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Why Platform Matters When Choosing An ERP System

To survive, grow, and compete in the digital age, organizations need an ERP that is highly flexible and able to adapt. Any company making an ERP purchase today should give serious consideration to the platform on which it's developed, says Cindy Jutras, the founder of Mint Jutras Research, in this research report. If built on the right platform, your ERP will help you grow and innovate with ease. Download this report to learn more.

August  2015       WHY  PLATFORM  MATTERS  WHEN  CHOOSING     AN    ERP  SYSTEM    CASE  IN  POINT:  KENANDY  PUTS  BUSINESS  FIRST  WITH     THE  SALESFORCE1  PLATFORM   Platform  as  a  Service  (PaaS)  is  a  category  of  cloud  computing  services  that   provides  developers  with  a  platform  to  create  software  without  the   complexity  of  building  and  maintaining  the  infrastructure  typically   associated  with  developing  an  enterprise  application.  Clearly  developers   benefit  from  using  the  services  delivered  with  a  platform,  speeding  the   development  process.  But  how  does  this  translate  to  benefits  to  the   business?  The  obvious  answer  is  in  delivering  more  features,  functions  and   innovation  in  ways  that  help  companies  keep  up  with  the  accelerating   pace  of  change.  But  not  all  platforms  are  created  equal.  Some  simply   deliver  more  value  through  more  services,  in  a  wider  variety  of  ways…   which  makes  the  choice  of  platform  even  more  important.   Nowhere  is  this  more  critical  than  in  Enterprise  Resource  Planning  (ERP).   After  all,  this  is  the  software  that  runs  your  business.  In  order  to  survive,   grow  and  compete  in  the  digital  age,  you  need  an  ERP  that  is  highly   flexible  and  able  to  adapt.  This  means  it  must  be  easily  configurable  and   extensible.  ERP  can  benefit  tremendously  from  the  availability  of   application  services  that  ease  and  speed  development  and  customization,   as  well  as  from  the  ecosystem  that  develops  around  the  platform.     CHANGE  HAPPENS   Why  is  a  development  platform  such  a  significant  factor  today?  The  short   answer  is:  Because  change  happens.   While  “nothing  is  constant  but  change”  is  not  a  new  observation,  never  has  it   been  more  relevant.  The  pace  of  change  has  been  accelerating  over  the  past   several  decades,  reaching  a  crescendo  in  today’s  digital  age.  And  with  that   acceleration  comes  the  added  risk  of  disruption  to  your  business.  While   industries  and  business  models  used  to  take  decades  to  evolve,  today  this   transformation  can  seem  almost  instantaneous.   The  disruption  from  the  introduction  of  new  products,  and  sometimes  entirely   new  categories  of  products,  has  been  with  us  for  several  decades.  Kodak  did   not  respond  quickly  enough  to  digital  photography,  toppling  it  from  its   position  of  dominance  and  leading  to  its  filing  for  bankruptcy  in  2012.  Digital   Data Source In  this  report,    Mint   Jutras  references  data   collected  from  its  2015   Enterprise  Solution   Study,  which   investigated  goals,   challenges  and  status   and  also  benchmarked   performance  of   enterprise  software   implementations  used  to   actually  run  a  business.   At  this  time  almost  400   responses  have  been   collected  from   companies  of  all  sizes,   across  a  broad  range  of   industries.     While  industries  and   business  models  used  to   take  decades  to  evolve,   today  this   transformation  can  seem   almost  instantaneous.   Why  Platform  Matters  When  Choosing  an  ERP  System     Page  2  of  9       Equipment  Corporation  (DEC)  did  not  respond  quickly  enough  to  personal   computing,  leading  to  the  demise  of  a  company  that  was  once  a  powerhouse   in  the  industry.   DISRUPTING  YOUR  BUSINESS;  DISRUPTING  YOUR  ERP   Even  though  new  products  and  product  categories  could  bring  about  the   downfall  of  corporations,  it  was  rarely  because  ERP  couldn’t  respond  fast   enough.  After  all,  ERP  was  built  to  introduce  new  products  and  obsolete  old   ones.  But  the  type  of  change  occurring  today  has  the  potential  of  having  a  very   significant  impact  on  ERP.  More  often  than  not  today,  new  business  models   are  responsible  for  the  disruption  and  demise  of  businesses.  