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Adonix + CIMPRO = A Feature-Rich Process ERP Product, But With Challenges

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: May 31 2003

Event Summary

Adonix (www.adonix.com ), a privately held French enterprise applications provider for mid-sized mixed-mode manufacturing and distribution companies, is shipping its new Adonix X3 Process Suite. When Adonix acquired the CIMPRO product from MAI Systems Corporation (NASDAQ: NOW), a provider of business solutions to the hospitality industry, in December 2002, it promised to use the CIMPRO application base as a starting point to bring a full Process ERP offering to the mid-market. Adonix X3 is a web-native ERP solution for mid-sized companies, integrating manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, customer relationship management (CRM), and finance functionality. The new Adonix X3 Process automates and integrates the complex formula management and planning requirements of process manufacturers.

The Adonix Value Proposition

Adonix is a well-established international, independent, mid-market ERP provider, founded in 1979, with over 7,000 customers worldwide. According to Alex Attal, CEO Adonix North America, "Adonix addresses the needs of the underserved "Fortune 50,000" of mid-market companies."

Although privately held, the company reports an organic growth rate of 5% plus revenue growth via acquisition that resulted in 2002 revenue growth of approximately $75 million over $45 million in 2001. The company claims sustained profitability and a 20%+ annual investment in R&D. With 750 employees and 150 business partners in 18 countries, Adonix claims a network of over 2,000 trained professionals

In late 1999, Adonix X3 was launched. That product now serves nearly 700 new customers through 1Q 2003 and is experiencing a 20% revenue growth. Adonix X3 technology and applications serve as a major portion of the new Adonix X3 Process Suite. To the existing X3 product, Adonix has rewritten and added the process functionality from CIMPRO.

Adonix X3 often exhibits superior features and capabilities compared to most of its peer mid-market competitors' products, particularly in terms of scalability, flexibility/configuration, multi-national capabilities, multi-site capabilities, and the support for many platforms (UNIX and Windows NT/2000/XP, using Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, and Oracle databases, both through the Windows- and browser-based client). Further, Adonix uses industry-standard tools such as XML and Java, together with Adonix API's (application programming interfaces) that open the system to communicating reasonably easily with business partners, trading exchanges and other applications and languages. In addition to the platforms mentioned, the company recently ported Adonix X3 to IBM's Websphere Application Express.

The CIMPRO purchase was the most recent in a series of acquisitions that began seven years ago. Adonix has since acquired four more software vendors for their assets and expertise and has melded the best of their capabilities into an integrated enterprise software framework for mid-market companies. For more info on Adonix prior to CIMPRO acquisition, see Adonix Grows Roots Against The Odds.

The CIMPRO Asset

CIMPRO is far from a new name to those who follow Process ERP. CIMPRO was a leader in the space from the mid-80's to the early 90's from Datalogix. In the early 90's Datalogix developed GEMMS as a sister product to CIMPRO. In the mid-90's Datalogix was acquired by Oracle with GEMMS now serving as the heart of the Oracle process manufacturing solution and CIMPRO moving to MAI. When MAI decide to focus on other markets in the 2002, Adonix acquired the CIMPRO business (see Will Adonix Provide A Warmer Home To CIMPRO?).

Adonix decided to rewrite the CIMPRO functionality using the Adonix toolset, integrate it with the appropriate X3 modules (financials and purchasing for example) and rename the resulting product the Adonix X3 Process Suite. This fast-acting move should overcome some of the CIMPRO shortcomings mentioned like multi-national capabilities, that limited the marketability of the independent CIMPRO Classic and CIMPRO V packages.

