Adonix Expands X3 And Its "French Connection" Part 1: Recent Announcements

Event Summary

Adonix (, a privately held French enterprise applications provider for mid-sized manufacturing and distribution companies, has recently unveiled its significantly enhanced latest product release. Adonix X3 Version 1.3 enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite has reportedly been completely rebuilt to give users Internet access to system functions, eliminating the need for costly, complex installation of a client interface. In other words, the company joins the "no code on the client" mantra proponents. The new version also enables companies to extend Adonix X3 business transaction and inquiry functions to their Web sites, making it easy to connect to customers, trading exchanges, and key business partners. Adonix Xtend uses industry standard middleware, eXtended Markup Language (XML) technologies, and Adonix APIs (application programming interfaces) to create the connection.

Adonix has also broadened the scope of its traditional back-office enterprise applications -- manufacturing, distribution and accounting -- by integrating front-office applications, including CRM, customer service, and product configuration into Adonix X3. New CRM functions help customers manage sales opportunities, sales contacts, and marketing campaigns. New customer service features are the ability to track repair parts, manage service calls, and maintain a knowledge repository to assist help desk personnel resolve customer issues. The Product Configuration module features a rules-based engine that allows building customized products to match customer's exacting requirements.

Adonix believes that its product offering exhibits superior features and capabilities than 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, using Microsoft SQL, IBM DB2, and Oracle databases, both through the Windows- and browser-based client).
This is Part 1 of a two-part Event Note. This part discusses the Market Impact of Adonix's recent announcement and contains background information on the company.
Part 2 continues the Market Impact and makes User Recommendations.

Background Information

Privately held Adonix, based in Paris, France and with its US headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA, while not a well-known mid-market vendor globally, seems to be poised to change that situation in the near future. While the ERP market suffered generally throughout a dismal last few years, Adonix too felt a pinch of flat revenues but remained profitable. This was a notable feat, especially when the assimilation of acquisitions and an ambitious product development effort are combined with the difficult sales situation. The company continues to pour more than 20% of its revenue into product development. After biting the bullet a few years ago and committing a substantial investment in basically rewriting its flagship Adonix X3 ERP offering to make it both Web native and a Web Services amenable solution (XML and Java compliant), Adonix seems to be weathering the present down economy as well.

Contrary to most peer vendors, which started their ERP applications in the manufacturing space, Adonix first established a strong presence and functionality in the distribution/logistics field. Having mastered the idiosyncrasies of French business requirements in distribution, administrative and accounting procedures, the company has remained the local market leader, despite strong competition and onslaught from international ERP vendors.

Also, in its early days, Adonix has made a conscious decision not to target a direct presence in most foreign markets, and to go for product distribution mainly through partners/value added resellers (VARs). This has often proven to be advantageous to the mid-market customers for keeping costs down, and, as selling through partners requires a higher quality of product support, and accompanying documentation. By deliberately steering clear of too ambitious expansionist policies that have hindered so many smaller software companies in the past, and by focusing on a handful of core markets, Adonix has managed to keep itself on healthy track. Also, direct and indirect channels that have already been built in targeted countries has helped the company with product translation and localization issues, which has resulted with solid multi-national and/or localization capabilities of the product.

Strategic Strengths

Nevertheless, the time has come for Adonix to expand even more internationally. Its experience gained from European organizations, its large installed base, and its recent product development strategy present a good expansion opportunity to become a significant player for midsize enterprises even outside Europe. Almost 80% of the license revenue comes from Adonix's indirect channel (150 partners in 18 countries), of which approximately 60% is from France. Although the international revenue has grown much faster than French revenue lately, the most-active region have been Southern Europe (Spain and Portugal), with a moderate success in the highly coveted US market.

The US market has been slower to warm up to Adonix's solution, which is not surprising given the number of incumbent peer solutions that are already present. Nevertheless, for US companies with small domestic and international operations, Adonix can prove to be of interest, as it is already available in five languages (English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish), and the sales and financial product modules have localized features. The company has had a number of successful international implementations and support for subsidiaries of larger enterprises outside France, which may help it overcome some prospects' anxiety to deal with a relatively unknown vendor.

To complement its initial solution, which focused mainly on finance/accounting and distribution for the lower-end of the mid-market, Adonix has acquired a number of companies during the last several years. The most prominent of these were Prodstar, a French MRP II (manufacturing resource planning) solution for mid-market manufacturers and their international subsidiaries, GSI Transcomm, a US provider of distribution and financial applications called TOLAS, and the Geode product from Geodis Logistics, a European warehouse management system (WMS) solution.

Adonix has been redeveloping Geode within the X3 technology and plans to sell it as a module of Adonix X3 and as a best-of-breed solution in its traditional market, the consumer product goods (CPG) vertical. Consequently, Adonix started rewriting its solution in 1997 after the Prodstar's acquisition and released the first version of Adonix X3 in 1999. Known as a product development company, Adonix has recently embarked on delivering within the X3 version 1.3 the above-mentioned integrated CRM modules, native Web extensions and a finite scheduler developed with ILOG components. The ILOG's optimization and visualization components is used to build capabilities for supporting interactive drag-and-drop scheduling, supply chain synchronization, and finite capacity scheduling.

Adonix X3

Adonix X3 is an ERP product designed for mid-size companies, with a view towards an easy installation, use, maintenance and customization/personalization. It has an impressive depth and breadth of distribution and order management functionality. Particularly powerful is its advanced pricing functionality that allows companies to create complex customized pricing formula based on a multiplicity of categories (e.g., customer, region, territory, etc.).

It is a workflow-based solution that enables enterprises to model business planning issues through, e.g., a network of tasks, resources, and inventory buffers on which strategies can be applied to optimize the interrelationships. Workflow management covers all financial and distribution processes and, from more recently, manufacturing as well. When information comes in from ancillary sources, e.g., EDI, the Internet, or SFA systems, it can be imported into a system and can trigger exception events, that can be defined based on a user's information needs.

The company plans to continue to improve and broaden the algorithms to address more industry-specific problems. The product maintains its flexibility via powerful parameterization capabilities - the parameters are user-definable, and can be linked to applications or workflows, and can be set at different organizational levels. Another attractive feature that the product offers is its native reporting and business intelligence (BI) capability, as it has built-in support for data marts for financial and logistics analysis by Executive Information System (EIS) systems. Also, the above-mentioned Adonix Xtend is the newly released storefront product and is installed in beta sites in France and the United States.

Adonix X3 had been sold to 450 clients by the end 2001, including over a dozen clients in the US. However, the combined Adonix legacy applications have over 4,000 instances, with approximately 100 in the US.
This concludes Part 1 of a two-part note on Adonix.
Part 2 will continue the discussion of Adonix and make User Recommendations.

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