Nike store

Case Study: Nike’s Adventure with Supply Chain Planning Software

A Nike Factory store in Atlantic City, NJ.  Photo by Shabai Liu, CC license. Background In February 2001 Nike, Inc. announced that it would miss sales and profit targets for the quarter due to problems with supply chain software it had begun to implement the previous year. The company said that it had experienced unforeseen […]


FUD Still Here 35 Years Later

Photo by Jimmy Brown, CC license   FUD stands for fear, uncertainty, and doubt, and was a phrase used in the early 1980s to describe the unsettling and confusing atmosphere companies faced as they began investing heavily in software applications. In 1979 Gideon Gartner, formerly a top technology analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., capitalized on […]

Att Def

Attention Deficit and the Enterprise Software Project

Never mind how many people you can get to work on your enterprise software project team. The critical factor today is how much of their focused attention you can get when you need it. Quoting columnist and Guinness record holder for Highest IQ Marilyn vos Savant, “Working in an office with an array of electronic […]

Supply Chain

ERP 101: Supply Chain Benefits

Inside a Red Wing shoe factory.  Photo by Nina Hale, cc license. The supply chain – a term used to describe all the activities needed to bring goods to market, is a natural beneficiary of a good ERP system because the supply chain extends from one end of an enterprise to another. Often the individual […]


Have a Methodology – But Only One That Makes Sense to You

Who needs a methodology?  Just do it.  Photo: Spring 2013 Hackathon at Columbia University, where participants were challenged to build — over a weekend —  software programs for New York City startups; by Matylda Czarnecka,, CC license. You’re about to launch a big ERP project. You need a structured methodology.  The lazy/easy thing to […]

US Pop

Case Study: The 2010 Census

Image: U.S. Counties, population change 2000-2010, by Joe Wolf, CC license   Failed IT projects are not unusual in the government sector. Big IT projects are hard enough without the added complexity, delays, politics, and bureaucracy of government entities. But leaving those dysfunctions aside, there is much to learn from these failures. The 2010 Census […]


Packaged Applications 101

Photo by Official GDC A packaged application is not ready-to-use, in any sense of the word. The word “packaged” is kind of a misnomer. You won’t find a warehouse management system in a shrink-wrapped box on the shelf at Best Buy. A packaged application is simply one whose features and functions match in general terms […]


Why Should I Care About Master Data?

Photo: Data Center, by Bob Mical, CC license Early in my career I couldn’t stand anyone talking to me about master data. It just wasn’t interesting, and seemed to be just a minor detail in how systems run. I have since learned that (incorrect or inconsistent) master data can stop in its tracks the coolest, […]


Case Study: Denver Airport Baggage System

Photo: Denver Airport pano, by Doug Waldron, CC license “Denver Airport” has become synonymous with epic technology failure for those who remember the colossal breakdown of that airport’s ambitious new automated baggage handling system in 1995. Just two numbers explain the magnitude of the failure: 16 months — the delay in opening Denver’s new airport […]