Enterprise Packaged Software
Packaging business processes
Although investments in Enterprise Packaged Software have
declined, dependence on these tools remains strong. The Infrastructure Strategies
2005 survey focusses on several trends in this regard. by Soutiman Das Gupta
We can expect EPS products to be more tightly integrated
into business in the future
Whether it is an office suite, a relational database, application
server or troubleshooting toolEnterprise Packaged Software (EPS) is something
all large businesses use.
|Packaged business processes
Enterprise Packaged Software
such as databases, office suites, application servers and troubleshooting
tools are used by most Indian enterprises, but the number of companies
investing anew in EPS is lower as compared to the last year.
Businesses rely heavily on
EPS and the drop in the number of companies investing in this software
does not mean that it has outlived its usefulness. It is just that revisions
of EPS applications in the recent past
have been less than impressive.
The IS 2005 survey pays special attention to this software
which has been around since enterprises took their first steps in the world
of computers (Remember dBase, Lotus-123 and Tally on DOS).
Although EPS is inseparable from an enterprises business
functions, the survey reports that fewer companies will invest in it during
the present fiscal (44 percent this fiscal vs. 54 percent last fiscal). See
graph: Investment in technology areas - FY 2004-05 vs. FY 2005-06.
This does not mean that EPS has outlived its utility, because a companys
dependence on EPS will grow as businesses become more complex in terms of customer
interaction, locations, workforce and product lines.
It is perhaps because of their universality that tools such
as Network Operating Systems (NOS), Web/proxy/mail servers, application servers
and RDBMS have fewer Indian companies investing in them during the current fiscal.
Now, before we conclude that this spells doom for EPSand subsequently
a drop in India Inc.s reliance on tools and platforms that make life easierconsider
what one heavy user of EPS has to say.
According to Sagar Sule, President of Cyquator Technologies,
a data centre in Navi Mumbai that caters to clients nationwide, The drop
in investments among Indian companies doesnt mean that they see less value
in these products. There havent been too many notable improvements and
advancements in these technologies over the last fiscal. So companies dont
have a good reason to put more money in it. Lesser investments will suffice."
Enterprise packaged software is critical because it
is an integral part of the business functionality,and a part of organisational
Among the respondents who have invested in EPS in the past,
relational databases top the popularity rankings (85 percent). See graph: Existing
enterprise packaged software.
Consider that large enterprises will use enterprise-wide tools such as ERP,
CRM, core banking, SCM and customised applicationsa database is a compulsory
foundation for all of these. A startling 100 percent of the oil/power companies
surveyed use databases, which clearly manifests the need for an RDBMS to support
an ERP system.
Office suites, Web/proxy/mail servers and NOS are used by most businesses; they
complement the infrastructure required to support an ERP system or other enterprise-wide
Application servers are used by a significant number of companies (68 percent).
Testing and troubleshooting tools are not quite so popular, being used by companies
across verticals but not by government/PSU firms. 100 percent of companies in
the services sector use application servers to keep their businessesand
customer-focussed functionsrunning smoothly.
EPS at work
Milind Khamkar Head of IS,
The use of EPS among companies in the pharmaceutical/chemical
industry is high. 85 percent of respondents from this vertical use Web/proxy/mail
servers, and 79 percent have deployed relational databases.
Pharmaceutical major Sanofi-Aventis uses EPS such as SQL Server, Oracle, MS-Exchange,
MS-Office and Documentum, as well as a customised ERP solution. The companys
primary business is manufacturing and trading. Information systems are considered
critical automation enablers for business. Business continuity and change management
are essential in this industry.
Sanofi-Aventis Head of IS, Milind Khamkar, says, These
applications are critical because they are an integral part of the business
functionality, and a part of organisational practices. Users are comfortable
with these tools and they use them as a matter of habit.
- Relational databases are the most popular
EPS products in use (85 percent). Office suites and Web/proxy/mail servers
are preferred by a significant majority of the companies (79 and 78
- The use of NOS is highest among companies
in the services sector. 94 percent of the companies in this sector who
have invested in EPS use NOS.
- All oil/power companies that have invested
in EPS use relational databases. 92 percent of BFSI companies use databases
and office suites.
- The use of testing and troubleshooting
tools is generally low with none of the government/PSU companies using
The trend towards lower investments in EPS is marked by a
10 percent average decrease. That said, enterprises continue to rely on EPS.
Take the case of Cyquator that uses three different databases on its networkOracle,
MS SQL Server, and the open source MySQL. In addition, the company uses EPS
such as mail servers, proxies, different server operating systems for each of
the above databases, and application server platforms.
Sule feels that EPS will be the basic underpinning on which his business will
grow. Khamkar believes that his company will continue to rely on EPS tools as
it is tightly integrated with the business.
Telecom will make the highest investments in RDBMS this fiscal with 83 percent
of surveyed companies planning to deploy a database. Companies in the oil/power
sectors will be the highest investors in Web/proxy/mail servers (82 percent).
The future of EPS
The current crop of EPS products has matured over the last fiscal. There has
been a rise in the use of anti-spam tools, and the GUIs of most software products
have become feature-rich and sophisticated.
In the future, EPS will evolve into more intelligent and mature
products and hardware. We can expect EPS products to be more tightly integrated
into business in the future, opines Sule.
- Optimise the use of the existing EPS solutions.
- The role played by EPS is crucial to businesses,
so it should be easily scalable.
- EPS can form an underpinning for enterprise
applications such as ERP, particularly in recent release of software
such as office suites that hook into enterprise-wide applications using
XML-based tools and connectors. These should be piloted.
Soutiman Das Gupta can be reached at email@example.com