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Day: February 11, 2018

What is ERP? A guide to enterprise resource planning systems

What is ERP?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software standardizes, streamlines, and integrates business processes across finance, human resources, procurement, distribution, and other departments. Typically the software operates on an integrated software platform using common data definitions operating on a single database.

In 1990, Gartner created the term ERP to describe the evolution of materials requirements planning (MRP) and manufacturing resource planning (MRP II) as they expanded beyond manufacturing into other parts of the enterprise, typically finance and HR.

ERP systems evolved rapidly during the 1990s in response to Y2K and the introduction of the Euro. Most enterprises viewed Y2K and the Euro as the cost of doing business, and ERPs provided as a cost-effective way to replace multiple, old systems with a standardized package that could also address these issues.

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IDG Contributor Network: Why retail is the new data industry

At massive tech conferences like CES, SXSW, Web Summit or even Dreamforce, data is at the core of many innovations and conversations. But it’s time we add another annual event to that list: The National Retail Federation’s Big Show. More and more, the retail industry is driven by data insights and the technologies powering them. So, it came as no surprise to me when visiting NRF in New York last month, data-centric technology innovation was in the air.

The NRF’s Retail Big Show lives up to its name. It’s a whirlwind event jam-packed with smart people and smart conversations. And if you’ve ever been inside the massive halls of Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Center where the event was held, you know what I mean about “big.” So, there was a lot to take in.

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IDG Contributor Network: Do you have a compelling innovation story?

Many, but not all, innovations involve some kind of technology, and start as an invention. Many of these technology-based inventions that may eventually become innovations are created by startups, but many are created inside large companies as well. In both cases, these technology-based potential innovations are often created by engineers or technologists that are well-versed in the problems they are solving to make the technology work, but not always with the problems that the technology may solve for customers. Often the inventors speak the languages of science and technology, which is not always the same language as that understood by the potential customers for their invention that they hope will become an innovation.

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Oracle pitches autonomous capabilities for its entire cloud platform

Oracle is raising its bid to attract enterprises moving to the cloud  by extending AI-based automation throughout its PaaS (platform as a service) offerings, claiming that the new automated services will cut costs and reduce management headaches.

The company is using AI techniques including machine learning to enable the various services in its Oracle Cloud Platform to do self-maintenance, such as optimizing workloads and installing patches.

The basic pitch to CIOs is straightforward. “It’s really reducing costs and increasing productivity — that’s what we’re aiming for, where CIOs can really take care of focusing their resources and investment on strategic initiatives and have the services run by Oracle be very self-running,” said Amit Zavery, executive vice president of product development for the Oracle Cloud Platform.

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IDG Contributor Network: Policy challenges of artificial intelligence

As Harvard University economist Jason Furman said when he was Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, our biggest worry about AI should be that there might not be enough of it.  The United States needs to develop this powerful new technology to its fullest to maintain our economic and technological leadership in the face of increasingly sophisticated competition from China, which has made AI-development a strategic priority.

Of course, AI is fraught with ethical challenges.  In the course on AI and Ethics I teach at Georgetown University, I find the students concerned that AI will be a biased, unaccountable force in their lives and that it will be deployed to create joblessness and exacerbate social and economic inequality.

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IDG Contributor Network: Unveiling the ERP Pain-O-Meter

About 25 years ago I ran my own manufacturing business and personally experienced significant ERP pain. The business struggled to get reliable data out of the ERP system to make decisions and we constantly found ourselves working outside of the system as our manufacturing processes evolved.

I masked the issues with short-term solutions: customizing existing software, bolting together multiple best-of-breed software solutions, and utilizing spreadsheets as workarounds. However, these options increased the IT operating budget and only caused more challenges in the long run. As this vicious cycle continued, this ERP pain progressed into an ERP nightmare.

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IDG Contributor Network: 7 things you should never, ever say when giving a presentation

A presentation does not begin in silence. It’s not drawn upon a blank slate.  A presentation is born into a world of noise. 

There’s ambient noise in the room. Most slides are visually noisy. The head of every member of the audience is filled with noise: afterthoughts from the last meeting; mental reviews of emails unsent; thinking ahead to what follows this meeting; and small crises on the home front. 

The task of a presenter is to reduce and cut through this noise. First and foremost, that means speaking clearly and with precision.

I’ve addressed the challenges presented by a heavy reliance on filler words in “Leaving ah, um and uh behind.” Even more egregious is the use of a number of words and phrases that seem to pop up again and again, especially in presentations delivered by technologists. This may be because of a developer or engineer’s lack of practice in public speaking, or their giving primacy to diligent coding over word choice. We place a premium on writing clean and efficient (if not “elegant”) code, but that premium does not always extend to speaking well.

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12 technologies that will disrupt business in 2018

In 2018, disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and computer vision are maturing, going from game-changing ideas to foundational tools for business. This year, we’ll see these and other technologies drive how business gets done and what new products will launch in the near future.

To get a sense of what’s ahead for this year, we looked at the technologies experts say are most likely to affect a wide variety of organizations as they undergo digital transformations. Pros in these fields gave us their top picks for what should be on your radar, as well as some insight into the implications of adopting these new technologies.

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