Who  would  have   thought  an  upstart  like  Netflix,  with  a  new  idea  for  delivering  entertainment,   would  bring  about  the  disruption  and  ultimate  failure  of  Blockbuster  stores?   These  new  business  models  often  mean  new  ways  of  transacting  business,   new  ways  that  your  old  ERP  may  not  be  able  to  accommodate.  In  the  days  of   traditional,  on-­‐premises  deployments  of  ERP,  if  your  business  model  needed   to  change  and  your  solution  wasn’t  flexible  enough  to  accommodate  the   change  (which  was  quite  likely),  you  could  take  one  of  two  different   approaches,  or  perhaps  a  combination  of  the  two.  You  could  ask  your  ERP   solution  provider  to  modify  the  software  or  you  could  customize  the  solution.   Either  could  be  costly  and  lead  to  failure.   A  traditional  on-­‐premises  ERP  solution  typically  undergoes  a  major  revision   (upgrade)  every  12  to  18  months.  This  time  factor  is  not  only  determined  by   the  vendor’s  ability  to  design,  program,  test  and  package  up  the  new  version,   but  also  by  its  customers’  ability  and  willingness  to  undergo  a  major  upgrade.   If  you  request  such  a  change  (and  your  vendor  agrees  to  it)  before  the  cutoff   for  the  design  of  the  new  release,  you  might  wait  12  to  18  months.  But  timing   is  everything.  If  you  miss  that  window  of  opportunity,  you  might  have  to  wait   for  an  additional  cycle.  So  in  reality  you  would  wait  12  to  36  months,  and   perhaps  longer  if  you  were  unwilling  or  unable  to  jump  right  on  the  newest   release.  Meanwhile  your  window  of  opportunity  could  close  on  that  new   business  model  and  you  could  well  be  on  the  road  to  being  the  next   Blockbuster  store.   So  perhaps  instead  you  choose  the  route  of  customization.  Unless  you  are  on   the  leading  edge  of  modern  technology,  this  customization  is  likely  to  mean   invasive  code  changes  that  are  expensive  and  typically  take  longer  than   planned.  Furthermore,  they  will  likely  create  obstacles  that  prevent  you  from   taking  advantage  of  the  innovation  your  solution  provider  delivers.  Instead  of   being  the  next  Netflix,  you  could  wind  up  being  the  next  Netflix  “wannabe.”   THE  CLOUD:  PATH  TO  MORE  INNOVATION   More  and  faster  innovation  is  one  of  the  advantages  of  the  cloud.  Enterprise   applications  delivered  as  software  as  a  service  (SaaS)  have  the  potential  to   New  business  models   often  mean  new  ways  of   transacting  business,   new  ways  that  your  old   ERP  may  not  be  able  to   accommodate.   If  you  let  the  window  of   opportunity  close  on  that   new  business  model,  you   could  well  be  on  the  road   to  being  the  next   Blockbuster  store  -­‐  closed.     Enterprise  applications   delivered  as  software  as   a  service  (SaaS)  have  the   potential  to  deliver  more   innovation  through  more   frequent  updates  –  but   not  all  actually  do.   Why  Platform  Matters  When  Choosing  an  ERP  System     Page  3  of  9       deliver  more  innovation  through  more  frequent  updates,  while  also  reducing   the  cost  and  effort  of  upgrades.  The  cost  and  effort  part  is  intuitive  and   universal  –  the  solution  provider  does  the  heavy  lifting  when  it  comes  time  to   upgrade.     But  not  all  cloud  solutions  deliver  more  innovation  and  more  frequent   updates.  In  fact  our  2015  Mint  Jutras  Enterprise  Solution  study  found  only  37%   of  those  actually  running  SaaS  solutions  indicated  this  was  a  benefit  actually   realized.  There  are  several  factors  at  play  here.   Some  SaaS  solution  providers  offer  the  option  of  running  the  same  solution   on-­‐premises  and  as  SaaS.  Solution  providers  that  deliver  on-­‐premises  solutions   are  forced  to  maintain  multiple  versions  of  the  software.  Very  often  the   software  is  offered  on  a  choice  of  platforms  and  databases,  and  the  vendors   must  support  multiple  release  levels  determined  by  their  customers’  ability  to   keep  pace  with  upgrades.  For  every  person-­‐day  they  spend  on  innovation,   they  spend  another  multiple  of  that  day  making  sure  it  works  across  multiple   environments.  