Intentia Prepares for Merger with Lawson
Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: October 26 2005
Not waiting for the merger transaction with Lawson Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: LWSN) to close, Intentia International AB (XSSE: INT B) announced the release of Intentia Application Suite (IAS) 5.1. IAS is a full integration of Intentia's entire application portfolio that, like Lawson's upcoming Landmark product, uses service-oriented architecture (SOA) to create business processes and develop applications flexibly, while enabling Web services and a faster return on investment (ROI). For details on the merger announcement, see "New" Lawson Software's Transatlantic Extended-ERP Intentions.
IAS is a solution aimed specifically at companies in the manufacturing, distribution, and maintenance industries. Particular focus is placed on those companies in food and beverage, fashion, wholesale distribution, and asset and maintenance intensive industries that include enterprise asset management (EAM) and product service management (PSM). It consists of eight Intentia application areas, including customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise management (ENM), supplier relationship management (SRM), supply chain management (SCM), enterprise process management (EPM), workplace management (WPM), value chain collaboration (VCC), and foundation and tools (FTO).
Part two of the "New" Lawson Software's Transatlantic Extended-ERP Intentions series.
Intentia points out that the product is further evidence of the company's ongoing commitment to SOA (for more of pertinent information, see SOA-based Applications and Infrastructure--The Next Frontier?). Intentia invested early in Java technology and currently has over 250 live customer implementations, and it already delivers a fully Web services-enabled application suite.
The latest release boasts many new features within the CRM, SCM, and FTO applications. Within the CRM applications, the Intentia e-Sales product has a new advanced channel, category, and market analysis functionality, which is provided through Cognos ReportNet. It is designed to improve a user company's ability to implement sales strategies in order to increase revenue and profit. In addition, new capabilities should help fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies improve category, space, and promotion management. Information from both the sales and order fulfillment processes is now available in the field sales solution, which should enable salespeople to improve individual efficiency during customer visits, and ultimately, create opportunities to increase sales.
This is Part Two of a four-part note. Part One detailed the merger. Part Three will analyze the market impact. Part Four will cover challenges and make user recommendations.
Supply Chain Management
Within the supply chain planning (SCP) realm of the SCM applications, Intentia has introduced sales quotas, transport rules, and purchase agreements functionality. These constraints aim at increasing planning efficiency and optimizing profit by controlling what, how much, when, and to whom products are purchased, processed, moved, and sold. Lastly, Movex Adaptation Kit (MAK), a tool within FTO, has new features that reduce the time, effort, and cost involved in supporting and maintaining IAS. These new features include validation wizards, improved language editing, and one-click analyses.
As to further vertically differentiate its functional scope, mid-July, Intentia also released a stock build optimization solution that strives to maximize food and beverage manufacturers' stock mixes and reduce the surplus of finished goods inventory by up to 20 percent to avoid stockouts and product waste. In other words, the solution tackles one of the major issues facing the food and beverage industry—the need to build stock to meet seasonal peaks and promotional spikes. According to reports from the Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers of America, product waste is estimated to have cost food manufacturers $2.57 billion (USD) in 2004, and $6 billion (USD) in lost retail sales from stockouts, which run as high as 13 percent during promotion periods.
To that end, the Intentia solution processes a wide spectrum of business variables that impact stock exposure risk. Today, manufacturers still rely heavily on spreadsheets to calculate stock builds, which becomes unmanageable given the number of products and factors that must be navigated. These include changes to capacity, shelf life and cost constraints, margins, new products, and recipe and manufacturing process changes. In fact, according to a measurement formula created by Intentia, the level of stock build complexity increases exponentially with the number of production lines and products planned. For example, increasing the number of products from two to four over a twelve week planning period increases data complexity by a factor of 100, and from two products to six by a factor of 10,000.
To calculate the optimum target stock per period, by product stock keeping unit (SKU) and to meet peaks based on demand forecast, available production capacity, existing inventory, and costs, the stock build optimization solution creates a time-phased stock plan—reportedly in a matter of minutes. This plan optimizes customer service levels and profit margins, thus eliminating over-stocking and the risk of product waste. The solution also incorporates the shelf life of each product, regardless of whether the products are stored under room temperature, chilled, or frozen conditions.
During the stock build optimization process, the solution evaluates the cost impact of alternative manufacturing processes, production costs, and stock holding costs to ensure that all possibilities are explored. Maximum and minimum stock levels and the days' coverage of stock are taken into account during the stock build process. In addition to managing these complex variables, Intentia's stock build optimization solution provides manufacturers with the opportunity to collaborate with retailers by creating promotional scenarios and proposals that can utilize spare capacity and inventory. The solution might have the added advantage of requiring little or no alteration to current business processes, as it runs on a personal computer (PC) with Windows XP, and takes approximately 15 to 20 days to install, while using only limited resources from the user company.
To prepare for a merger (though it was still not clear with whom the merger would be), many rationalization and cost-cutting moves were set in motion at Intentia in late 2004. Under the helm of Intentia's president and chief executive officer (CEO) Bertrand Sciard, products, target markets, and sales channels were revised. Namely, Sciard's vision of "New" Intentia at the time, was to be better focused, and well financed and structured for profitable growth. He sought to invest in customers, products, and technology, while targeting leadership positions in defined markets. Significant financial investments from then new partners, Symphony and Tennenbaum, had also prompted major organizational restructuring and permitted a new "Make, Move and Maintain (M3)" business strategy. In other words, to achieve a focused customer commitment, Intentia had proclaimed itself to be 100 percent dedicated to bringing software applications and consulting services to the M3 market—companies whose core processes involve manufacturing, distribution, and maintenance.