The historic CIMPRO strengths are still very relevant to process manufacturers today and have been preserved and, according to the vendor, enhanced in the X3 Process Suite. These include:

Formula Management Variable units of measure (UOM), weight calculations, raw material potency, packaging variations, cost analysis, expected yield, and by-products production
Quality Technical data sheets, accepted and rejected status control, inspections procedures, end-to-end traceability, customer-specific quality procedures and Certificates of Analysis
Regulatory Requirements Material safety data sheet (MSDS) and Container labeling

Richard Surdez, Vice President, Process Industry for Adonix tells us, "Adonix X3 Process is the ideal solution for companies producing food and beverage items (dairy products, preserved fruits and vegetables, grain mill products, bakery and confection products, beverages, fats, oils, dressings, flavors and sauces) and chemicals (paints and coatings, industrial chemicals, lubricants and adhesives, petrochemicals, cosmetics, plastics and synthetic materials or specialty chemicals.)

Adonix Challenges

Adonix is entering the crowded mid-market process market. Although today no clear-cut leader has emerged yet, other vendors are more established in this market including:

In addition, traditional Tier 1 one vendors like J.D. Edwards, Oracle, and SAP as well as large Tier 2 vendors like Intentia, IFS, QAD or SYSPRO are attempting to enter this market. We also see Microsoft Business Solutions and Best Software becoming active in this space either via partner solutions or acquisitions. With little or no name recognition, how will Adonix gain a foothold against this competition?

For many the CIMPRO name is a plus and a minus. CIMPRO is recognized as a function rich product but has a reputation for old technology. Can Adonix benefit from the functionality without suffering from the technology black cloud even though the new product has been rewritten in the Adonix toolset? The ever-important technological migration path for CIMPRO users will have to be announced too, and it will have to be much beyond typical data conversion tools, and a consequent virtual reimplementation if they upgrade to the new product. A mitigating factor in this regard should be Adonix' product openness, and its previous expertise in assimilating products with disparate technologies.

Also, while CIMPRO supports batch-oriented manufacturing particularly well with features such as flexible packaging, formula scaling, formula management and hazardous materials reporting, it has been less capable in a true continuous-flow environment and is best suited for individual rather than multi-site environments with interdependencies. Adonix has yet to decide whether to pursue the regulations from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) such as 21 CFR 11 Part 11 or the catchweight' functionality (mandatory for some industries such as meat-packing), which its above-mentioned incumbent process ERP competitors have long exhibited.

Adonix has built a strong internal and third party channel to sell its products. However, this channel is without process manufacturing experience or knowledge in a market considered by many to be very demanding in its desire for knowledgeable people and companies. Not to mention the need to learn the future fully integrated product blueprint, and the impending effort of cross-training the combined direct sales and value added resellers (VARs). Can Adonix convert this channel to serve the process market? Should it try to build a process only channel?

Recommendations

What about the existing CIMPRO users? When asked this question, Alex Attal was strong in stating his commitment in supporting these customers. "We will continue to provide long term product support and services to the CIMPRO user. We will offer the CIMPRO customers incentives to move from CIMPRO to X3 Process but we will stand behind them if they chose to stay with CIMPRO."

We feel that the CIMPRO user should not be concerned about the future of their investment. However, we urge them to examine X3 Process and take advantage of Adonix's incentives if the transition makes good business sense. Adonix is also enhancing the Adonix X3 Process maintenance contract to assist those customers who would like to make the leap from older CIMPRO Classic and CIMPRO V systems to a more modern future product, and users are encouraged to enquire about its content.

Midrange process enterprises looking for a new or replacement ERP system should put Adonix on their long list. Companies who have significant formula management needs should give them a longer than normal look.

Adonix needs to make its presence in the mid-market process market known. Through public relations and other marketing efforts, it needs to become recognized as a mid-market process ERP player or it will not be invited to play in company decision-making. The vendor needs to resolve the knowledge and experience issues with the existing sales force and partners and any new channel partners. Adonix should consider attacking a more targeted market than "process" addressing niche markets within process to gain traction faster and with a greater success profile.

Very detailed information about Adonix X3 and Adonix X3 Process Suite products is contained in the ERP Evaluation Center at http://www.erpevaluation.com/

 
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