Microsoft goes fox hunting

Posted March 21, 2007 by Ludvig A. Norin
Categories: business solutions, erp, foxpro, mamut, microsoft, sage

FoxPro

It caught my attention that Microsoft have abandoned Visual FoxPro. However, they are not denying it ever existed. (Sorry, but I just can’t get over the project green thing). They’re also releasing some of the sourcecode under its shared source initiative. Support will continue through 2015.

There are many ERP packages based on FoxPro out there, the most well known probably being Sage Pro. Sage have removed all references to FoxPro from their website, but I bet there’s lots of customers still running the software out there.

Don’t get me wrong, it was about time this product got killed. But there’s lots of homebrewed “ERP” systems out there based on it, as well as large products such as Sage Pro. There’s also a huge developer and consultancy community around this technology. This is going to be a big challenge for a lot of different people.

Update: Mamut is also based on FoxPro. No word on their website how this will affect them, though.

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The grass is greener…

Posted March 20, 2007 by Ludvig A. Norin
Categories: business solutions, erp, mbf, microsoft, project green, vaporware

Green Grass

Microsoft is abandoning Project Green, which effectively makes it the largest, most ambitious piece of Vaporware in computer history. The merger of Axapta, Great Plains, Navision and Solomon was the threat vision that Microsoft pushed to ERP ISV:s a few years ago. I remember participating at a “Microsoft Certified Partner” meeting with one of my previous employers, listening to their vision of project green. It was beautifully described as four lines (one for each product), entering a cloud out of which a beautiful green line emerged.

Now they’re trying to rewrite history, saying that this never was the intention.

This gets me upset, for the simple reason that I bought it at the time. However, thanks to some smart people that found it worthwhile to teach me a thing or two, I realized the vaporware factor in project green a long time ago.

But what about the developers? What about the dealers? And what about the customers? The one’s that built their business upon a false promise of a new platform (yes, I’m talking about the MBF)?

Updated: Changed the MBF link to the real PDC PowerPoint presentation (which I loved at the time, by the way…) instead of Google’s cached HTML version.

Spam, spam, spam

Posted March 20, 2007 by Ludvig A. Norin
Categories: Henning Wagenbreth, inspiration, magazines

Henning Wagenbreth - Cry for Help

I guess we all have our bag of tricks to find inspiration whenever we’re running a little dry. One of mine is to read the Creative Review magazine (yes, it’s a paper mag). In the March issue there’s a very interesting article about Henning Wagenbreth and his images, inspired from the various scam e-mail scemes that plauges our inboxes on a daily basis.

I want this book.

On a side note, the Creative Review is a magazine that have some interesting traits. For instance, certain words and phrases in articles are underlined, giving an impression of being a hyperlink. Reading these I constantly find myself clicking on the paper in front of me, eager to learn more about this and that.

Very funny, Creative Review.

Salesforce.com Readies MySpace for Business

Posted March 20, 2007 by Ludvig A. Norin
Categories: business solutions, community, salesforce.com

Things are moving in the business community space. Just days after I start this blog, both Microsoft and SalesForce.com have announced their intention to bring communities into business solutions. Just look here and here. What do you think? Will this become a tool for businesses, or is some crucial piece missing?

Leadership and Self-Deception

Posted March 20, 2007 by Ludvig A. Norin
Categories: arbinger, books, leadership, litterature, management

Today Guy Kawazaki tells the story behind the book “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t” by Bob Sutton.

Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t

While I’ll confess that I didn’t read this book in its entirety, from what I can remember this is a very good book and I guess that now is the time to finish reading it. The reason I didn’t before however, was that I started reading The Arbinger Institute‘s book “Leadership and Self-Deception”.
Leadership and Self-Deception
This book is a straight punch in the face, because more often than not the problem at a workplace is in the individuals, rather than the people surrounding them. Huh? In real life, it’s often me that needs to change, not me having to change others. This book is a funny and sometimes very painful read in its honesty and bluntness. It’s also a piece of good story-telling, which I recommend to anybody that miss being part of a civilized workplace.

While Guy’s post is a lot more than a review (he talks about the branding surrounding the book, among other things), it made me want to push this one a little bit. I promise I’ll finish Sutton’s book within the coming month! 🙂

Communities for business solutions customers

Posted March 19, 2007 by Ludvig A. Norin
Categories: business solutions, community, crm, erp, zag

Euan Semple over at The Obvious? had this to say about business and social networks:

(If you don’t know who Euan Semple is, find out. He’s been into social computing for a long time, and when he speaks you better listen).

A key differentiator for businesses in the future will be their ability to attract high quality online networks of interesting and engaged users of their product or service and then delivering access to those networks to their new customers.

This is what I was talking about in my prevous post about communities in business. What I didn’t realize though, is that the ERP user communities are pretty well developed when compared to other businesses. The user groups associated with ERP vendors are way ahead of the user communities found (or not found) in other industries.

In his great book on branding, Zag, Marty Neumeier shows that building a community around your customers increase brand loyalty, and how this can be applied to an ordinary wine-bar. This is exactly what the user groups in ERP is all about, and they’ve been around for a long time now! When it comes to communities for users of business software, this is an absolute minimum of what an ERP vendor has to provide. I say absolute minimum because it’s time to go further than these simple discussion-clubs called user groups and create something truly innovative.

Live.com search *do* suck…

Posted March 17, 2007 by Ludvig A. Norin
Categories: google, live.com, search, yahoo

Just tried to find some new thoughts on how search is changing business. I searched for “how search is changing business” at Google and live.com. Check the results. Google actually shows some remotely interesting sites that goes with what I’m looking for, at the very top, while live.com shows every site that brings up how business is changing, and also happends to have a search box. Even Yahoo performs better.