A  pure,  multi-­‐tenant  SaaS  solution  (see  sidebar)  eliminates   these  distractions  from  enhancing  the  software  and  affords  the  luxury  of   maintaining  a  single  line  of  code.   So  multi-­‐tenant  SaaS  solutions  are  more  likely  to  deliver  more  innovation,   more  frequently.  But  the  speed  with  which  innovation  is  delivered  will  depend   a  lot  on  the  strength  of  the  underlying  platform.  The  ability  to  operate  a   strong,  safe  and  secure  multi-­‐tenant  environment  doesn’t  just  happen  on  its   own.  Either  the  PaaS  provides  this,  or  the  SaaS  solution  provider  needs  to   develop  this  itself,  drawing  resources  away  from  developing  the  features  and   functions  of  the  application.   GROWING  PAINS   But  the  emergence  of  new  business  models  is  not  the  only,  or  even  the  most   likely  change  that  confronts  your  business.  Many  of  the  challenges  felt  by   companies  today  are  simply  growing  pains.  Today  growth  is  not  limited  to   established  economies.  Completely  new  markets  are  opening  up  in  emerging   economies.  Innovation,  advanced  technology  and  the  Internet  have  combined   to  create  new  consumer  middle  classes  in  countries  that  were  hardly   industrialized  a  short  decade  ago,  creating  unprecedented  growth   opportunity.  Not  only  does  this  result  in  increasingly  remote  and  distributed   environments,  it  also  adds  risk  and  creates  new  challenges  in  maintaining   governance  and  control.  You  can’t  afford  to  take  years  to  implement  solutions   to  run  the  business.  And  you  probably  don’t  have  the  deep  pockets  or  the  time   needed  to  build  out  infrastructure  half  a  world  away  from  your  established   locations.     Cloud  ERP  delivered  as  SaaS  can  certainly  help.  No  capital  expenditure   required;  no  need  to  build  out  a  data  center,  or  even  put  hardware  or  a  huge   Multi-tenant versus Single-tenant SaaS Multi-­‐tenant  SaaS:   Multiple  companies  use   the  same  instance  of   hosted  software;   configuration  settings,   company  and  role-­‐based   access  personalize   business  processes  and   protect  data  security.     Single-­‐tenant  (or  Multi-­‐ instance)  SaaS:  Each   company  is  given  its  own   instance  of  the  (hosted)   software,  but  may  share   common  services,  such   as  an  integration   platform,  and  security.     Why  Platform  Matters  When  Choosing  an  ERP  System     Page  4  of  9       information  technology  (IT)  staff  in  country.    This  of  course  assumes  your   cloud  provider  can  support  these  new  territories.     But  these  new  and  emerging  economies  place  new  demands  on  your  ERP.     Don’t  necessarily  assume  any  ERP  will  be  fully  localized  for  transacting   business  here.  There  may  be  new  tax,  customs  or  reporting  legislation  that   needs  to  be  developed  to  fully  support  a  new  region.  Again,  the  ease  and   speed  of  development  will  be  a  large  and  looming  factor  in  being  able  to   conduct  business.  And  the  ecosystem  surrounding  your  ERP  will  also  play  a   role,  because  solution  providers  are  quite  likely  to  look  to  local  partners  to  fill   that  need.   Our  conclusion  is  that  companies  that  seek  to  grow  and  thrive  in  the  digital   age  cannot  be  confined  by  old  and  slow  ways  of  developing  software.  Speed   matters  and  the  right  development  platform  can  have  a  tremendous  impact   on  how  quickly  software  can  be  developed,  enhanced  and  extended.  Moving   to  the  cloud  can  further  accelerate  your  ability  to  respond.  A  cloud  solution   supported  by  the  right  platform  can  help  you  get  there  even  faster.     SPEED  MATTERS;  PLATFORM  CAN  HELP   Did  you  ever  wonder  why  it  takes  so  long  to  develop  software?  It’s  because  of   all  the  little  (and  big)  things  you  (the  businessperson)  don’t  see…  things  like   securing  records  in  a  file  so  that  two  users  aren’t  trying  to  update  the  same   one,  at  the  same  time,  causing  changes  to  be  lost.  Or  maybe  it  is  indexing  a  file   so  that  a  program  doesn’t  have  to  search  the  entire  file  sequentially  to  find  the   right  data.  You  probably  never  even  think  about  these  components  of   programming,  but  your  developers  must.   