The vendor has since been "100 percent committed to a 90 percent fit-to-purpose, out-of-the-box; and 100 percent committed to delivering value every time, since 100 percent of its resources, 100 percent of its software and 100 percent of its experience is in servicing this market". In other words, by targeting fewer industries and geographic markets, Intentia plans to provide M3 customers with a stronger value proposition and strive to create solutions that are up to 90 percent natively prepackaged for their location and industry requirements.
To exemplify how Intentia offers extensive functionality, one needs to look at the types of industries it serves. For example, the fashion industry, must handle the interplay of color, shape, and size in production, and inventory management, see Intentia: Stepping Out With Fashion and Style. Meanwhile, in food processing, beside the stock build optimization, there is often the need for traceability "from sheep to shelf" (not to imply from "mad cow" to "shelf" or from "hoof to mouth"). For more pertinent information, see Intentia's Movex for Food and Beverage: Gaining a Foothold in North America and Is Intentia Truly Industry's First in Food Traceability?).
In terms of regional focus, Intentia concurrently made fewer selected markets, such as the US, China, and Japan, the center of its attention. Globally, Intentia focused on four industries—food, fashion, wholesale distribution, and service and maintenance. However, in the Americas, the focus was initially on food and fashion. Its primary customer target is mid-tier businesses with revenues ranging from $100 million to $1 billion USD, yet are hindered by time and cost constraints, and limited resources which prevent mega tier one-type enterprise solution implementations. Nonetheless because they compete within extensive national and global supply chains, serve demanding customers with large purchasing power, and manage multiple supplier sources and relationships etc., they have complex requirements, which cannot be meet by small enterprise solutions.
In other words, these target customers need an experienced, committed, financially stable supplier that can deliver immediately and provide long-term, scalable solutions. An extensive, prepackaged comprehensive solution with the right technologies permit rapid deployments with minimum resources at a reasonable cost. Custom enhancements are supported through available add-on products, such as Movex Advanced Production Planer (APP), e-Sales, e-Procurement, Movex SMS (a mobile sales force automation component for fashion), and Movex Opportunity Analyzer (see Enterprise Process Improvement (EPI) Software: Customer and Software Vendor Collaboration), and with the recent services from best-of-breed partners.
In our opinion, Intentia's pre-merger and pre-Sciard problems mainly stem from the previous, stodgy management team, who had long fostered the "not invented here" culture and would bristle at any constructive criticism. The new team has apparently been more competitive and open to challenging questions. It has also been more open to partnering, and certainly not reticent to making tough decisions.
Previously, when Intentia was focused on new license business-based growth, in some areas, it would typically use a dismal 35 percent or so of professional service personnel. In July 2004, the vendor announced plans to reduce its headcount by 16 percent, along with other cost-cutting measures. Most of the cuts were in services, although the huge amount of money spent on traveling expenses (about $20 million in 2003) owing to complexity of the organization, has meanwhile also been trimmed. The quality of support available during July and August was another issue. Some days the head office in Stockholm would be almost empty because everyone would take their generous summer vacations. This too was addressed. Ultimately, a strong commitment to benchmarking across all metrics including customer satisfaction was incorporated to create a world class software company which expected a 10 percent growth rate in 2005. While the vendor hasn't met this goal yet, it is moving in right direction.
The restructuring effort has also included some facility closings in non-target industries and market sectors. As a result of these changes, Intentia became profitable once again in its quarterly results by the end of 2004, and in its most recent quarter, Q2 2005. At the same time, it was able to invest over 12 percent of total revenues in research and development (R&D) to maintain its leadership in technology. Additionally, it received two investments over the past 18 months. Intentia gained a total of $85 million (USD) in funding ($35 million USD from Symphony at the end of 2003 and $50 million USD from Tennebaum mid-2004). Some of these funds were to be used to acquire other software vendors, which is now moot given the merger with Lawson.
The "old" Intentia lacked focus and partners. Now special consideration will be given to strategic partnering with value added resellers (VAR) and service providers to help drive growth for sales and services. In addition, IBM has about 150 consultants trained on Intentia's solution, and there is greater willingness within Intentia to use third-party products, such as Cognos and Formscape. Additionally, a new strategic initiative in the company's ambitious plans for growth, currently has Intentia's IAS product sold directly, as well as through a rapidly expanding third-party partner channel.
Finally, Intentia is recruiting channel partners for North America, where it had sold direct with the exception of one Canadian reseller. To that end, a few days after the announcement of the merger with Lawson, Intentia announced in mid-June that it has signed an agreement with the Independent Computer Consulting Group (ICCG) of Warminster, Pennsylvania (US) to provide customers with access to a significantly larger team of accredited consultants. Under the terms of the agreement, Intentia will reportedly be able to call upon ICCG professional consultants to service customer needs, and ICCG consultants that are accredited and experienced in Intentia solutions will work in close cooperation with Intentia consulting teams. ICCG will serve as Intentia's prime partner for consulting and implementation services in the US. Among current ICCG customers are Congoleum Corp., M.J. Soffe Co., and Swedish Match Corp.
This concludes Part Two of a four-part note. Part One detailed the merger. Part Three will analyze the market impact. Part Four will cover challenges and make user recommendations.