SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) need a complete solution. The pure-ASP solution will not work because of issues of trust and connectivity challenges. We need a solution which combines the best of the software CD with the ASP. We also need this to be on a robust hardware platform, which is remotely managed. So, software applications and data need to be available locally, but also replicated remotely on the server. This means, we need to create a very low-cost and footprint server which is extremely robust, and which has the software applications as components. This server has to take care of all business needs. Data also needs to be entered only once, which means an integrated XML database is needed at the backend.
The real value of the Internet is in helping businesses becoming efficient, in helping them grow their revenues while cutting costs at the same time, about getting access to information in real-time and leveraging it in ways previously not even thought of. This wave in enterprise software is only just beginning. There are millions of companies using computers across the world, but few are using it in an integrated sense.
This is where the opportunity of tomorrow lies: creating a set of standardised applications for companies which can be used across their functions internally, and collaboratively externally – with suppliers, customers and partners. Organisations need to be beyond using Messaging and Collaboration – they need to e-enable the enterprise, create the “intelligent, real-time enterprise”. This means having a suite of applications to support ERP, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and SCM (Supply Chain Management) – but from an SME viewpoint.
SMEs globally need an e-business suite for automating and integrating not just their internal functions, and also helping them collaborate with its partners. The suite should provide a single offering covering internal processes (ERP) and external interactions (CRM, SCM). It should be modular and Lego-like: SMEs can use it the way they want, piecing together the building blocks. Also needed: a library of business processes, models and architectures which SMEs can draw upon, and put in place not just its internal processes but also the software support for them through the suite.
The solution is to build out a complete Enterprise Software Stack as follows:
|Industry Applications||CRM SCM Marketplace Auctions ePayments CollaborativePlanning
|Enterprise Applications||Finance HR Admin Procurement Content/CatalogManagement Analytics Website/eCommerce(Storefront) Marketing Sales EnterpriseInformationPortal ProductDevelopment Logistics InventoryManagement Training|
|Enterprise Platform||OfficeApps(Word,Excel,Powerpoint-equivalent) Calendar Scheduling InstantMessaging ContactDatabase Forums Collaboration VoiceOverIP GlobalAddressBook VirtualPrivateNetwork WebConferencing UnifiedMessaging||Business Operating System|
|Core Infrastructure||Database Mail FaxServer FileSharing/Server PrintServer ApplicationServer Backup DialIn/Out InternetAccess Anti-Virus WebServer Proxy Caching Firewall Router Anti-Spam ContentReplication FileTransferProtocol Internet-PABX|
|Integrated XML Database|
|Linux Operating System|
|Physical Layer||Ethernet Telephone ISDN Printer WirelessLAN(802.11b)||Interfaces|
Software upgrades should be seamless and transparent to the end-users. There should be no customization. What is needed is a minimalist system which is built ground-up from the OS. Strip out all that is not needed, adhere to standard protocols, and store everything in an XML database to achieve integration.
This full-featured set of applications for the core enterprise processes should be priced at about USD 5-10 per person per month, thus making it extremely affordable. Such a solution would be at least 10 times more cost-effective.