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What if ERP companies made chewing gum?


November 26, 2011

Doug Hadden, VP Products

We had lots of fun at the FreeBalance booth at the FMI PD Week 2011 earlier this week. The presentation by Michael Kerr on reducing stress at work through humour was particularly good. You may not think that public servants have a sense of humour – one woman seemed to have uncontrollable fits of laughter. [Check out the #PDWeek2011 hash tag on twitter for more.] Professional development can be professional and fun too.

Who knew that government financial management in Canada could be so interesting and so much fun. Often at the same time. The FreeBalance team learned a lot about the drivers for reform in the Government of Canada. Lots of interesting feedback from public servants that we found very valuable.

To add the fun, we were giving out chewing gum with our logo on it. Our small part to making for a sweeter smelling conference.

We started to ponder some serious questions: why were all of the major providers of financial management software to the government of Canada, except FreeBalance, absent from the conference? (Ok, there was the business intelligence division from one of those companies. Essentially 6 of the 7 vendors didn’t bother to show up, and I think that this might be indicative of the commitment to fully serving the Government of Canada.)

Second question to ponder: what if major ERP companies manufactured gum in the way they design software? [By strict definition, FreeBalance is not an ERP vendor*] In the spirit of fun, we came up with list:

  1. There would be a 20 page manual describing how to open the package of gum.
  2. The gum would be presented as new and innovative, but would be the same old client/server gum with very fancy packaging. The wrappers would be encased in press releases touting the next generation of gum science.
  3. The gum would have no flavour and particular shape: it is up to you to customize by following the manual. The customization of gum manual would be over 200 pages. Gum customization tools would be available only from the ERP vendors.
  4. Software could be bought to manage Gum Lifecycle Management to handle the entire gum ecosystem.
  5. ERP companies would turn gum maintenance into the top revenue stream.
  6. Once in your mouth, the gum would be very hard. It would have a very poor and unintuitive Chew Experience (CX for short).
  7. Any upgrade to the next gum version would require new customization methods to achieve your desired gum flavour.
  8. There would be recommended chewing best practices developed by engineers in Germany. Gum chewers could become certified by following these best practices.
  9. Failure to enjoy the gum would be attributed to not following best practices, not have a dedicated gum team, not being fully gum certified and not following proper Master Gum Management procedures.
  10. ERP manufactures would experience trouble providing GaaS (Gum as a Service) and would try to provide Hybrid Gum and Real-time Gum as alternatives.

*Does FreeBalance provide ERP?

  1. [No] ERP means “enterprise resource planning” or software for enterprises. FreeBalance does not provide software to the private sector, only government.
  2. [Yes] ERP implies “enterprise-class” or software that can scale to handle very large organizations with thousands of users. FreeBalance provides scalable “all of government” software used, in some countries, for every government organization from municipal through to the national level.
  3. [Yes] ERP software, using the ERP II definition fashioned by Gartner, should span multiple horizontal markets. The FreeBalance Accountability Suite supports financial management, budget planning, government performance, expenditure management (including procurement), revenue, treasury and civil service (human resources and payroll), and portal.
  4. [No] ERP software, also using the ERP II definition, should span multiple vertical markets. FreeBalance is a government specialist with exclusive focus on that domain.
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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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