Part 1 of this blog series analyzed Manhattan Associates’ innovative Supply Chain Process Platform (SCPP)-based applications, such as Supply Chain Intelligence (SCI) and Total Cost to Serve (TCS). The Manhattan SCOPE suite’s modules were also discussed as well as the company’s recent evolution from a mere supply chain execution (SCE) provider.
The article concluded that Distributed Order Management (DOM) is a critical “cerebral” application of the entire suite. A smart order management system takes customer orders and decides which warehouse (or any other viable inventory location) is best suited to fulfill them based on inventory on hand, inventory in transit, and delivery requirements.
My recent article on Manhattan Associates (NASDAQ: MANH) and RedPrairie Corporation stated that these two vendors continue to duke it out at almost every large-scale selection deal for a warehouse management system (WMS), distribution labor management system (LMS), and/or transportation management system (TMS) solution. But over the last few years they have also pursued somewhat different expansion routes from their traditional supply chain execution (SCE) realms, where they will likely face different competitors.
To that end, RedPrairie has been rounding out its solutions set for retail stores while trying to attract the lower-end of the WMS and TMS markets via on-demand applications. For its part, Manhattan has been rounding out a portfolio of supply chain management (SCM) software solutions dubbed Manhattan SCOPE, which stands for “Supply Chain Optimization, Planning through Execution.” Built on a common Supply Chain Process Platform (SCPP), the SCOPE suite combines the following sub-suites to enable overall supply chain optimization: Planning and Forecasting, Inventory Optimization, Order Lifecycle Management, Transportation Lifecycle Management, and Distribution Management.
The article then went a bit deeper into the guts of the SCPP technical underpinning. But SCPP is not a mere “geekware” toolset, since it also comes with its own applications and solutions. These solutions offer the broad supply chain insight and analytics that are critical to an executive’s ability to proactively manage the holistic supply chain.
My 2009 series on a few good supply chain management (SCM) players portrayed Manhattan Associates (NASDAQ: MANH) and RedPrairie Corporation as fierce competitors. Indeed, these two vendors continue to duke it out at almost every large-scale selection deal for a warehouse management system (WMS), distribution labor management system (LMS), or transportation management system (TMS) solution.
Curiously, both vendors are now headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, US, after RedPrairie’s mid-2010 HQ move from Waukesha, Wisconsin, US (which remains a major office that is undergoing a major renovation). Atlanta is also the base for Infor, Logility, CDC Software, Servigistics, and many other enterprise software companies, but I digress.
Over a last few years these two vendors have also pursued somewhat different expansion routes from their traditional supply chain execution (SCE) realms, where they will likely face different competitors. Recently, at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Retail Show 2011, I had a chance to meet with both vendors to discuss their strategies.
Part 1 of this blog series started with the assertion that cloud computing is reaching mainstream adoption in the enterprise applications space. Indeed, virtually all renowned independent software vendors (ISVs) already offer or plan to offer some or all of their products as a service (on-demand software).
My blog post then expanded onto some cloud computing definitions and nuances, to establish that enterprise resource planning (ERP) ISVs have a few different ways to take the cloud plunge. Possibly the most viable approach is to partner with an established platform as a service (PaaS) provider.
Finally, my post concluded with the recent symbiotic relationship (and mutual endorsements) between Microsoft and Infor. During its annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2010, Microsoft (as expected) continued to emphasize that it was embracing the cloud at the core of its current and future product strategy. For its part, Infor announced the launch of Infor24, its blueprint for delivering cloud versions of its enterprise applications. Infor is also working closely with Microsoft to enable its key applications on the Windows Azure Platform.
Anyone that is still vociferously doubting and denying the future of cloud computing and its near-mainstream nature will sound as strange and nutty as some US Senate hopefuls that still proudly deny evolution and climate change (while admitting to “dabbling with witchcraft” in the not-too-distant past). In fact, can anyone name a renowned enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor that has not yet at least announced its cloud computing plans and strategy (if not already delivered actual cloud products)?
During the Grape Escape 2010 event this past summer, the common theme in all four featured vendors’ announcements was getting the “cloud religion.” I am still amazed to see how some of these vendors’ mantras have transformed from “Our customers do not ask for it!” to “We are in the cloud too!” in just a couple of years.
Part 1 of this blog series introduced Epicor Software Corporation’s set of tools called the Epicor Productivity Pyramid. The Pyramid enables one of Epicor’s main business strategies: to extend the value of several of its mature enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications by making enterprise data readily and easily available to all stakeholders.
