ERP Is No Longer Considered a Four-Letter Word

first_imgFor most IT executives, the term ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is often a four-letter word, but it doesn’t have to be.I’ve had the good fortune of leading several major system transformations in my 20+ years in the industry, most recently at EMC. And while replacing EMC’s legacy systems with a standardized SAP-based one was challenging, there are strategies I’d like to share that can help the process go smoothly.At EMC, we were faced with an aging ERP infrastructure that was limiting our ability to scale and support a dynamic business model. More than 10 years old and customized so extensively, it could no longer be upgraded. This resulted in a significant increase in total cost of ownership and a high level of risk to our growing business.We were determined to take a radically different approach with our new ERP program, code named PROPEL. As such, we worked with EMC senior management and a number of key business leaders to define critical guiding principles at the outset. They included:No customizationsUse an agile and “go fast” approachAdopt industry standard practices and adapt business processesBuild a foundation for future growth and scalabilityMake it a business-led program with strong governanceAs a business-led project, PROPEL had to be staffed by talented, senior business people from the major process function areas—Manufacturing, Finance, Engineering, Procurement and Supply Chain. These people, combined with the IT team, formed the core PROPEL team.From a technology perspective, we chose the industry-leading SAP ERP package, and leveraged EMC technology to ensure a high-performing, scalable and efficient system. As a result, we are now the largest SAP instance that is 100 percent virtualized on VCE Vblock technology.A critical success factor for ensuring we adhered to our guiding principles was establishing a strong program governance model. This model served as a review board for all enhancement or customization requests and also was key to our change management and communications efforts.In addition, we had more than 500 “super users” from the PROPEL team’s respective business units who acted as extended project team members and helped drive implementation of the system and new business processes.We had all the pieces in place—the right people, the right governance, the right processes, the right approach and the right technology. The communication, governance and the level of rigor were critical.This winning combination allowed us to meet our go-live target and budget. We have successfully closed multiple quarters, handling record volumes on the new system with minimal issues.In addition, by leveraging EMC and VCE technology, we have a high performing, scalable and highly available infrastructure, all while saving more than $10 million.Some of the lessons we learned along the way that are important for those who wish to embark on their own ERP implementation include:Executive support is critical to success.Identify and assign the right resources from the business. These projects need to be business–led to be effective.Spend time cleaning up your critical data such as customer, product and material records. Clean it as early as possible—before and during the project. And then put a master data management governance process in place to make sure it stays clean.Don’t underestimate the level of business change required to implement a new ERP system, especially if you want to minimize enhancements and customizations.As you make changes and transform processes, know when what you’ve achieved is good enough. In some cases, perfect is the enemy of good, which is sometimes a tough realization for people.Establish key metrics up front and ensure they are tracked post implementation.Although ERP projects, like any large transformational program, are often incredibly challenging, we’ve proven that with the right principles, technology and approach you can truly be successful. And ERP no longer has to be a four-letter word.last_img read more

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We’re Ready For An Epic EMC World, Are You?

