Software Industry New Year's Resolutions

A new year has begun for the enterprise software industry, presenting an opportunity for the players to contemplate 2010's wins and losses while ushering in some welcome changes and delivering on promises.

Here are some unsolicited suggestions.

For Oracle: To finally release Fusion Applications, as CEO Larry Ellison recently promised, in the first quarter of this year. People haven't forgotten, Larry, and no amount of chest-thumping over Exadata's success will make that happen.

For Oracle overall, again: Speaking of Exadata, to cook up at least three new takes on the concept. "Exa-JD Edwards" has a nice ring to it.

For Ellison: To buy an enterprise-grade "e-mail recall" feature, just in case he wants to rethink his next "Hey, Jerk" missive to some media foe.

For new Oracle co-president Mark Hurd: To let Ellison beat him at tennis every match. Because that's what friends are for.

For SAP: To finally figure out how to convince that army of legacy R/3 customers that it's time to upgrade.

Also for SAP: One way might be to come up with a less suggestive name for those ERP "enhancement packs" that are available with Business Suite.

SAP again: To roll out a converged mobile development platform within the nine-month time frame pledged in August. That schedule coincides nicely with the Sapphire conference in May, so it's likely that SAP will have something to show there. The question is whether it will be production-ready code or demo-ware.

One more for SAP: To give customers a clear and complete story on the future of NetWeaver. Recent announcements and presentations have referenced a flurry of versions and flavors of the middleware stack to the point of confusion.

For SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner: To explore possibilities for a three-way self-interview, perhaps spanning three continents.

For Hewlett-Packard CEO and former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker: To memorize the "HP Way" manual, which could ensure he lasts longer than seven months in the top spot.

For recently appointed Infor CEO Charles Phillips: To buy a really big flashlight to help him get out of former boss Larry Ellison's shadow at his new gig. Or perhaps run a billboard-centric marketing campaign? Maybe not.

For the last few remaining independent ERP vendors: A phone with anice loud ring so you don't miss Larry's or Charles' call.

For Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff: To buy a special body harness that delivers a powerful electric shock when his Dreamforce keynote goes over two hours, or when he surpasses 100 mentions of the word "cloud" in a single speech.

For software salesexecutives: To pay your sales force based on the level of customer success and satisfaction after projects are done, not according to the number of deals they close.

For software vendor salespeople: Resolve to tell at least one prospective customer, "our product is not a fit for your needs."

For ERP system integrators: To kick the habit of using a rock-star project manager to win an ERP implementation deal, but then staffing the actual project with a pack of greenhorns.

For ERP customers: To understand what you want from the software while budgeting enough time and money for training. And to not change the plans halfway through the project.

For CIOs: To think of a new excuse to delay cloud software adoption besides "security concerns." That one's getting old.

CIO.com's Tom Wailgum contributed to this report.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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