the last several months MAPICS has shown both the signs of significant changes
and the persistence of a number of its historically recognizable invariant tenets
of operation. Following the acquisition of its former competitor, Frontstep,
To Leap Forward In A Frontstep Way), MAPICS, Inc. (NASDAQ:
MAPX) became possibly the largest global provider of extended enterprise applications
for solving the challenges of discrete manufacturers.
has never departed from its conservative approach of delivering practical innovations
and bulletproof applications for its customers, nor from its proverbial fiscal
discipline. The Frontstep acquisition has obviously provided MAPICS with a boost
in terms of product choice, having solutions on both leading platforms—Microsoft
and IBM. With MAPICS SyteLine 7, the vendor now boasts a notable application
built on a .NET architecture. However, the loyal AS/400 install base should
rest assured of MAPICS' continued support for the platform. The big news on
the MAPICS ERP for iSeries product side is that version 7.3,
which is slated for December, will feature Double Bytes support, and expanded
Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE)-based client technology.
developments detailed in this note are:
MAPICS Field Service and Support (covered in Part
A Global Partnership with Systems Union (covered in Part
Primus Knowledge Solution Results
Certified Partner Program
Pacejet Logistics, Inc. is a Certified Partner
Revised Sales Strategy
is Part Four of a five-part note.
One and Two detailed recent events.
Three began the discussion of the market impact.
Five will cover challenges and make user recommendations.
Vertical Focus Continues
Incidentally, a sharp vertical focus founded on strong horizontal back-office applications has long been the modus operandi of both MAPICS and the former Frontstep. In addition to their focus on the following industries: automotive/transportation, industrial equipment, and electronics, Frontstep has contributed with fabricated metals, and furniture and fixtures. Fundamentally, the new combined entity's vision seems to be sound in that it will continue to stress discrete manufacturing functionality and service and support as its primary strengths and marketing weapons. While competitive costs (low and flexible software license pricing and implementation costs) and outstanding global service (proven fast implementations and customer loyalty) will remain important requirements for success, particularly in the lower end of the market, vertical focus will be the key factor for survival.
MAPICS is retaining its vertical industry marketing emphasis for MAPICS
ERP for iSeries and SyteLine, with an unfazed focus
on aerospace and defense, automotive, control instruments, electronics, furniture,
industrial equipment, medical devices, metal fabrication, and specialty vehicles.
Both ERP products show strength in these vertical markets, although the products
have seldom faced each other in head-to-head selections, largely because of
the different platforms. While the products' technology platforms are indisputably
different, the former competitors will be able to share a great deal of intellectual
property around product designs and functional requirements for industry-specific
That should come in handy as to further avoid any channel conflict. Pre-Frontstep MAPICS had a proven affiliate network of nearly 150 affiliates with over 950 affiliate employees in total, and several call-centers around the world, and now has the growing in-house professional services for those strategic multisite, multinational companies that need the coordinated, standardized, worldwide approach. For the future, MAPICS plans to further realign its organization, with possibly over 30 percent of its implementation business being delivered internally within the next three years.
While MAPICS primarily sells through a reseller channel, most of the former Frontstep's sales come from its direct sales force and should therefore complement the above aspirations of MAPICS. Conversely, Frontstep had an indirect channel to supplement its strong direct sales force to better approach the lower-end of its target market. To that end, it has created a sizable indirect channel since the 1980s that currently contributes around 25 percent of sales revenues. The vendor targets enterprises with annual revenues from $75 million up to $1 billion per site/division, which are handled by its direct sales force. Consequently, look for the newly merged company to eventually sell the entire product portfolio through both channels.
Creating Extended ERP Applications
headline is that MAPICS has been trying to leverage the best from each platform's
camp to create advanced extended-ERP applications that readily connect to various
enterprise system packages. These strategic extensions, such as CRM, Web portals,
and e-business applications will ideally be shared by both ERP foundations.