first_imgWhile we’ve been busy working with our customers to modernize their data centers, we’ve also been busy modernizing EMC World, preparing to make 2016 the best event to date! This year we’re delivering an exciting lineup of educational tracks, sessions, speakers, and events to help turn plans into actions. In addition, we will be setting the vision for the new company we will become in combination with Dell.The theme of our 16th annual EMC World is Modernize and we can’t wait to join customers, partners, media and analysts over an exciting four days in Las Vegas. While I don’t want to give away all the surprises we have planned, some must-see events this year include:General Sessions: The EMC World general sessions this year promise to deliver an exciting mix of breaking news, big names and of course, a few surprises along the way. This year EMC’s leadership team, along with some exciting industry gurus, will enlighten us all on how EMC is modernizing the industry, IT and businesses around the world. Check out a full list of presenters here.Breakout Sessions: We’re excited to offer 300+ breakout sessions organized into content tracks for specific audiences – IT Leadership, Technology and, new this year, Code & Modern Ops. Technical or not, there’s a track for everyone at EMC World.IT Leadership Track: Designed for those decision makers shaping the future of business, harnessing Big Data, adopting Open Source and more.Technology Track: Dive into the latest EMC innovations including Flash, Cloud-Based Solutions, Cloud-Native Apps and more.Code & Modern Ops: Our new Code & Modern Ops track is built on the themes of Learn, Code and Deploy, and will feature sessions on how to successfully build and develop modern apps to help our customers grow their business and gain competitive advantage.Global Partner Summit: EMC’s valued partners will join us for the fifth-annual EMC Global Partner Summit (GPS), taking place May 2-4 at the Venetian. Attendees will hear directly from EMC executives, positioning our partners for success in selling EMC products and solutions in 2016 and beyond.Momentum at EMC World 2016 – The Content Management Event Content management professionals from around the world will descend on Las Vegas for interactive keynotes, educational breakout sessions and plenty of networking time to talk. Momentum 2016 is the best forum for customers to get direct access to EMC engineers, product managers and executives, as well as hands-on time with EMC products for content management professionals. At Momentum 2016 they’ll discover new and innovative ways to build and evolve their content management strategies.EMC vLab Experience: We’ll offer 13 instructor-led and 39 self-paced vLabs with a deep-dive into EMC’s products and solutions. This year, the excitement builds with a top secret bonus session – stay tuned!Solutions Pavilion: Attendees will be able to explore the exciting solutions pavilion and view product demos, speak with EMC experts, partners and customers. Some of the most exciting EMC-powered apps will be demoed LIVE at the Future Ready Pavilion within the EMC Solutions Pavilion. Come see next-generation applications in healthcare, government, telecom, and more. All major EMC product divisions and Federation companies will be represented, including Pivotal, RSA, VCE, Virtustream, VMware and more.Women of World: On Wednesday, May 4th attendees will join together to get a fresh look at managing their careers in the context of change at the annual Women of World. Attendees will learn how to navigate the fast-paced transformation of the technology industry and find new ways to own, modernize and direct their careers.Customer Appreciation Event: This year, EMC is welcoming Duran Duran and Fitz & The Tantrums. What better way to celebrate EMC World than to rock out with two hit musical acts?This year we’re also giving customers who can’t join us in Las Vegas direct access to the event virtually from anywhere in the world. Here are the best ways to engage remotely with EMC World 2016:Online: Track all the latest EMC World 2016 happenings at emcworld.comLive Streaming: View video of EMC World keynotes and select conference sessions at emcworld.com/virtualSocial: Follow @EMCWorld and monitor #EMCWORLD to join the Twitter conversation. For continuous updates on EMC news and announcements, follow @EMC_News.Excited? We are too. Get ready to modernize at EMC World 2016!last_img read more

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Look Before You Leap: The Importance of a Comprehensive AI Strategy

first_imgArtificial Intelligence is everywhere, but it’s critical for companies to take the time to research, analyze, and develop a strategic plan before deploying AI initiatives.Well it seems this artificial intelligence thing has caught on after all, and looks like it’s here to stay. AI is already used across most industries and shows no signs of slowing down. It’s a rapidly growing technology that will impact nearly every product and business process over the next decade.Even late adopters are ready to embrace it, because it’s clear that AI, along with its machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL), is reshaping the way we do business. AI can help organizations reach their targeted business outcomes by:Increasing efficiency of internal applicationsImproving customer experienceIncreasing lead generation and customer acquisitionAutomating business and HR operationsImproving ROIOf course, with all the cool and exciting things AI can do, it’s temping for businesses to jump in and get started right away. That eagerness can be a good thing, but deploying AI without preparation can lead to a wide range of problems. As with most new business applications, it’s critical to analyze and think through your IT Transformation strategy first. Carefully research when and where it makes sense to use AI, so that you can be most effective and cost efficient in the long run.IT leaders need to consider questions like:What projects make the most sense for our business and goals?What applications will give us the best ROI (both in the short and long-term)?What kind of shape is our current data in, and do we have the right data management technology?Do we have the proper infrastructure hardware to scale?Do we have the skills to implement AI initiatives? If not, should we train our current staff or hire new? Or both?How will we communicate across all our lines of business?The problem is that too many companies, excited about the benefits of AI, cannonball in without a strategic plan. The want to make a big splash, but forget to check that there is water in the pool first.Don’t be them.Just as you have to crawl before you can run, you have to start small with AI. It’s best to dip your toes in the water and Once you have some initial success and a solid strategy in place, you can move on to more extensive applications.Whether your organization has already embraced AI or plans to adopt it soon, consider the following before you go any further: Evaluate Current Challenges and OpportunitiesTake the time to research and evaluate your current opportunities. Chances are, there are multiple areas of your organization that can benefit from AI and ML. The different lines of business might be clamoring to get started, but it’s critical to do the research up front to ensure that your IT strategy aligns with your overall company objectives.Prioritize Your ListAfter you’ve gathered the data, you’ll need to prioritize projects based on the scope, potential risks and ROI. This is often easier said than done, because different departments will have different priorities. It’s up to you as an IT leader to manage this and make recommendations based on the company’s best interests.Examine Your Organization’s Current DataWhat shape is your company’s data in? Again, be realistic in your current state (not in where you hope to be), so that you don’t get in over your head. You can always start small, perhaps using your Big Data analytics to deploy one or two ML applications. Measure the ROI of those initial projects, using the data to develop recommendations for future applications.Focus on StaffingAI initiatives require a different skill set. Automating operations can free up your staff to do other things, but you may find that they don’t have the right skills. You’ll need engineers and data scientists to manage the applications and analyze the data. Will you retrain current staff or recruit new employees? Or a mix of both? Now is the time to think about and budget for these staffing issues.To succeed with AI initiatives, it’s critical that organizations have a comprehensive and prioritized execution strategy in place. Doing so will allow you to deploy the right technology and IT infrastructure for each specified use-case.For additional information on how IT leaders can ensure successful ML and DL projects check out The Artificial Intelligence Starter Guide for IT Leaders.  This white paper by Moor Insights & Strategy also covers Dell EMC’s hardware for classical machine learning, hardware for deep learning, pre-configured “Ready Bundles,” enterprise cloud services, and our consulting and training services.last_img read more

