Archive for May, 2013

Take the bus or the car… multi-tenant versus single-tenant software

May 19, 2013

A BusIn today’s world of the “Cloud”, I frequently find myself explaining the difference between multi-tenant and single-tenant software, where both are hosted or delivered through the Cloud.

I like to illustrate the difference by comparing it to the difference between a bus and a car.

A bus, like multi-tenanted software, is shared by many customers in order to reduce the cost per customer. It is driven by one driver, a trusted professional who dictates the path and direction forward. There is little flexibility in timing or journey per customer, because they all share the same bus and it can only be in one place at a time. The main benefit of a bus is cheaper travel at the cost of inflexibility.

Black Cabs
Compare this to single-tenanted software, which is like a car. A car is flexible as it can take you on the journey you want at the time you want. People who ride in cars instead of buses can dictate their own journey and schedule. Travelling by car is generally more expensive than travelling in a bus, but the benefit is flexibility.

Cars can be privately owned where you can drive them yourself, or they can be taxi-cabs which are driven by a trusted professional under your instructions as a customer. Taxi-cabs are similar to hosted single-tenant software, driven by a professional under your instructions, whereas private cars are similar to single-tenanted systems, run on-premise and controlled directly by the customer.

Obviously buses, cars and taxi-cabs all have their place in the world and each is better suited to different types of users for different purposes.

In the world of accounting and business management software, where my business Enprise operates, multi-tenanted software is generally better suited to smaller or simpler business requirements, where low cost is more important than flexibility. Single-tenant software is generally more suited to mid-sized and larger businesses that need more control and flexibility with their systems.

I notice that many multi-tenanted business management systems available on the market today are not that much cheaper than similarly specified single-tenant systems, in fact many work out to be more expensive. To my mind this is clearly a case of over-pricing and the vendors in question only get away with this due to the “smoke and mirrors” and hype surrounding the “Cloud”. I advise customers to look carefully at running costs compared to flexibility when choosing between single-tenant software such as MYOB EXO or SAP Business One and multi-tenant software such as NetSuite.

Empowering the Customer – so many choices

May 10, 2013

As time moves forward in the world of business and commerce, we as consumers increasingly get offered more and more choices and options. “Empowering the customer” is what it’s all about.

A case in point is the financial and business management software industry where I work through my role at Enprise Group. Today there are exponentially more options than ever before in all aspects of designing, configuring, consuming, delivering, accessing and paying for software and related services. In addition, there are significantly varied choices of software vendor and choices in the type of expert services to help and guide you in the use of your selected system. I think this abundance of choice is great and the different options work well for different types of businesses in different situations.

Let’s look at the different choices and I’ll offer you my opinion of the relative pros and cons;

    1. Choice of Financial Software

Your choice of financial software is critical because you want to know that the software will be around for the long-term to grow along with your business. My advice is to stick with strong market-leading vendors who have modern technology platforms & development roadmaps, decent market share and are profitable growing businesses themselves. My recommendations for Australasian businesses are vendors like MYOB, SAP and Microsoft. These are sound and proven long-term operators that have innovative, future-proof offerings. The heart of your financial system is not something to take undue risks with in my opinion. Your choice of software vendor has long-term implications. Strong, established vendors will also tend to have a strong and established channel of service and solution partners that can ensure that you get the best performance and add-on solutions for your system.

    2. Cloud versus On-Premise

Financial software in “The Cloud” is a valid software outsourcing/management, delivery and financing option for many businesses, but it is being over-hyped at this time in my opinion. It is the right option for some businesses, just as on-premise is the right option for other businesses. A clear and logical view is required to see through all the smoke and mirrors to make the right decision for your business.

“The Cloud” for financial software refers to a combination of options, including; multi-tenanting, outsourcing, hosting and subscription pricing or “software as a service” or “pay as you go”. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the individual options and remember that each of these can be selected individually or collectively when buying financial software solutions these days.

    • Multi-Tenanting:

    This is where many different businesses share the same instance of an on-line software package. It is a very good way of getting a large number of customers to share and thereby reduce costs, but that in turn comes at a cost in terms of a loss in flexibility. It’s a bit like riding in a bus instead of your own car. It costs a lot less but you have no control over a lot of things, such as when upgrades, fixes and changes will happen to your system and the ability to pilot-test for workflow issues in a new version on your data before you commit to an upgrade. There is also the limiting of options with regard to connecting to other software or devices. This is potentially scary stuff to medium or large businesses with more complex workflows, but of little concern to smaller simpler businesses.