My blog post then zoomed on to the Epicor Portal solution, a cross-platform querying tool that empowers business workers to find and share information within and across Epicor’s diverse line of business (LOB) applications. Epicor now provides the database schemas for most of its ERP applications to allow business workers (a.k.a. information workers and end-users) to easily create queries or views and communicate their findings.
About two years ago, Epicor Software Corporation launched its next-generation converged product Epicor 9 (a.k.a. Epicor ERP [evaluate this solution]), which was covered at great length in my 2009 series. Over 250 customers have thus far gone live on Epicor 9, with roughly 1,700 units shipped in 21 months.
If these numbers are not overly impressive to some, they are not too shabby either in light of the current sluggish economic milieu. Epicor has shipped more than 50,000 seats to over 50 countries and has Epicor 9 customers live in every region of the world. I believe there are not too many vendors that have had such success in this global downturn.
Meanwhile, the vendor also launched a later product release, Epicor 9.05, in early 2010. Epicor 9.05’s new features can be classified into the following three general categories:
I suspect that at the upcoming Epicor Perspectives 2010 user conference there will be much talk about the recently released Epicor Express [evaluate this solution], Epicor 9’s cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) edition, which is a true multi-tenant Software as a Service (SaaS) offering oriented to job shops and small manufacturers, with subscription pricing.
In addition, there will likely be some sneak previews of what is coming in the next Epicor 9 release (dubbed 9.1, I assume), especially in terms of the so-called Web 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 social software enablement. But Epicor 9 is only the latter part of Epicor’s overall “Protect, Extend, and Converge” approach of incrementally catering to its existing client base on current individual product lines (without forcing a wholesale “big bang” upgrade). Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog series analyzed the current upbeat state of affairs of IFS, a public business software company (listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange) founded in 1983 with its headquarters in Linkoping, Sweden. The company develops, supplies, and implements IFS Applications™, an integrated and component-based extended enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite built on service oriented architecture (SOA) technology [evaluate this product].
The article analyzed the vendor’s recent strategic moves as well as the reasons for its prosperity in an otherwise depressed environment. The revenue ratio has been an impressive 35 percent coming from existing customers vs. a whopping 65 percent coming from new customers.
However, 2009 was unusual because there was more selling to the installed base and there was the attraction of migrating to IFS Applications 7.5 with the new user interface (UI) called IFS Enterprise Explorer (IEE), so these figures moved more towards a 40/60 ratio in that year.
IFS is a public business software company (listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange) founded in 1983 with headquarters in Linkoping, Sweden and with US$362 million in revenues in 2009. The company develops, supplies, and implements IFS Applications, an integrated and component-based extended enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite built on service oriented architecture (SOA) technology [evaluate this product]. The vendor has about 2,700 employees and more than 2,000 customers (with 830,000 individual users) in more than 50 countries.
In terms of a functional footprint, IFS Applications is comprised of ERP, supply chain management (SCM), customer relationship management (CRM), product lifecycle management (PLM), business intelligence (BI)/corporate performance management (CPM), enterprise asset management (EAM), maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO), and projects (planning, accounting, and delivery). Make no mistake, IFS will not compete as a best-of-breed SCM, CRM, PLM, or BI solution, but these capabilities are more than adequate within the extended ERP context.
Part 1 of this blog series started by analyzing a certain change of the guard and a related product strategy shift at Infor. Two late June 2010 news announcements, which were entitled “Infor Simplifies Connectivity and Data Sharing with Infor ION(tm)” and “Infor Selects Microsoft as Preferred Technology and Tools Provider for Infor Software,” were then demystified in an interactive and constructive dialogue with Soma Somasundaram, SVP of global product development (a recent internal promotion) and Massimo Capoccia, director of product management technology.
The article ended with stipulating the four major components of the newly minted Infor ION interoperability and business process management (BPM) framework.
2010 has certainly been an interesting (if not a crossroads) year for Infor. Namely, after a number of new high-profile hires at the beginning of the year, which signalled Infor’s intention to be taken seriously, the vendor then entered an eerily quieter period of several months. Except for the ongoing vocal marketing campaign entitled “Down with Big ERP” with witty cartoonish billboards and banners adorning major airports, magazines, web sites, and so on (and which has been acknowledged as successful to me even by Infor’s competitors, albeit privately and begrudgingly).
During this period, many market observers were aware of a quiet exodus of executives who were once considered crucial within Infor (at least we all remember their keynotes from past Inforum conferences). As Frank Scavo pointed out in his recent blog post, Infor has lost several key executives recently. These individuals were the key architects of Infor’s all-encompassing Open SOA strategy that was once touted as the only way to satisfy all diverse Infor customers.
