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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Regulate enterprise vendors first

I can’t really hazard a guess on the coming regulatory overkill. It always does following a massive crisis as the one that is now blowing across the Wall Street and rapidly spilling across the world at large. It’s no longer an American crisis or developed markets crisis, it’s a global crisis now sweeping across economies and industries. Similarly credit tightening does not just entail a crisis of liquidity that folds up investment banks; it’s a business crisis that scuppers momentum out of every enterprise - big or small, global or local.
If there is one breed that still feels a bit casual about it is that of software vendors. The large enterprise vendors like SAP, Oracle, HP, IBM, Microsoft all of them have developed software package applications for different verticals even as the industry itself has been evolving. SAP talks about being able to support 28 industries. It also suggests 100% solutions in each. Yet if you look at its solution maps, it has several "white spaces". It talks about extending them with its partner ISVs and SIs with NetWeaver platformed xApps or has future R&D plans for them. So where is it really? Who will watch them?
How did they do that? Ask any investment banker about the logic behind a CDS, ABS, MBS, CDO, CLO or such alphabet soup, he will still be wringing hands. But the tech vendors seem to `get it’ all and boy they ran with it – screaming vertical capability! Why haven’t the earliest developer / functional analyst that studied the prototype of subprime mortgage and the excessive leverage blown the whistle on the wobbly nature of the foundation?

Answer lies in casualness of approach. To hell, with outcomes. They are concerned with operationalizing a functionality as advertised. So if they provide the plain vanilla financial, CRM, pay roll or HR package to an Investment bank, they claimed I-banking vertical capability. Business transformation – does it also mean driving a healthy business to bankruptcy in a matter of days? Or is it Paramedic filling in for surgeon? God save the patient.

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