    • Remote Hosting:

    Having your software and server hosted and managed in a professional-grade data centre with lots of redundancy, by professional, qualified engineers is without doubt the most safe and secure option if you’re serious about safety and security for your system. This is a good option if you have business-grade Internet connectivity which is subject to minimal outages and speed problems. If your local Internet connections are not up to scratch then hosting your software and/or server outside your building will be painful. There are other benefits, such as being able to access your software using a range of platforms and devices but then again there can be added complexities when you want to do simple things like integrate with software on your local computer or do fancy stuff with printers and scanners etc.
    Remote hosting can be more expensive or less expensive than on-premise hosting, depending on the expertise level of your staff, Internet and other costs and what grade of server you already own.
    All in all a mixture of pros and cons depending on your situation. Remember that any software can be remotely hosted – not only the multi-tenanted browser-based variety. As an example, check out

    • Subscription Pricing:

    Often referred to as SaaS Pricing (Software as a Service) – this is where you pay as you use the software. It’s a bit like leasing a car and there is usually a minimum term, such as two or three years that you sign up for. It’s a Profit & Loss expense instead of buying a software license asset on the Balance Sheet of your business. An advantage of subscription pricing is that for full Cloud solutions, it’s clean & simple and includes all costs including software upgrades, hosting and support. A disadvantage is that you’re often locked into a payment plan and in the long run it can be more expensive than buying the software license outright in the first place.

At Enprise, we like to empower our customers with choices when it comes to their financial software solutions and our consultants are well equipped to help them in making the right choices for their businesses. Cloud or on-premise, local or hosted, up-front or subscription pricing – the choices are all there.

The Road to HANA

May 9, 2013

SAP has a powerful new platform for business software called HANA. HANA stands for “High Performance Analytical Appliance” and it utilizes new “In-Memory” database technology, made possible by the new generation of computer servers that can have massive amounts of very fast Random Access Memory (RAM). The HANA database is column-based instead of row-based like conventional SQL servers, so the way it accesses data internally is completely different. HANA can handle massive workloads such as performing complex analytical queries at the same time as processing heavy transactional throughput – all on the same HANA appliance.

So what does all this mean for business customers? In short it means that business software running on HANA can run more concurrent users on larger databases more quickly than conventional database servers and at the same time produce complex real-time data warehousing-type analytics without having to run a separate server. Real time analytics is able to run at the same time as heavy transactional throughput on the same database. Wow.

At Enprise, we are excited about the new capabilities that HANA will give to our customers. Enprise Job customers on HANA will be able to run more concurrent users more quickly on larger databases and we will be able to produce more sophisticated reports and analysis of job and transaction data.

We expect that our largest Enprise Job customer – Nashua Communications of Midrand, South Africa (who run 300+ SAP Business One users and 60+ Enprise Job users) will be one of our first customers to fully switch their Business One system to HANA. At present they are running Business One HANA Analytics and are very pleased with the powerful search and analytical capabilities that is giving them. The next step for Nashua is to move all of their transactional processing on to HANA.

James Brading and I caught up with Nashua’s CIO, Darren de Vries at the SAP HANA TechSummit event in Bratislava during April this year.

Mark Loveys, Darren de Vries and James Brading

Mark Loveys, Darren de Vries (CIO of Nashua Communications) and James Brading at the SAP HANA TechSummit in Bratislava

Ullrich Aluminium marks 10 Years with Enprise

May 1, 2013

Ullrich Aluminium

Last month we caught up with Wayne Curran of Ullrich Aluminium, who has been an Enprise MYOB EXO customer since way back when we started Enprise in 2002.

Ullrich is our largest MYOB EXO customer, with 23 branches and over 160 users of MYOB EXO. In addition to MYOB EXO, they use a number of custom solutions that we have developed for them over the years.

We wish to thank Wayne and his team for their long term vote of confidence in Enprise & MYOB EXO and look forward to continuing to be of service to Ullrich Aluminium for the next ten years and beyond.

Pictured from left are Elliot Cooper, me, Wayne Curran and Julie Latu.

Enprise Job now in French!

May 1, 2013

Maybe it’s because I was born in Montreal but grew up in New Zealand without learning to speak French, that makes me so excited to see Enprise Job and Enprise Rent fully translated to the French language. I may not be able to speak French myself, but at least my software can!

Our French Canadian partners have long been asking for French translations of our very popular Enprise Job and Enprise Rent solutions for SAP Business One – and we are very pleased to deliver this for them in version 8.81.201, available for general release later this month.

Enprise is serious about providing business solutions to the French language countries and regions. As for me, I intend to brush up on my own French language skills. Nous pouvons le faire!

James demonstrates Enprise Job in French
Enprise Product Manager, James Brading demonstrates the new French Translation of Enprise Job.