Analyst / SCT Share Vision at SCT User Conference

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Analyst / SCT Share Vision at SCT User Conference
P. Catz - May 21, 2001

Event Summary

The SCT User Conference, held in Toronto featured industry analysts from Gartner Group, AMR Research and Meta Group each sharing their vision for the future of enterprise systems with the audience. Customers, in special interest groups and in presentations discussed their success with SCT's products. SCT showed both their existing product set plus their vision for the future with a series of product announcements and prototypes of future products.

For the opening session of each day's conference, SCT invited key industry analysts to present their vision of the future of enterprise systems. This gave the SCT customers a view of the future from the point of view of the analyst. Each focused on a different aspect of systems, with the overall message blending to give a comprehensive picture of what will be required to compete in the not so distant future. The key message was collaboration with trading partners and how the ERP market and vendors will evolve to meet these challenges.

SCT concurred with the collaboration message, painting a picture of its vision of the future for process companies with a series of collaboration announcements. For example, the iOrder product is being enhanced to permit live, interactive customer assistance. Central to the SCT vision is further evolution of its component vision that allows its products to co-exist with products from other vendors. All three analysts voiced an endorsement of SCT's direction.

A prototype of SCT's upcoming entry into relationship network management revealed a partner network modeling capability that is absent from alternative products. More importantly, the approach allows the modeling of the complex, multi-tiered relationships faced by many of the companies in SCT's target markets, for example food and CPG. These relationships include distributors, brokers, agents, channel partners, logistics providers and retailers. The product in question will be later this year.

An array of customers presented their experience with SCT products, including Coca Cola, Safeway, Miller Brewing, Cargill, Basic American Foods and others. These presentations covered ERP, SCM and e-business success stories. Some customers use the entire SCT product suite, but many use portions, coexisting with other solutions. For example, SCT has shown success with integrating its SCM products with the SAP backbone.

For example, Coca Cola uses SAP for many functions and SCT's iProcess.sct Supply Chain Planning (the product "Fygir") for supply chain management within its fountain syrup business unit. In a series of sessions, Coca Cola presented how they manage the fountain syrup business' complex, worldwide, multi-plant supply chain with Fygir. At headquarters, Coca Cola does multi-plant strategic sourcing, production, capacity and distribution decisions. At each plant, optimal production sequences are determined considering production constraints, operational efficiencies, manufacturing preferences, run rates, change over/setup times, as well as labor and space utilization.

Cargill Latin America discussed the management of multiple business units in grains, flour, oils, citrus and other agricultural areas. The complexity of its management challenges included dynamic freight rates, grain elevator movements, variable quality, customer blending requirements, etc. Cargill uses the Fygir product and claimed significant gains.

A presentation by New Balance Shoes on its success in forecasting, production, and capacity planning was especially interesting given the recent press on competitor Nike's difficulties in a similar area. The New Balance presentation demonstrated key functional elements required for success by the consumer packaged goods company.

Market Impact

The customer speakers demonstrate that SCT continues to show great customer success. However, the company is not fully exploiting its name brand customers to its marketing benefit.

Special Interest Groups by company type (food, chemical, etc.) and functional area (supply chain, etc.) allowed customers and SCT field and product management to share experiences. The tone of these sessions revealed that the user community is attacking in-depth business issues and getting results. The users also identified additional requirements that remain to be addressed. For example, the CPG and food customers need additional functionality from SCT to deal with deals, promotions and the associated collection issues.

The user conference points out a consistent problem with SCT's marketing. The conference combined all SCT divisions (education, government plus process manufacturing) and therefore, the messages became very confusing. Under the SCT approach of lumping together all its business segments under one name, user conference, etc, each suffers in the competition for mind share within its individual target market.

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