Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageQ&A: Disrupting data ownership practices among software vendors Special

By Tim Sandle     Nov 23, 2019 in Technology
Ever since the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal, privacy, protection and data ownership have been top of mind for consumers and leaders in the tech industry, says industry expert Jon Roskill.
The fight for data ownership has permeated the ERP industry as well. Businesses looking to leave their software vendors for a variety of reasons (such as merger/acquisition, rapid growth, and so on) have experienced difficulty in accessing their data. Some have even had to sue (Google “favorite vendor name” data lawsuits for fun and see what you get). If/when companies do get their data back, it often arrives in a horrendous file format of 30+ flat files requiring reassembly.
Acumatica’s CEO, Jon Roskill, sees the void of a customer-centric approach in the industry and has issued a challenge to other cloud ERP software vendors to fix their unscrupulous business practices. Roskill believes customers should not have to lose sleep over additional costs limiting their growth, as he tells Digital Journal.
Digital Journal: How important are privacy and data protection issues today?
Jon Roskill: Extremely important. Even before the EU passed its GDPR legislation this issue has been a core concern for both governments and citizens. The Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal in early 2018 only intensified these concerns. Consumers want to know what’s happening with their data and the public is applying a lot of pressure to technology companies to have an answer. The same is true for enterprises and governments running their business processes on cloud-based software. Everyone is interested in privacy and data protection, as well as understanding who owns their data.
DJ: What are the issues around data ownership?
Roskill: In most cases, if customers think they own their data, they’re probably wrong. By digitally signing a EULA (end-user license agreement), those long agreements that people rarely read, but scroll to the bottom and click “agree,” the user agrees to the vendor’s conditions of use and that their data is now the software vendor’s Intellectual Property (IP). The reality of EULAs is that they don’t protect the consumer, only the copyright owner. The software vendor owns the license and thereby legally owns the data entered into the software. It’s concerning to know that providers can access private consumer data at any time, as well as read it or share it as they please. Doubly concerning is the fact that businesses may have a fight on their hands if they want to leave their software vendor for any given reason. Sometimes this can even result in lawsuits.
DJ: Why do businesses want to leave their software vendors?
Roskill: There are myriad reasons for leaving a software vendor (i.e. changing business needs, mergers/acquisition, rapid growth, etc.). Then, if a business requests their data from the vendor and learns it won’t be easy to obtain, that often motivates them still more to leave.
Data ownership is seldom top of mind in the beginning stages of working with a software provider, and if that provider doesn’t bring it up, a customer may not think to ask.
DJ: How successful are companies at getting their data back?
Roskill: It depends on the company and the provider. The process can be long and complicated, and some companies may choose to give up. Others may choose to take matters to court.
DJ: Are there any problems with the data when it is finally returned?
Roskill: A common complaint is that when companies do get their data back, it often arrives in a horrendous file format of 30+ flat files requiring reassembly. Flat files are exported using a uniform format, but they are not structured for indexing or recognizing relationships between records. The burden of finding relationships between records falls on the customer to do manually, which is a drain on team members, time and budget. A business once using a robust ERP solution must then resort to outdated and inefficient practices to sift through their data.
DJ: Should cloud ERP software vendors fix their business practices?
Roskill: Absolutely. From day one, Acumatica has upheld our core beliefs of putting customer satisfaction and innovation first. I’ve watched as other ERP solution providers ignore either one or both of our core beliefs in their race to profitability, and I feel it’s time to take a stand on behalf of unwary customers. Earlier this year I issued a challenge to other cloud ERP software vendors to fix their unscrupulous business practices. Customers should not have to lose sleep over additional costs or shady practices holding their data hostage.
More about data ownership, Data, Cybersecurity
 
Latest News
Top News