Great Plains Unveils New E-Commerce Solution
Mid-market ERP vendor turned e-business solutions provider Great
Plains has announced eSell, a new e-commerce solution designed
for businesses needing a fast, easy and economical way to bring their
businesses to the Internet. eSell will enable both business-to-business
and business-to-consumer sales via the Internet and offers pre-configured
"hooks" to other parts of Great Plains' e-business solutions.
Plains' partner Impressa, Inc. provides the underlying technology
for eSell through its BizGear solution for building web
sites. eSell consists of the following components:
Site Builder: an expert system that enables development and testing
of e-commerce storefronts.
Site Manager: the day-to-day management component of eSell
having the following subcomponents:
Storefront: allows users to manage products, customers, inventory,
and orders, promotions, e-mail campaigns, and payment processing.
Lead System: manages e-mail campaigns, builds a comprehensive customer
database and tracks customer responses for CRM purposes.
Calendar: enables customer feedback and date-based information such
as seminars and corporate events to be published and maintained.
Plains will make eSell available, in two hosted forms, sometime
in early December. eSell for Dynamics will carry an upfront
charge of $5,000 and will allow only limited uploading and downloading
of information between back office and storefront applications. eSell
for eEnterprise begins at $7,500 and allows real-time XML-based
messaging for companies that require faster response. Subscription fees
are expected to start at $200 per month.
ERP vendors as a whole have made good progress in finding storefront add-ons
to make their back office applications relevant in an e-business world.
Great Plains in particular is among those working hard at this
effort, as evidenced by its growing e-commerce solution set that includes
eOrder, a web-based sales entry solution, and eView, a browser
accessed financial and business information portal. eSell is the
most recent addition to this suite and strengthens Great Plains'
position against fierce competition from other enterprise application
vendors focused on the mid market, such as Navision, Epicor,
and Sage Software.
key benefit of eSell is the packaged integration to Great
Plains' other applications. As long as companies do not require
that special data be passed from storefront to back office processes,
the integrated solution can be implemented quickly with minimal involvement
of user personnel. Great Plains has anticipated the need
for implementation services by forging alliances with integration firms,
most recently Tompkins Associates, LLC, and is working
to educate these firms on its new e-commerce offerings. Great Plains
expects third-party web development firms to handle the bulk of the implementation
activities surrounding eSell.
eSell provides a strong argument in favor of Great Plains
for potential users who currently operate on a Microsoft platform
and fall near the low end of the mid-market ($2M-$200M in revenue). Existing
Great Plains users may find that eSell provides a
rapid solution for connecting back-office functions to B2C or B2B customer-facing
applications. There is one caveat: companies requiring more than a few
customizations will probably find eSell insufficient as packaged.
Because extensive customizations result in a higher acquisition cost,
these companies may find Great Plains' existing eCommerce
module to be a more flexible and cost effective alternative to eSell.