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What does the FreeBalance – Samsung SDS Partnership Mean to Canadian Customers?


August 23, 2012

Doug Hadden, VP Products

We were pleased to announce a global alliance with Samsung SDS in August. SDS is the system integration and computer technology company that is part of the Samsung group. SDS has annual revenues exceeding $4B and over 13,000 staff. It’s good news for us because SDS has an ethical commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. And, SDS shares our commitment of bringing good governance to countries around the world.

That’s not to say that FreeBalance is not working with Samsung SDS in more developed countries. We’ve developed a strong working relationship with our Korean colleagues and have been exploring opportunities everywhere. This could involved projects in Canada. This isn’t the most important takeaway from this alliance.

Changing GRP market Landscape

My view is that this partnership is another sign of the “sea change” in automating government financials. Particularly the notion that ERP software, designed for the private sector, is appropriate and effective for public finances. Or, produce value for money. Or, can provide an effective return though shared services type of standardization.

This is something that I’ve been saying for some time: that the “market space” has undergone a transition.

It’s now been validated by Samsung SDS.  SDS provides systems integration for major ERP platforms. The company has significant experience in the government sector including full turnkey solutions.

Why did Samsung SDS seek an alliance with FreeBalance?

My sense from conversations with SDS staff is that some of the motivations were:

  • Experiences with major ERP vendor software showed that these applications were not appropriate in government
  • Global government ERP failure rates are high, but FreeBalance success rates were high
  • Growing the Samsung SDS business internationally requires a proven international solution

What is the meaning of success in Developing Countries to the Government of Canada?

Many of our Government of Canada customers are surprised to learn about our success rates in developing countries. Many are unaware that leading PFM specialists consider FreeBalance one of the top three providers of “Financial Management Information Systems” for government. Or, that FreeBalance enjoys success in the most difficult circumstances.

These Government Resource Planning (GRP) implementations in developing countries demonstrate success in the face of significant pressures – human capacity and political factors should result in a higher failure rate. It’s somewhat of a “con game” for major vendors to blame victims for ERP failures in government.

Conclusion: ERP legacy software is obsolete

Many Canadian public servants think of FreeBalance software as easy to use and implement. Ideal for smaller departments. Yet, in Uganda, we’re be handling payroll for as many FTEs as in the Government of Canada. In Timor-Leste, we’ve enabled government performance management and transparency. We’re handling public finances in some countries for every government entity at every level of government.

Samsung SDS management is interested in these FreeBalance shared services successes that comes from designing software exclusively for government. And, to enable shared services. No proprietary and legacy client/server code here.

It’s time to admit that the ERP model of complex customization and user certification has come to an end. Of forced upgrades. Of proprietary middleware. Of expensive consultants. Of unmet promises.

That’s what the Samsung SDS – FreeBalance alliance means to the Government of Canada.

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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