Namely, in addition to its ERP products, pre-Frontstep MAPICS also offered extensions
that would be made available to both iSeries and Extended Systems ERP products,
such as MAPICS SCM (from former Thru-Put),
an enterprise asset management (EAM) product called MAPICS Maintenance
& Calibration (former Maincor EAM) products.
like solutions worth mentioning include a business intelligence (BI) product
MAPICS Analytics, MAPICS Portal, and MAPICS
PLM software, which utilizes the Magik! product from
partner CEIMIS Enterprises, Inc.
Although some of these come from strategic alliances (e.g., Access Commerce's
Cameleon Product Configurator, FRx Reporting, and Magik! PLM), MAPICS
emphasizes that all of these are OEMed, with MAPICS owning product upgrades
and support so that the origin is effectively transparent.
has indeed maintained an active focus on additional partnering arrangements
intended to help manufacturers move into a collaborative e-business land in
a more controlled manner. To that end, its multiple partnership initiatives,
like those with Vanguard Solutions Group for BI add-on modules,
and Access Commerce have been astute.
the other hand, the following extended-ERP broad offering from former Frontstep,
which is mostly provided natively, or also in a tight OEM fashion from long-term
partnerships, was comparable to the MAPICS above set: SyteLine ERP,
SyteLine APS, SyteLine CRM, SyteLine
Business Intelligence (partnership with Cognos), SyteLine
Business Process Management (partnership with Cobre),
SyteLine Workflow Automation (partnership with former Keyfile,
now Lexign), SyteLine Configuration, SyteLine
Data Collection, and SyteLine EDI (using Sterling
Commerce translator/information broker).
from this, the former Frontstep had long bet its future on its CustomerSynchronized
solutions initiative, with a view to achieve dominance in the make-to-order
(MTO) demand-driven manufacturing sector. Supply chain modules include Frontstep
Intelligent Sourcer, Frontstep Point Promiser (the
promising engine for available-to-promise (ATP) collaboration across trading
partners), Frontstep Capacity Promiser (a constraint-based
planning tool for cross supply chain capacity promising), and Frontstep
APS, which extends to cascading supply chain synchronization. All the
above components incorporate Web services technology to simplify integration
and information exchanges with other systems.
the idea is to extend these to both iSeries and SyteLine users through a "develop
once, deploy twice" strategy. Included in this range of functionality is the
SyteLine CRM software, with already over 200 customers, and is currently available
in nine languages and mapped to the initial SyteLine 7 international availability
(twenty-seven SyteLine 7 customers have the CRM product too). The product is
currently integrated to SyteLine 5, 6, and 7 releases, with a stand-alone sales
possibility to Extended Systems and iSeries ERP products in the future. Another
one is the MAPICS Field Service & Support product detailed in Part
One, which is an extension of the MAPICS Maintenance and Calibration application.
It is suitable for iSeries customers requiring warranty tracking and resource
management capabilities, and for customers looking to manage the "project" aspects
of their after-market service activities. Conversely, like the CRM counterpart,
the product is not yet integrated with the SyteLine product, and time will only
tell the need thereof, given SyteLine's Field Service application, which is
sold separately from the ERP counterpart.
to the above two extensions that are still mainly platform-aware, the following
"extension" projects are slated for the end of 2003 and should benefit the users
of both major platforms. The first one is a Web-based portal application built
on .NET technology that is integrated with MAPICS ERP for iSeries Release 6
and MAPICS ERP for Extended Systems Releases 7 and 8. Another one is a Web based
collaborative solution that allows buyers and suppliers to accept/reject purchase
orders, visibility into accounts payable and a view of future demand orders.
As for the pre-Frontstep MAPICS users, mid July has seen generally available
business intelligence solutions stemming from the alliance with Vanguard solutions:
1) Analytics 4.0, integrated to iSeries 6 and 7, and 2) Analytics
3.4, integrated to iSeries 6 and 7 and to Extended Systems Version
concludes Part Four of a five-part note.
One and Two detailed recent events.
Three began a discussion of the market impact.
Five will cover challenges and make user recommendations.