A  development  platform  can  provide  “application  services”  such  as  these  and   many,  many  more,  so  that  developers  don’t  have  to  worry  about  all  these   details,  for  each  and  every  program.  The  platform  handles  them…  and  handles   them  consistently,  the  same  way  every  time  a  program  is  written.   The  use  of  the  term  “services”  here  might  at  first  seem  a  little  confusing,  since   in  the  context  of  PaaS,  the  platform  itself  is  delivered  “as  a  service.”  But  in  this   context,  think  of  it  simply  as  a  service  the  developers  use  instead  of  writing   code  from  scratch  every  time,  much  like  you  would  make  use  of  the   calculations  included  with  TurboTax  instead  of  doing  all  the  manual   calculations  for  your  tax  preparations  each  year.       Any  PaaS  delivers  some  level  of  these  application  services,  but  some  will   deliver  more  services  than  others,  including  mobile  and  social  capabilities,  as   well  as  analytics.     MOBILE   Everyone  today  carries  one  or  more  mobile  devices;  they  become  our  lifeline   for  connectivity.  More  and  more  we  want  to  access  enterprise  data  from  these   Companies  that  seek  to   grow  and  thrive  in  the   digital  age  cannot  be   confined  by  old  and  slow   ways  of  developing   software.  Speed  matters   and  the  right   development  platform   can  have  a  tremendous   impact  on  how  quickly   software  can  be   developed,  enhanced   and  extended.   Why  Platform  Matters  When  Choosing  an  ERP  System     Page  5  of  9       devices  in  order  to  support  informed,  data-­‐driven  decisions,  wherever  we   happen  to  be.  By  adding  a  mobile  element,  sometimes  we  forget  we  need   added  levels  of  security.   Many  of  us  have  a  very  definite  preference  for  Apple  iOS,  Android,  perhaps  a   Windows  device  or  even  a  Blackberry.  We  choose  these  devices  in  large  part   because  of  the  user  experience.  If  we  then  start  to  access  enterprise  data   using  the  mobile  device,  we  would  like  to  preserve  the  native  experience  we   are  accustomed  to  on  the  device.  This  secure  user  experience  doesn’t  just   magically  happen  without  any  effort  from  the  developer.  That  is,  unless  the   platform  takes  care  of  it,  freeing  up  the  developer  to  add  more  features  and   functions.   SOCIAL   As  to  social  capabilities,  some  business  leaders  have  yet  to  recognize  the  value   of  “social”  in  the  context  of  enterprise  applications,  thinking  it  only  pertains  to   marketing  and  perhaps  as  a  window  to  customer  sentiment.  When  Mint  Jutras   survey  respondents  were  asked  to  stack  rank  10  different  selection  criteria  for   enterprise  applications,  “social”  capabilities  came  in  dead  last.  Yet  the   connection  to  real  business  value  beyond  this  is  quite  easy  to  make.     In  fact,  when  asked  to  prioritize  some  of  the  actual  capabilities,  we  got  a   different  response  (Table  1).  Forty  percent  (40%)  of  survey  participants   indicated  the  ability  to  capture  a  conversation  (chat)  and  associate  it  directly   to  a  business  object  (e.g.  customers,  orders,  products,  suppliers,  etc.)  would   be  useful,  and  an  additional  21%  indicated  this  was  a  “must  have.”       Table  1:  Are  these  “social”  capabilities  useful?     Source: Mint Jutras 2015 Enterprise Solution Study While  “chat”  capabilities  are  typically  outside  the  scope  of  an  ERP  application,   the  desire  to  connect  these  conversations  back  to  the  transactions  in  ERP  is   If  you  expect  to  access   enterprise  data  from  a   mobile  device,   preserving  the  native   experience  to  which  you   are  accustomed,  don’t   assume  that  will  just   magically  happen   without  any  effort  from   the  developer.  That  is,   unless  the  platform   takes  care  of  it,  freeing   up  the  developer  to  add   more  features  and   functions.     Why  Platform  Matters  When  Choosing  an  ERP  System     Page  6  of  9       becoming  a  definite  “must.”  Look  to  the  platform  to  help  make  the   connection.   CONFIGURATION:  CUSTOMIZE  WITH  CLICKS  NOT  CODE   With  a  good  platform,  enhancements,  customizations  and  extensions  can  be   built  much  more  quickly.  