So, what was all this change of guard about? Is Infor now backing out of its previous (too ambitious and perhaps non-feasible) product roadmap to start a brand new one? Perhaps these were just some modifications to the strategy, or something else under pressure from impatient investors awaiting their payday?
Part 1 of this series began the analysis of the recent merger of Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS) and Savvion Inc. Progress has this way made a large leap into the business process management (BPM) space, from where it had been notably absent. My post detailed how Savvion BusinessManager 7.5 [evaluate this product] is one of the most mature BPM suites in the still-evolving market, with the ability to handle high volumes of workflows that coordinate people, data/documents, and systems.
Part 2 analyzed Savvion’s capabilities with regards to the three common usage scenarios of BPM systems, i.e., human-centric business processes, system-centric (integration) processes, and document-centric processes. Moreover, in its white paper “Understanding Usage Patterns An Enterprise BPMS Must Support,” Savvion identifies and describes four other equally important usage scenarios that are neither very well understood by users nor well supported by BPM vendors.
Savvion claims to currently be the only BPM provider that can accommodate all seven of these usage scenarios. Part 2 then also analyzed the case management and rule-based (decision-intensive) processes, whereas Part 3 continued with the project-oriented and event-centric BPM usage scenarios. My post also ushered the Progress’ recent novel concepts of “operational responsiveness” and the grouping of its portfolio of products into three logical groups with the “responsive” moniker.
Progress touts that three important possible benefits can result when companies are in control of the systems and processes that drive their organizations. First, they gain deeper insight into the operations and events that impact their business. Next, they become faster (and better) at pinpointing and responding to potential opportunities, challenges, and risks.
And finally, they bring about continuous improvements that drive greater profitability. The final part of this blog series will explain the lofty responsive process management (RPM) idea in more concrete terms and examples.
Part 1 of this blog series began with an analysis of the recent merger of Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS) and Savvion Inc. Progress has this way made a large leap into the business process management (BPM) space, from where it had been notably absent. The article summarized that Savvion BusinessManager 7.5 [evaluate this product] is one of the most mature BPM suites in the still-evolving market, with the ability to handle high volumes of workflows that coordinate people, data/documents, and systems.
Part 2 then analyzed Savvion’s capabilities with regards to the three common usage types of BPM systems, i.e., human-centric business processes, system-centric (integration) processes, and document-centric processes. Moreover, in its white paper “Understanding Usage Patterns An Enterprise BPMS Must Support,” Savvion identifies and describes four other equally important usage scenarios that are neither very well understood by users nor well supported by many other BPM vendors.
Savvion claims to currently be the only BPM provider that can accommodate all of these seven usage scenarios. Part 2 also analyzed the case management and rule-based (decision-intensive) processes, and Part 3 now continues with the project-oriented and event-centric BPM usage scenarios.
Part 1 of this series began to analyze the recent merger of Progress Software Corp. [NASDAQ: PRGS] and Savvion Inc. With this acquisition, Progress has made a large leap into the business process management (BPM) space, from which has been notably absent. The article asserted that Savvion BusinessManager 7.5 [evaluate this product] is one of the most mature BPM suites in the market, with the ability to handle high volumes of workflows that coordinate people, data/documents, and enterprise systems.
The product’s architecture is standards-based, multi-tiered (i.e., with separate presentation, business process, and integration flows), service-oriented, and with well-documented application programming interfaces (APIs). Thus, like its Progress siblings, Savvion is relatively easy to interface to existing infrastructures and development environments, and even to embed into partner products.
Late 2009 and early 2010 were characterized by a number of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the vibrant and buoyant business process management (BPM) space. The merger of Progress Software Corp. (NASDAQ: PRGS) and Savvion Inc. drew my attention in particular. Why? Because, to my mind, Progress has thus made a large leap into the BPM space, a market where it has been notably absent.
Namely, from Progress’ analyst event two years ago, I vividly remember its displayed “federated wheel” of solutions, which ranged from an application development platform (Progress OpenEdge), a service-oriented architecture (SOA) management and governance product (Progress Actional), enterprise service bus (ESB) and messaging middleware (Progress Sonic and subsequently acquired IONA), and data integration products (Progress DataDirect), to a complex event processing (CEP) platform (Progress Apama), and so on and so forth. Lombardi Software was pegged there as a strategic partner solution for missing BPM capabilities, but I am aware of only a few common clients that have come from Progress and Lombardi’s joint effort since (although some companies might have coincidentally deployed both products).