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Si Chen

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Think that Big Data will solve the world’s problems?  Read The Signal and The Noise first.  This interesting books talks in detail about forecasting, including the good (baseball and weather), the bad (econonmics, politics, and earthquakes), and the very difficult (long-term climate change, terrorism.)  In the end there is a warning to all of us: with the explosion of data has come an explosion of noise, of spurious correlations which are not grounded in sound theories.  Think twice before you believe something because of “The Data.” ... (more)

Should You Customize Open Source ERP?

When I first found out about open source software, I felt the sky was the limit — with the source code, I could do anything now! But after working on open source ERP for the last seven years, I’ve come to realize that customizing software, even open source software, should not be taken lightly. I recently spoke with Phil Simon, long-time enterprise software veteran and author of The Next Wave of Technologies and Why New Systems Fail, and asked him for his thoughts on when you should customize open source software such as ERP and CRM. Here’s what he had to say: Customizations and... (more)

Can Open Source Make ERP Better?

Derek Singleton at SoftwareAdvice.com has written an interesting article entitled Can Open Source ERP Succeed? He brought up some of the hurdles for the adoption of open source ERP software. Having developed open source ERP and CRM for over five years now, I’d like to ask a different question: Can Open Source make ERP better? The ERP Challenge To answer this, we need to look first at the fundamental challenges of business applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): They’re complicated.  Businesses are complicated, so ERP, which must be support all the functions of a b... (more)

Android vs iPhone: A User-Happiness War

A recent GigaOM post about iPhone’s momentum vs Android was interesting, because it suggests that the Laws of Software may have been overturned. Since the early days of the PC, the software industry has operated according to a pattern described in Michael Cusumano’s classic The Business of Software: The successful software companies are the ones which gathered the largest number of users.  The best practitioners were Microsoft and, later, Google.  Both followed similar strategies: lower costs, add distribution partners, add users, and branch into related products. Apple was the o... (more)

Can NoSQL Databases Cure Us of Software Complexity?

If you’ve worked with Apache OFBiz or opentaps 1.x, you’ve probably had moments like this: Q: What’s the difference between internal name and product name? A: If your company wants to maintain an internal name for products that’s different than the standard product name, then you can put it in internalName. Otherwise you should keep them the same. Welcome to software complexity. When we design software, we’re making choices.  Do we add features for people who need them?  Or keep them out to make things simpler for people who don’t?  As much as we’d like to keep things simple, we ... (more)