With  a  modern,  technology-­‐enabled  architecture,   this  innovation  might  just  be  possible  without  ever  touching  the  core  ERP   application,  without  building  any  barriers  to  future  upgrades.   A  good  development  platform  allows  ERP  to  be  built  in  layers  that  are   separate  from  the  source  code,  protecting  it  from  invasive  customization.  First   and  foremost  there  will  be  a  user  interface  layer.  By  removing  this  from  the   source  code,  you  can  easily  tailor  what  the  users  see,  and  how  they  see  it,   without  ever  touching  the  underlying  code.  This  is  also  how  translations  are   much  more  easily  delivered  these  days,  allowing  different  users  to  interface   with  ERP  in  different  languages.     This  means  tailoring  the  look  and  feel  is  easy.  It  also  means  that  configuration   (versus  customization)  does  not  require  deep  technical  skills  and  is  carried   forward  as  the  software  is  enhanced.  In  fact,  with  a  good  platform  this  type  of   configuration  should  be  easy  enough  for  a  business  user  to  do.   In  addition,  a  platform  might  introduce  a  set  of  business  rules  that  are  created   and  maintained.  These  rules  might  be  used  to  determine  behavior  of  a   function  or  to  configure  next  steps  in  a  workflow.  Business  rules  might  define   different  thresholds  for  approval  (e.g.  all  purchase  orders  require  approval  but   those  over  a  certain  value  require  an  extra  step  in  the  approval  process).    This   keeps  a  lot  of  the  “intelligence”  of  the  application  out  of  the  code.  Less  code   means  faster  development  and  easier  maintenance  as  business  conditions   change.   STRENGTH  IN  NUMBERS…  OF  DEVELOPERS   The  better  the  development  platform,  the  more  likely  it  will  attract  more   developers.  The  more  developers  attracted  to  the  platform,  the  more   applications  get  developed,  which  ultimately  can  be  shared.  Features,   functions  and  extensions  have  the  potential  to  start  to  grow,  if  not   exponentially,  at  least  much  faster  than  the  typical  linear  sequence  of   development.    This  is  sort  of  a  Catch-­‐22,  but  in  reverse.  The  strong  keep   getting  stronger,  while  the  weak  (those  that  attract  only  a  few  developers)  will   struggle  to  compete.     Consumer  technology  provides  us  with  a  good  analogy.  When  “smart  phones”   first  became  almost  ubiquitous,  Blackberry  dominated.  However,  since  those   early  days  it  has  seen  a  dramatic  decline  in  popularity,  in  large  part  because  of   consumer  mobile  apps.  Everywhere  you  look  there  are  free  (or  inexpensive)   apps  for  anything  from  counting  calories  to  tracking  your  fitness  to  ordering  a   A  development  platform   with  few  customers  will   not  attract  developers   while  the  platform  with   the  largest  customer   base  will  be  most   attractive  to  developers.   Conversely,  the  platform   with  the  most   developers,  creating  the   most  applications,  will   be  most  attractive  to   customers.   Configuration  (versus   customization)  does  not   require  deep  technical   skills  and  is  carried   forward  as  the  software   is  enhanced.   Why  Platform  Matters  When  Choosing  an  ERP  System     Page  7  of  9       taxi  or  a  pizza  to  selling  stuff  sitting  in  your  garage.  But  the  majority  of  these   apps  don’t  run  on  a  Blackberry.  They  run  on  Apple  products  (iPad,  iPhone  and   others  on  the  iOS  platform)  and  Android  devices.     And  iOS  and  Android  don’t  just  dominate  in  consumer  apps.  The  dominance  is   coming  to  the  world  of  business  as  well.  Going  to  a  conference?  Want  to   download  and  build  your  own  agenda  and  communicate  with  other   attendees?  If  you  just  carry  a  Blackberry,  you’re  out  of  luck.  It’s  enough  to   make  even  diehard  Blackberry  fans  switch.  Which  means  fewer  Blackberry   users  in  the  future,  and  even  less  incentive  to  provide  the  same  kind  of   connectivity  on  the  platform.   We  can  apply  the  same  principles  to  the  development  platform  on  which  ERP   is  built.  If  you  find  an  ERP  solution  built  on  a  platform  that  attracts  a  lot  of   developers,  you  are  very  likely  to  find  a  lot  of  extensions  developed  that  can   complement  your  solution.  