UNIT4 Connect 2016 - Amsterdam

posted May 25, 2016, 1:54 AM by Caroline Nzui

Keynote and product related presentations from the conference are available on the OCS GDrive. The video streams from the conference are available on the UNIT4 web site.  

Structural changes and future direction

In the last 18 months UNIT4 has made huge organisational changes within the company. They have moved from country based silos to a global structure organised around products. Business World ERP is their main product but there are many other products many of which target specific industry sectors. As an example Travel and Expenses is available as a standalone product but is very similar to the Business World experience pack of the same name.

People Platform is the technology architecture that underpins all new versions of their products. It supports their objective of creating “self-driving” products using Microsoft predictive technologies and digital assistants. One workflow engine will work seamlessly across all UNIT4 products. The availability of open APIs will increase to connect and integrate with many partner solutions or for customers to build solutions on top of UNIT4 products.

UNIT4 has developed a very close partnership with Microsoft, the cloud solutions are based on Azure. Business World connects to several Microsoft products including Office 365 Delve that makes contextual information and analytics easily available to users from unstructured information contained in many products. The new digital assistant will initially be available through Skype for Business but the expectation is for the assistant to be available from many different collaborative tools.

All new updates and products will be designed as Software as a Service (SaaS) but most will still have the option for an on premise version (CGIAR has an on premise version that we install in the Amazon cloud).

UNIT4 Service and Support

Service and Support has also gone from country level to a global level. There will be one service desk supporting all customers and all products. Solutions will be submitted to a knowledge base for customers to search for a solution to their issues while waiting for support from a support consultant. It is planned that the new service desk will be live before the end of the 2nd quarter 2016. The main support Centre is now based in Poland and will eventually (by the end of 2016) operate 24/7 that will provide more timely support to offices located in Asia and the Americas. Consulting services are coordinated from a centre in Portugal, the consultants have all the necessary resources required to provide remote support to customers or can work on-site if necessary.

In future we can expect more frequent but smaller updates for UNIT4 Business World. This is in line with SaaS products that are updated regularly but in smaller increments that enable fast user acceptance testing. UNIT4 Development has started using the Scrum/Agile methodology and will obtain earlier user feedback with the expectation of improving user acceptance and minimising errors in new releases.

UNIT4 Business World On!

The next version of Business World will be named Business World On! (this name replaces milestone6), it will be available in the Azure cloud as a SaaS product and as an on premise version. The expected release date is 2nd May 2016.

UNIT4 has changed its pricing model. CGIAR has a site license for 10 organisations allowing us unlimited use of the core software but we purchase any new modules that we require. Site licenses are no longer available to new customers (if additional CGIAR Centres decide to implement Business World they will be offered prices using the new pricing methods). UNIT4 will review how they can simplify the licensing without losing the benefit we have with a site licence at a future meeting.