During the market crash a few years back, vision became a dirty word. Anyone claiming to have a vision for anything became suspect for having zero execution and negative income. Tactics, the short term ability to get stuff done and make money, ruled the day.
Now that the market has revived, vision has regained its glory. Beware! In particular, beware technology vendors that are long on vision and short on a plan to get you there.
I’m talking, of course, about Oracle and its plans for a ‘Fusion’ ERP product which, if you read between the lines, is a vision for a brand new platform. If you are a former PeopleSoft or JDEdwards client, however, you will need to do a wholesale ERP conversion to get to Fusion.
ERP conversions are tough enough, but you also have the problem that PeopleSoft in particular became popular for its toolset that let clients build their own in-house applications. Ever since Oracle announced Fusion, industry analysts have been wondering how Oracle would make the vision a reality for organizations now dependent on these home-grown apps.
Oracle has been mum on the topic, and only recently came up with the idea of having users catalogue their in-house changes. I’m sure it’s great to have a catalogue, make no mistake: the vision for Oracle clients, or rather, to use the technical term, lemmings, is “Throw away your strategic apps and start over with us.”
In contrast, SAP, and, by the way, TempWorks, take the approach that vision means taking your clients with you. SAP is a great company, and I’ve made a lot of money on their stock. I also closely watch how they blend strategy and tactics to make their customers successful.