagination to conjure up this scenario of a large diversified conglomerate:
…with a global workforce of 50000 employees,
…an insatiable appetite for Mergers and Acquisitions,
…with relatively immature processes for HR delivery (often in an offline paper-pencil format).
What would be the best technological platform for this company to Automate, Centralized, Integrated, Standardize, Adopt World Class HR Best Practices and and Processes across 110 of its subsidiaries… A SaaS based solution or a Conventional ERP??
Pros and Cons of each of these systems has only left me with more unanswered questions and greater thoughts to ponder upon..which seem to increase with greater research and time. However,the solution lies at crux of some of these unanswered questions…so its critical to surface these as a conversation starter and ask the experts on the world wide web to deliberate and discuss these to find a probable solution.
Q1) ….Should the company compromise on dazzling User Interfaces, Easy Configurability and Affordability over Superior forms of Integration within modules of an HCM application suite and Security of their critical Non Publicized Data???
Q2) ….Most SaaS and Cloud Computing vendors furnish an impressive list of Fortune 100 clients using their niche products and decry the complexities that a conventional ERP confers on its users and implementers alike. However most IT departments in Large Global Companies with a workforce of 10000 upwards choose Conventional ERPs…Why???
Q3)… Is it about the mentality of Users who believe that a conventional Enterprise Solution protected by their own firewalls is more secure as compared to those over the internet???
Q4) …. Most SaaS and Cloud Computing Software dominate the small and medium scale market…are Large Companies adopting a Wait n Watch policy before they implement these systems.
To the experts out there, any thoughts??? Express your opinion through a short Interactive Poll which would take nothing more than 2 seconds for you..but would give me an insight on the collective thoughts of a much wider audience.
References: Gartner Event Presentation by Anthony Bradley: SOA, the Web and the Cloud: Big Decisions About Application Architecture