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April 27, 2007


Dimitar Vesselinov

Shai, I'd like to suggest you some interesting resources on robotics, automation and alternative energy:

Robotic Nation Evidence


Ori Matalon


I want to comment on your second paragraph discussing off-shore and Automation and would love to receive your opinion.

I think that Automation as the next wave of off-shore presents only one half of Automation value.

Replacing some off-shore operations with Automation can reduce the cost of operations in the Context of the business (the activities that are not creating competitive advantage to the business, but can not be retired), and the cost that is saved can be turned back to Core (activities that create competitive advantage). In this way, Automation contributes to Innovation indirectly.

But Automation can also contribute directly to the Core.

Let's say I have a few book stores that serve 1,000 customers a month and have the costs of salaries, rent, etc – this is a small business and most of my competitors do not sell via the web. Now, let's say that I am going to transform most of the activity into e-commerce store. On the Context side, I can reduce costs of salaries, rent etc., but here is the interesting thing, Automation enables me now to serve practically infinite number of customers rather than 1,000 a month because of physical limitations of the "old" store. That becomes a Core rather than just Context; I am not only reducing the cost of non-differentiating activities, but also create competitive advantage.

(Of course, be careful with Automation. I work for a CRM company and we've connected one our customers' web site to its CRM solution. Since then he has about 100 daily "leads" looking to sell him expensive watches and cheap pills…)

As the most important things for organizations is to grow rapidly, Automation as a contributor the Core is important at least as Automation of Context, replacing off-shore.

I would love to hear your opinion.

Urs Fischer

it seems to me that your argumentation is to much focussed on the supply side. Customer value is however strongly depending on the (smart) use of the functionalities and features provided. Therefore the notion of Continuous Improvement is an important one. Over time, simplicity, consistency and effectiveness can be strongly increased but my personal experience is that most companies do not create an environment which fosters CI in ERP applications. The incentives for the CIO and the management are rather to keep the system closed in order to avoid potential risks (and additional work). On the user side, only a few experts have the curiosity, drive and will to further explore the large potential. As a consequence, initially expected benefits can often not be achieved.
How can we improve this and will SOA help or hinder?

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