Recent Gartner research by Christian Hestermann titled SaaS ERP Only Reduces Part of the Effort Needed to Implement and Operate Your ERP spells out what many of us involved in ERP implementations have known for a long time.  Hence the #NOSS tag (No Shit Sherlock)

Just because the application (ERP, CRM or other line of business app)  is Cloud or SaaS doesn’t mean that it can be implemented in days.  As the report says “Do not believe the hype about the ease of implementing a SaaS ERP” and more importantly “Do not confuse the implementation with installing a system, and recognize that most implementation activities are not eliminated by using a SaaS solution.”

This is welcome research from one of the respected analysts but it is enough to stem the tide of hype coming from the ERP/CRM Cloud vendors? Is it going to require some high profile Cloud implementation failures to make customers wary of the “It only takes  5 days to implement” bullshit.

But if you are a Cloud software vendor you need to sell seats quickly and in volume if you are going to be able to make the business model work, as I discussed in an earlier post Why software vendors should fear the Clouds. And that is going to drive a hard-nosed, pushy “just buy the software” sales technique.

What is most disappointing is that the Cloud ERP / CRM vendors have reinvented how software is delivered and configured, but they could also change the way it is implemented by embracing newer, but proven approaches. But they haven’t and have left the Systems Integrators to replicate the old, broken approaches as this recent example shows.

One of the leading vendors is salesforce.com with their Force.com platform. They have put the power into the hands of the business users. This has changed the nature of the custom development lifecycle as my blog Force.com  – a powerful force in enterprise computing and a new book explains.

Nimbus has been a customer of salesforce.com for the last 7 years and has used Force.com to extend the CRM application into HR, Procurement, Asset Management, Business Excellence and Finance. All this has been achieved by a business-focused team with just a little support from IT. We were runner’s up in the BCS IT Department of the Year for our innovative approach which I described in  How many people in the Nimbus IT department? I have no idea…

But as the Gartner research report points out, customisation is just one part of the implementation process. That part is far quicker as is the software installation/configuration.  But the other activities such as Requirements Capture, Business Design and User Training are still required and still take the same time.

However this is changing too.  The Nimbus Control Business Process Management application is now being used in on-premise and Cloud ERP /CRM implementations to make the capture of the business requirements, the configuration and the end user training quicker. It is a core focus of our software implementation practice. Which is why Nimbus is an SAP, Oracle and Salesforce.com partner with technology integrations and is workig on some of the largest implementations around.

But even we won’t claim you can implement in 5 days.  It is our #NOSS promise.

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