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Chaos, Cacophony, and the New Data Order in the Coming Decade

first_imgThe total volume of data transmitted over the US mobile phone network in 2007 amounted to 86 petabytes. Today, the same volume is transferred in less than a day. So what will things be like ten years from now? We might only need ten minutes to transfer this amount of data, which would correspond to a 52,000-fold acceleration. It is safe to assume that the global increase in data transmission volumes will be in the same ballpark. At Dell Technologies, we refer to the next ten years as the “next data decade” and have aligned our 2030 goals accordingly.Dell has always set itself ambitious and long-term goals. Nearly ten years ago, for instance, we announced our “2020 Legacy of Good” plan, based on the idea that technology should be the driving force behind human progress. We adopted this key idea in the plan for the coming decade, which will, of course,lead us to a completely different world from the one we know today. We will generate vastly more data, because everything will be connected to everything else. However, data has no intrinsic value; we need to bring it to life to make it usable in areas such as industrial automation, which will continue to advance; in autonomous cars, which will shape the urban landscape by communicating with other vehicles, traffic lights and the power grid; in healthcare, which must be drastically improved worldwide; in smart homes, smart cities, smart government, in our personal well-being, and basically in every conceivable sphere of life.Not just big data (the term should actually be renamed incredibly enormous data in the new decade), but also thousands, millions, or perhaps even more fragmented databases and storage spaces will shape everyday life. This isolated data is nothing but chaos and noise until it interfaces with the rest of the world. The integration of all these data silos into countless clouds and on-premises systems is the Herculean task that companies and the IT industry are facing. Only when we solve the question of data integration will new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning blossom and play a truly fundamental role in our future society. After all, these systems need to make a vast number of sometimes vital decisions based on this data jumble in real time.However, this will only be possible if data security is also ensured. Therefore, data integrity and encryption will play an equally important role in the coming years. There are formidable factors to consider, among them the development of the quantum computer, which will completely revolutionize the way we do IT while also providing cyber attackers with a tool to crack almost any asymmetric encryption in mere seconds. We must therefore work to develop effective quantum-safe methods. Fortunately, the US organization NIST is already developing new standards for post-quantum cryptography.And there are more challenges in store for us. For example, we cannot simply allow AI, which is being made more powerful by the day, to act like “black boxes.” We must ensure that decisions remain comprehensible and algorithms transparent, if necessary based on legal standards. This is no small feat in today’s globalized world. We must also ensure that the human being remains the key focus of technological advancement. In other words, we need to uphold ethics and human values in a fully digitized society – digital humanism if you will. And we must increasingly protect our environment.All of this is part of our Next Data Decade plan, in which we will focus on product sustainability above all. Our concept here is what we call one-to-one recycling: for every product a customer purchases, we will fully recycle or repurpose a similar product. Second, we will promote inclusion with the goal of having 50 percent of our global workforce made up of women by 2030. Third, we strive to improve lives on a broad scale based on technology, that is, for billions of people. Fourth, we want to do so while upholding ethics and data privacy.Do we know whether we will achieve these goals? Do we have any idea how information technology, let alone our society, will evolve over the next decade? Of course not. Can we anticipate stumbling blocks? Certainly. Will we be able to handle big data, AI, data security, and technological innovation over the next ten years as envisioned today? Even though the future may be uncertain, we are optimistic and will do everything in our power to advance human progress by leveraging our technology, our knowledge, and our compassion. This new decade is certain to be an exciting one!last_img read more

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Taliban visit Moscow, voice hope US will honor peace deal

first_imgMOSCOW (AP) — The Taliban say after a round of talks in Moscow that they expect the United States to honor its pledge to withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan by May. Taliban official Sher Mohammed Abbas Stanikzai, who led a delegation that met with senior Russian diplomats during two days of talks, insisted that the movement has fulfilled its end of the deal. White House and U.S. State Department officials have said that Biden’s administration plans to take a new look at the agreement, which was signed last February with Donald Trump’s White House. The Pentagon says the Taliban’s refusal to reduce violence in Afghanistan raises questions about the peace deal.last_img

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