Maestro Business Opportunities

Where are the opportunities for Maestro? The greatest opportunities are in Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

A small-to-medium enterprise (or SME) typically has less than 250 users, occupies a common physical office, and has an entry-to-mid-tier ERP system for managing operations and financial reporting. It may have a well-defined IT infrastructure, often from a single vendor (e.g., Microsoft DNS/DHCP/domain controller, an Exchange mail server, a SharePoint knowledge server, MS-SQL database Server, etc.), or an ad hoc structure with peer-peer networking providing shared access to resources such as shared data and printers. 

However, a SME often doesn’t have formal processes for document vaulting, non-conformance and issue management, change management/version control, and product data management. Also the ERP system may be perceived primarily as a financial system since it often is controlled by the Finance department, and is not available to engineering staff or provide traceability for serialized raw material or finished goods. Although SME’s may be certified to a QMS  (e.g. ISO 9001), operationally they are often dependent on people-driven document-oriented processes. If electronic documents are used, they are often stored either where they cannot be accessed by all users, or in an uncontrolled network share. 

An SME can also be distributed, where employees do not share a common physical office. In this case, it will typically not have formal resources for sharing information, and will rely on email or ad hoc cloud storage (e.g. Dropbox, OneDrive or iCloud).

Maestro

Maestro can be used to consolidate existing systems, regardless of whether the SME is centralized or distributed. It can be hosted on a user workstation, on a dedicated server on the local network, or with a cloud hosting provider. Internal hosting may be preferred for its perceived security advantages, but hybrid and cloud architectures can be just as secure – if not more so, since the same security policies will apply regardless of whether the user is connected through the internal network or the internet.

Information Management and Data Integrity

CA Magazine’s Sept. 2011 issue lists the top 10 tech issues facing the accounting profession, according to the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. The number 1 issue is information management and data integrity.

This corroborates my own professional experience. For too many businesses, there is no way to tell which copy of a document is the one “true” version, all the more difficult if there are multiple copies of the document scattered across personal directories and shared network directories. Almost as bad, there is no way to tell what changes have been made to a document over time, by who, for what reason, and if they were authorized by someone in authority.

Big business solves this in typically big business ways, and with a big price tag. Achievo is a solution for SMEs (and medium organizations that know better).

My Japanese friend Toshi

IVL and Xing Staff in Japan, 1997

My thoughts have been with Toshi Ikeda lately in the aftermath of the devistating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Toshi was the Japan business agent for IVL Technology in the mid-to-late 1990’s when I was responsible for technical product managment and licensee support. On my many trips to Japan, Toshi accompanied me as both colleague and friend. He made sure I knew where to catch my next train, and where the best noodle shops were for a late night snack.

Some years later, I was in Japan on behalf of NovAtel and was able to catch up with Toshi at a Yakitori bar. I don’t know how he has fared as a result of the earthquake, but sincerely hope he and his family are well.

Here’s a picture of Toshi from a 1997 dinner in Japan, including Fred Speekeen and Barry Larson from IVL, and Nishikawa from Xing.

Maestro Trial Screencast

I’ve been experimenting with creating Maestro screencasts using Ubuntu GNU Linux on my ThinkPad T23. Here’s a short demo showing the Project Management component. It should play without issue using FireFox, but you will need to install the Ogg Theora codec if you use Internet Explorer (FireFox comes with it built-in).  Oh, and there’s no audio….. (I said it was an experiment <wink>)