Geac Trying Its Luck in Partnering
According to a press release from August 21, Applix, Inc., a global e-business
solutions company, and Geac Enterprise Solutions, a division of Geac
Computer Corporation Limited, a Canadian supplier of enterprise management
software, have partnered to deliver a global, Web-based iCRM solution
to customers. Geac will distribute Applix's iCRM solution on a worldwide
basis as both a component of its own solution offering and as a standalone
application in select markets. As proof of its commitment, Geac will implement
Applix's iEnterprise iCRM solution for its own internal use.
will use Applix iEnterprise software to interface the customer-facing
front office business processes to its back office applications. Subsequently,
it will use Applix's iTM1 business intelligence solution to analyze customer
data to help users improve business efficiency and provide customers with
the information and services they need. By accessing enterprise-wide data,
businesses will be able to accurately measure levels and patterns of customer
demand in real time. Also, when the highly flexible iEnterprise is configured
to Geac's solutions (SmartStream, System21, E Series, M Series, SQL Financials,
TotalHR), the browser access will enable customer data to be viewed and
analyzed remotely, regardless of where the transactions are made. The
extensive information available relating to customer sales, previous orders,
service levels and prior performance will give organizations the necessary
data to fully understand the cost of transactions and streamline the entire
process of customer interaction, such as matching the most suitable process
with the right customer.
the New Economy, maintaining both new and established customer relationships
is not an option - it is a necessity," explains Harry Debes, President,
Geac Enterprise Solutions. "By partnering with Applix, Geac Enterprise
Solutions can now show businesses how to use the data that our applications
maintain to improve and streamline the way their e-business interacts
with the customer. It is yet another example of Geac Enterprise Solutions'
commitment to supply mid-market companies with unrivalled and specialized
end-to-end solutions to help them prosper in the new digital age. This
represents a significant step in Geac's strategy of enhancing its customers'
existing investments to participate wholeheartedly in the New Economy."
on August 7, FRx Software Corporation, a Denver-based company specializing
in the development of advanced financial reporting and analytical application
software, announced a strategic partnership with Geac Enterprise Solutions.
As part of the agreement, Geac will make FRx available to its SmartStream
customer base and will extend its pre-existing interface with FRx for
SQL Financials customers. Geac will also include FRx with all new license
agreements into its SmartStream, SQL Financials and E Series and M Series
product suites. In addition to bundling FRx into future solution packages,
Geac will market and sell the product to its existing customer base, which
includes businesses in the hospitality, property, banking and publishing
industries. This combination will allow Geac customers rapid access to
critical financial information and reports needed to make more informed
chose to partner with FRx Software based on its reputation, quality of
product and commitment to its customers," said Peter Quinn, vice president
of Product Marketing, Geac Enterprise Solutions. "Through this partnership
we can offer our clients the ability to provide their customers with industry-leading
financial reporting capabilities that maximize Geac's ERP solutions."
After a slew of acquisitions in the past, which have resulted in varied
outcomes, Geac seems to be trying another tack to expand its product offering
and to convince the market about its commitment to further develop certain
attractive product lines.
maintain our position that Geac will not establish itself as an enterprise
applications leader as long as it remains perceived as a company that
acquires, botches up, and possibly divests other under performing software
vendors and/or products. The company will have to become a true software-developing
vendor, not simply a software collector and/or dealer within some esoteric
market segments. It will need to add much more value to its products and
services to attract and retain customers instead of simply increasing
the investment in the existing, possibly outdated, core products and support
services. For these reasons, we endorse Geac's recent partnering initiatives
in case as well as its alliance with IBM from the beginning of this year,
which features Geac's System 21 on IBM hardware, with IBM consulting services
and e-Business solutions.
applications must be able to support future business requirements, which
are nowadays directly related to customers' e-business strategies. While
the company is currently not in a position to offer a comprehensive e-business
and CRM solution on its own, it should, nevertheless, be able to at least
provide a back-office hub and bridges to e-business components in the
fashion similar to J.D. Edwards' EAI strategy. To that end, Geac must
develop standard, common components that will be readily available within
its product portfolio.
acquired System 21 through its acquisition of JBA International. In spite
of the fact that Geac, which is a large software company with a track
record for profitability and growth, has significantly enhanced System
21 by embedding acquired CRM and SCE products for the apparel industry,
Geac has been unable to be successful in marketing its System 21 business.
The revenue from the product in the last year was embarrassingly low ($67
million) compared to the level attained in 1998, when JBA reported $487
million in sales. Therefore, its recent partnering initiatives are only
an initial necessary step in creating its market recognition as a strong
global business applications vendor to be reckoned with.
Geac customers should certainly consider the company's latest value proposition,
but avoid selecting it without looking at what the other vendors have
to offer. As for potential customers, we generally recommend including
Geac in a long list of an enterprise application selection to mid-market
and low end tier 1 companies (with $100M-$1B in revenue), based on a very
deep understanding of customers' needs within the following industries:
Library Systems; Construction Systems; Property Management Systems; Hospitality
Systems; Public Safety Systems; Publishing Systems; Manufacturing & Distribution
Systems; Real Estate Systems; Cash & Securities Reconciliation Solutions.
We also generally recommend including JBA System 21 in a long list of
an enterprise application selection to mid-market and low-end Tier 1 companies
(with $50M-$1B in revenue), within the following industries: Automotive
Components, Apparel & Footwear, Beverage, Food, and Electronics.
industries might also benefit from evaluating the respective Geac point
solution, bearing in mind inevitable integration issues with other systems
in place. Future clients are also advised to request the Company's written
commitment to promised functionality, general availability date, price,
length of implementation, and seamless future upgrades. Each component
should be put through its paces using a well-documented set of requirements,
scripted scenarios demonstrations and rigorous reference checking. If
a complementary product beyond core ERP (e.g., CRM, e-commerce, SCM, etc.)
is of a critical importance, users should think carefully about the possible
integration implications and may benefit from considering competitors'
value propositions too. Furthermore, users will benefit from informing
themselves about what the company plans for future service & support (or
divestiture and/or product stabilization?) of its individual products
are and what would the ramifications of migrating (or not) to its new
product offering be.
the short term, users should expect a bumpy road since Geac and Applix
or FRx still need time in which to smooth their collaboration on delivering
technical support for the products. Should all the parties show the true
commitment to the partnership, these problems are likely to diminish.
Prospective buyers of enterprise software should then look favorably on
the deal and increase their rating of Geac in any ongoing or future evaluations.