Epicor Software and Activant Solutions to be Acquired and Merged into….Epicor Software

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In an announcement following by barely 3 weeks the disclosure that Lawson Software had received an unsolicited bid from Infor Global Solutions, private equity firm Apax Partners has announced plans to acquire and merge Activant Solutions and Epicor Software into a new privately-held company, to be called Epicor Software. The new entity will have some 30,000 customers and $825M in revenues.  This clearly indicates continuing interest by the investment community in the lucrative ERP marketplace, and an opportunity for larger players in the marketplace other than the two giants, SAP and Oracle.

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5 Ways SMBs Can Better Influence Technology Vendors

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It has been a year since SMB Research posted “SMBs: Get Influence Working with Large Vendors; 7 Guidelines to Ease the Process”.  As we have been working with a number of end users in 2010 and in early 2011, we are updating and refreshing this with some new insights and recommendations.

While it is undoubtedly true that small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) cannot avail themselves of all of the price breaks and other advantages of larger enterprises who have bigger IT and capex budgets, there are steps you can take to “look” big and be treated with the respect and amount of attention that you deserve: [Read more...]

10 Best Practices For a Better Website

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Have you read enough pieces yet on what makes a great website?

You have probably seen quite a few articles and posts addressing this.  We here at SMB Research know we have seen a lot of material. (SMB Research includes at least one fairly good article on SMB Research’s Top 20 Favorite Reads of 2010.)

Many of these articles seem to take a cookie-cutter approach:  it should go without saying at this point that a website needs to have good navigation, and that a website needs a “Call to Action”.

We think there are a number of other critical website features and best practices that get too little attention.

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Around the Horn with IBM Cognos Express, and Business Intelligence

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There were several pieces of interesting news this week in the Business Intelligence world:

SMB Research listened in closely to IBM this past week on their announcement of IBM’s Cognos Express v9.5.

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SMB Research’s Top 20 Favorite Reads of 2010

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What was the best SMB or technology-related piece you read this past year?

When we at SMB Research started talking a few weeks ago about what we thought were some of the most interesting and valuable articles from 2010, we realized that once again this year there has been a great deal of very good (however you define this) research and writing.  If you struggle to find the time to read to read everything that deserves your attention, we share your pain.

To help you out, SMB Research decided to take a look back at some of what has been written and published this past year, and to identify some of our favorite reads.

SMB Research’s Top 20 Favorite Reads, 2010:
(in chronological order)

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EMC for Small-to-Medium Business

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When a company over $14B focuses on a market, even if this represents a smaller percentage of their total revenue such as 5% to 10% , that could represents nearly a $1B business.  That can probably be said about EMC‘s Small-to-Medium (SMB) focus. [Read more...]

2010 IT Planning for Small-to-Medium Business

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SMB Research just completed a survey for 2010 IT Planning for Small-to-Medium Businesses (SMBs).  

CRM for Small-to-Medium Business: A Selection in Process

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SMB Research has a great interest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM).   After all, we focus on the technology research needs of Small-to-Medium business.  Features that allow companies to know their customers better is what drives Small and Medium business to be able to grow and thrive.   Competition can be fierce for Small-to-Medium Businesses (SMB’s) and having the ability better know ones customer is essential.  So how does CRM allow companies to know their customer better? [Read more...]

Sizing up Small-to-Medium Business (SMB) – A Follow-up

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In the process of writing my blog post, “Sizing up Small-to-Medium Business (SMB)“, I initiated a lively discussion on LinkedIn’s SMB IT Forum.

My thanks to the following people for participating in one of the longer discussions I have seen or been involved in on LinkedIn:

Here are some take-aways from this discussion: [Read more...]

Sizing up Small-to-Medium Business (SMB)

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As we enter 2010, and we here at SMB Research begin to focus on the technology advisory needs of the small and small-to-medium business, it is worth taking a fresh look at “small business”, and “SMB” (or “SME”) – and, indeed, what these terms even mean.

The confusion around these terms have been addressed before elsewhere before, most notably by Anita Campbell Editor in Chief of the terrific Small Business Trends website, but by others as well. (You will find below references to several other discussions about the challenge of defining SMB and small business.) [Read more...]

SMBs: Get Influence Working With Large Vendors; 7 Guidelines to Ease the Process

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We find it amazing how often large vendors in either  ERP, Supply Chain, or some other category of software, come in to a deal and do not offer the prospect the best information to help make a decision.   References are not provided or slowly given, prices are kept at a premium, and in some cases the prospect is mislead on the functionality of the software.   While vendors do need to use their references wisely, users do need to know where to turn when they are not getting answers. [Read more...]

Welcome to The SMB Research Blog

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Welcome to SMB Research’s blog, a new blog by Miles Prescott and Bob Eastman. The goal of this blog will be to offer some ideas and insights from our combined 25 years worth of experience, and continuing work, advising enterprises large and small on matters relating to enterprise IT and technology, as well as to highlight ideas, trends, insights that we find particularly interesting and relevant for the small-medium (sub-$1B revenues) market.

This blog holds no ambitions as a news portal.  The SMB Research Blog will instead report on and discuss ideas, trends, advice, and yes, some news,  that we think you should take a closer look at.  Consider this blog to be a journal of sorts of the work that we are doing as SMB Research.  Needless to say, our rigorous observance of any nondisclosures that we work under, and our trusted client relationships are paramount, and so there will be much that we are not at liberty to write about.

Great insights and ideas, however, comes from many places, and if there is one thing that we have learned, it is that there is no limit to the great things that can happen, the great value and ideas that can be created, from the value chain of our network of end-users, software and technology providers, service providers, analysts, research firms, and our network-at-large.

We will strive to create value for you in this blog, and we would appreciate any opportunity to work with you as a client to create value for you. Please visit SMB Research.  Please visit here often.  Please contribute to the discussion here.  Let us know how we are doing.