Updated on ERP and new trends in training simulators in just one day!

posted Jun 19, 2015, 5:30 AM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Jun 20, 2015, 2:42 AM ]
Wednesday Satepark used to get updated on trends in ERP - not Electronic Road Pricing, but Enterprise Resource Planning - and tendencies within training simulators. The update on ERP was a half day seminar hosted by Computerworld at the Pfizer Conference Center in Ballerup - a suburb of Copenhagen. The seminar opened with a keynote by Herbert Nathan from Herbert Nathan & Co on current trends in ERP. In Denmark Microsoft for historic reasons is the absolute dominating vendor of ERP systems with offerings from Dynamics C5 over Dynamics NAV to Dynamics AX. Like other vendors, such as Sugar, Microsoft offers a free trial of Dynamics C5. Microsoft Dynamics NAV is the current version of Navision, which Microsoft bought from the Danish company Damgaard Data some years ago. This historic link explains the dominance of Microsoft on the Danish ERP market, since many customers kept using Navision after the acquisition by Microsoft. One of the key features of the ERP market - especially in the past - is that switching from one vendor to another is not plug and play, especially because many ERP systems over the years become heavily customized. However, Herbert Nathan pointed out, that customers are increasingly demanding standardized, but flexible ERP systems. According to Herbert Nathan the annual license cost per user is around 20.000 DKK. This should be compared to the per user cost of a system like SUGAR CRM, which range from 3200 DDK for the professional version over 5200 DKK for the enterprise version to almost 12000 DKK for the ultimate version. So there appear to be savings in annual license cost of between 40% and 75% by looking at vendors other than Microsoft, and support for SUGAR is available in many countries including Denmark. The difference between ERP and CRM is the focus: ERP - Enterprise Ressource Planning - focus inwards in the company, while CRM - Customer Relationship Management - focus outwards towards the customer.
Herbert Nathans presentation was followed by presentations from two Microsoft partners. The first was from Sune Lohse from Abakion, who told us, that a paradigm shift was taking place in ERP systems, and that Abikion, who is focusing on Dynamics NAV and cloud (read: Azure) based system within two vertical areas: lawyers and supply chains. The other Microsoft partner was Agidon, who also focus on Dynamics NAV, but talked about their 4 step agile implementation approach involving:
  1. Identify your requirements.
  2. Challenge the needs that underlie the requirements.
  3. From need is to processes in standard Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
  4. Result is visible energy for employees and business. (Sounds like a sales pitch?)
We were not really impressed, think the narrow focus on Microsoft Dynamics products painted a basis picture of ERP in Denmark.For example Gaarsmand IT in Odensen and TDC Hosting both offer SUGAR CRM solutions. The later as part of a start package.

For the afternoons update on trends in training simulators the venue was changed from a suburb of Copenhagen to the offices of The Danish Shipowners Association in Amaliegade in the center of Copenhagen only two minutes walk from Amalienborg Palace. The afternoon started with a presentation by Klaus Æ Mogensen from Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies on Simulation in the Future, in which he mentioned Eve Online. Rome Reborn (Unfortunately the presenter was not updated about the legal situation around the material, and that it therefore no longer is available through Google Earth) and had focus on virtual reality but without smell. The second presentation was from Force Technology, who had collaborated with ConocoPhilips and a US based game creator to create a game-like simulator for training human factor aspects of interactions on a bridge of ship during critical periods, such as during entering or leaving a harbor. The third presentation was also from Force Technology about a Virtual Naval Undersea Warfare Center created by the Naval Sea System Command in Second Life. If you think Second Life simulator is something for your training needs, then we suggest you read Bill Brandon's two part discussion about creating virtual worlds before you create your own.
Training of operator in the process industry using virtual reality tools is however nothing new. Invensys, which is now Schneider Electric, demonstrated the technology at the 2009 Client Conference, which was reported in ControlGlobal.com, and some pictures can be seen here (click on the picture for a larger view):