The  fact  that  these  third  party  products  are  built   on  the  same  platform  does  not  necessarily  guarantee  they  will  be  tightly   integrated  with  your  ERP.  If  developed  by  a  partner  of  your  ERP  solution   provider,  the  likelihood  increases.  And  even  if  it  is  not  tightly  integrated  right   “out  of  the  box,”  it  is  likely  going  to  be  much  easier  to  make  that  connection   than  it  would  be  if  the  complementary  solution  were  not  developed  on  the   same  platform.     The  bottom  line…  look  for  a  popular  platform  and  an  extensive  ecosystem.   And  also  look  for  one  with  a  marketplace  on  which  developers  can  sell  their   wares  to  businesses  like  your  own.  If  a  developer  is  able  to  build  an  extension   and  potentially  market  and  sell  it  to  other  companies,  there  is  a  better  chance   the  solutions  developed  will  be  products  that  can  be  used  “off  the  shelf,”   rather  than  as  one-­‐off  customizations.   CASE  IN  POINT:  KENANDY  RUNS  ON  SALESFORCE1   Kenandy  is  one  of  the  new  kids  on  the  ERP  block.  Founded  in  the  cloud  in  2010   by  industry  veteran  Sandra  Kurtzig,  the  company  had  the  luxury  of  starting   from  a  clean  sheet  of  paper.  But  it  needed  to  find  a  way  to  add  both  speed  and   efficiency  to  the  development  process  in  order  to  compete  against  “mature”   ERP  products  and  providers  in  the  modern,  connected  digital  economy.   Selecting  the  right  platform  on  which  to  build  was  therefore  critical  and   Kenandy  chose  the  Salesforce1  Platform,  citing  cost  and  speed  of  development   among  the  deciding  factors.     Salesforce  estimates  the  platform  speeds  development  by  a  factor  of  five,  and   cuts  the  cost  of  development  in  half.  As  a  result,  leveraging  the  Salesforce1   Platform  has  been  a  big  win,  not  only  for  Kenandy,  but  also  for  its  customers.   Both  benefit  from  the  ease  and  speed  of  development,  as  well  as  the  vast   ecosystem  that  has  grown  around  the  platform.     Salesforce  estimates  the   platform  speeds   development  by  a  factor   of  five,  and  cuts  the  cost   of  development  in  half.   This  translates  to   benefits  for  the  customer   in  more  innovation,  at  a   faster  pace.   If  you  find  an  ERP   solution  built  on  a   platform  that  attracts  a   lot  of  developers,  you   are  very  likely  to  find  a   lot  of  extensions   developed  that  can   complement  your   solution.   Why  Platform  Matters  When  Choosing  an  ERP  System     Page  8  of  9       For  Kenandy,  it  means  fewer  wheels  to  (re)invent,  by  taking  advantage  of   application  services  already  built  into  Salesforce1    including:   • Support  for  a  multi-­‐tenant  SaaS  environment,  which  we  previously   noted  as  a  key  enabler  in  delivering  more  innovation,  faster   • A  workflow  engine,  access  and  identity  management   • Other  rapid  developer  services  include  Salesforce  standard  user   interface  templates,  (business)  object  orientation  and  built-­‐in  mobile   support   • The  ability  to  tie  “social”  online  chats  (through  Salesforce  Chatter)   directly  back  to  business  objects   • Embedded  analytics  with  Salesforce  Wave,  a  cloud-­‐based  data   platform  as  well  as  a  data-­‐analysis  front  end  designed  to  analyze  not   just  Kenandy,  but  also  any  third-­‐party  app  data,  desktop  data,  or   public  data  you  bring  in   While  we  have  been  discussing  the  merits  of  development  platforms,  you   must  also  consider  the  infrastructure  as  a  service  (IaaS)  upon  which  the   applications  developed  with  the  PaaS  runs.  In  this  case,  Salesforce  also  offers   some  advantages.  The  numbers  speak  for  themselves.  Salesforce  is  a  platform   used  by  100,000  organizations,  supporting  3  million  users  and  one  billion   transactions  a  day.  It  boasts  99.9999%  uptime  and  global  datacenters  around   the  world.   While  any  solution  built  on  the  Salesforce1  Platform  has  the  potential  of   enjoying  these  benefits,  Kenandy  goes  one  step  further  in  how  it  has   architected  the  solution  on  top  of  that  platform.  It  has  developed  a  unified   data  model  that  takes  full  advantage  of  the  power  of  business  objects,  by   adding  new  dimensions  to  otherwise  very  familiar  “objects”  like  orders,   invoices,  customers,  product,  etc.    