Five questions with Cindy Jutras, Mint Jutras principal
ERP analyst Cindy Jutras has had a long and varied career in enterprise software. A recognized expert in the impact of enterprise applications on business performance, she has become one of the most well-regarded voices in the ERP indusry.
After holding senior positions at Computer Associates and The Aberdeen Group, where she conducted survey-based research on ERP and suite-based enterprise applications, Cindy founded Mint Jutras in 2011. An independent research and advisory firm specializing in analyzing the effect of enterprise software on business practices and performance, Mint Jutras provides a wide range of research, speaking and consulting services.
This year, she is one of the guest judges for our upcoming ERP Writers’ Awards. We asked her about what she’ll be looking for in potential winners, and her thoughts on where the industry is going in general.
How and why did you first start writing about ERP software?
CJ: I spent 30 years working for software companies. I started my career writing software but during that 30 year timespan played many different roles and performed many different functions, including stints in marketing, product marketing and product management. It was during one of those stints when I wrote several articles for print publications. One caught the eye of a book publisher and they asked if I could turn it into a full-length book. “ERP Optimization” was published in late 2003.
A couple years later, after having done just about everything I wanted to do in the software business, I was looking to reinvent myself, yet still leverage the experience I had gained around ERP. I became an industry analyst. Since then I have spent most of my time researching, writing and speaking on ERP.
What do you enjoy most about ERP writing?
CJ: So much of what is written about ERP is heavy, dull and boring and written for a technologist. It is hard to read and even harder for the businessperson without a technical background to relate to.
I enjoy writing about it in a practical way that makes it real (and easy to read) for the business leader. While it is not a new topic, I enjoy shedding light on the exciting new capabilities that are possible today.
Are there any areas in particular you enjoy writing about? What makes them so interesting to you?
CJ: In recent years I have been drawn to writing about cloud computing and SaaS. I admit to being a big fan of multi-tenant SaaS solutions and the benefits they can bring. I started watching this back when I would have called ERP the last bastion of resistance to SaaS. It has been interesting to watch how perceptions and preferences have shifted over time and to chronicle the benefits actually realized.
"So much of what is written today still focuses on consumer technology. I try to make the connection to the enterprise."
Last year I started writing about digital transformation, trying to make it more meaningful to the business leader. So much of what is written today still focuses on consumer technology. I try to make the connection to the enterprise.
What criteria will you be using to judge this year’s ERP Writers’ Awards?
CJ: I will mainly be looking for the criteria I use to judge my own writing. Is it clear and easy to read? Does it actually make a point and does that point matter? Does it provide some added insight that might not be obvious to the reader otherwise? Are the conclusions drawn valid and/or validated?
What do you think will be the key ERP talking points in 2017?
CJ: Cloud and digital will continue to be important. As more employees at higher levels of the organization engage directly with ERP, embedded analytics and advanced tools such as machine learning will become more important.
I also think there will an underlying current of agility. The pace of innovation is accelerating. For the past several years I have been (strongly) encouraging vendors to find ways to make innovation easier to consume, and yet many users struggle to keep up or remain stagnated on old legacy systems
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