And    Kenandy  prides  itself  in  saying  it  can   personalize  with  “clicks,  not  code.”  This  means  adding  fields,  changing   workflows,  rearranging  the  screens  without  the  disruption  and  expense  of   invasive  code  changes.     EXTENDING  THE  SOLUTION   But  even  with  this  level  of  configurability,  no  ERP  will  ever  be  able  to  satisfy   every  need  of  every  company,  which  is  why  the  choice  of  development   platform  is  so  important.  Previously  we  advised  companies  in  search  of  an  ERP   to  choose  one  that  was  built  on  a  popular  platform.  Which  is  exactly  what   Kenandy  did  when  it  decided  to  build  on  top  of  the  Salesforce1  Platform.     The  Salesforce  AppExchange  is  the  largest  online  marketplace  of  its  kind,   offering  products  built  on  the  Salesforce1  Platform  –  all  220,000  of  them.  If   you  need  to  extend  the  Kenandy  solution,  this  should  be  your  starting  point.   Don’t  go  looking  to  reinvent  a  wheel  that  is  very  likely  to  have  been  already   designed  and  developed.   “I  immediately  saw   how  easy  it  is  to  add   and  extend   capabilities  with   Kenandy.  I  was   convinced  that  this   was  something  we   could  manage  pretty   much  on  our  own,  and   that  had  a  strong   appeal  to  us.”   Pete  Staples,  President   and  Co-­‐founder,  Blue   Clover  Devices,  a   Kenandy  customer   “With  Kenandy,  I  don’t   need  a  C+  or  a  PHP   guy—I  just  need   someone  smart.   Kenandy  not  only  lets   us  see  our  data  more   clearly,  it  lets  us   quickly  react  to  things   and  customize  the   system  ourselves.   That’s  real  value.”   -­‐-­‐Charlie  Merrow,  CEO,   Merrow  Sewing   Machine  Company,  a   Kenandy  customer   Why  Platform  Matters  When  Choosing  an  ERP  System     Page  9  of  9       All  products  offered  on  the  AppExchange  are  100%  native  to  the  platform  and   share  an  integrated,  secure  data  and  identity  management  model.  All  go   through  a  rigorous  security  review  and  all  are  equally  easy  to  customize  using   developer  tools  available  from  Salesforce.  Don’t  have  developers  yourself?   With  such  a  lucrative  market  that  has  sprung  up  around  the  platform,  you  can   be  sure  there  are  lots  of  qualified  developers  around.   SUMMARY  AND  KEY  TAKEAWAYS   Any  company  making  an  ERP  purchase  today  should  be  cognizant  of  not  only   the  features  and  functions  being  delivered,  but  also  the  platform  on  which  it  is   developed.  Ask  the  tough  questions  about  platform  of  any  prospective   purveyor  of  ERP:   • Does  it  take  advantage  of  the  latest  technology  that  has  brought  us   into  the  digital  age?     • Are  mobile,  social  and  analytics  built  in?     • Can  it  support  cloud,  the  great  enabler  of  standardization  and  growth?   In  other  words  is  it  a  platform  “as  a  service?”   • Is  it  a  platform  that  supports  configurability  over  invasive   customization?     • Does  it  easily  facilitate  any  customization  that  truly  is  required?     • And  finally…  how  popular  is  it?  Will  you  be  searching  for  developers  or   searching  through  a  large  marketplace  of  add-­‐ons  and  extensions?   As  a  business  leader,  you  may  not  understand  the  nitty  gritty  technical  details   of  PaaS,  but  you  shouldn’t  let  that  limit  your  expectations  for  ERP.  After  all,  it   must  keep  up  with  you  in  running  your  business  in  the  digital  age.             About  the  author:    Cindy  Jutras  is  a  widely  recognized  expert  in  analyzing  the  impact   of  enterprise  applications  on  business  performance.  Utilizing  over  40  years  of   corporate  experience  and  specific  expertise  in  manufacturing,  supply  chain,  customer   service  and  business  performance  management,  Cindy  has  spent  the  past  9+  years   benchmarking  the  performance  of  software  solutions  in  the  context  of  the  business   benefits  of  technology.  In  2011  Cindy  founded  Mint  Jutras  LLC  (,   specializing  in  analyzing  and  communicating  the  business  value  enterprise  applications   bring  to  the  enterprise.     Don’t  have  developers   yourself?  With  such  a   lucrative  market  that   has  sprung  up  around   the  Salesforce1   Platform,  you  can  be   sure  there  are  lots  of   qualified  developers   around.