MAPICS XA Expands BI Offering Through Partnership With Vanguard

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Event Summary

MAPICS (NASDAQ: MAPX) now has an expanded Business Intelligence (BI) suite that works throughout its MAPICS XA product. The suite, called Graphic Performance Series (GPS), is offered through a formal relationship with Vanguard Solutions Group.

"Business Intelligence is a vital piece of our customer's ERP system, turning the wealth of data in the XA manufacturing data model into information to make better business decisions and gain competitive advantage in their markets", said Tom Aery, VP and GM of MAPICS, Inc. XA Business Unit. "The tight integration and manufacturing industry specific, pre-defined analytics in GPS speeds implementation and provides our customers with a BI solution that maximizes their return on investment in XA. GPS is fully enabled to work in the new collaborative manufacturing world, sharing real-time information with all members of the supply chain to improve customer service and profitability"

GPS is a comprehensive Business Intelligence application, fully integrated into MAPICS XA. Vanguard reports that no development is required. GPS includes a large number of pre-packaged analytics of MAPICS XA data, featuring summary analysis and drill down to both lower levels of summarization and the MAPICS XA source data. In addition, GPS includes a development capability that allows the creation of customer views, integration to non-MAPICS systems and the inclusion of custom MAPICS extensions.

Modules include:

  • Customer/Product Analytics - information on sales statistics, order bookings, and shipping information.

  • Financial Analytics - graphing, analysis and reporting for General Ledger, Accounts Receivable, and Accounts Payable information. Provides drilling between financial and supporting sales, purchasing, inventory and manufacturing information.

  • Supply Chain Analytics - Includes inventory, purchasing and supplier analytics from inventory trends by planner, buyer, and item to supplier performance and PPV.

  • Manufacturing Analytics - Focuses on schedule performance and variance analysis.

  • E-Deployment - Automated scheduler of view/cube building and distribution to end users via web server or e-mail attachments for un-tethered users.

  • Web Client - thin client OLAP (on-line analytical processing) capabilities allows "dynamic" graphing and reporting that can be used un-tethered.

  • Extension Builder - Meta data maintenance tool used to extend and customize GPS.

Market Impact

Yvonne Genovese, Research Director, Enterprise and Supply Chain Management at Gartner Group expressed her view on MAPICS and GPS thus: "The MAPICS XA product has a rich database. But, like most other ERP products, translating the data stored within the database to information used to make enterprise decisions has proven difficult. With the availability of the Business Intelligence solution GPS, MAPICS can provide their customers with a valuable tool for harvesting the business value out of their database." Yvonne speaks from strong position, in addition to her role at Gartner Group; she was formerly the Vice President of Marketing for MAPICS.

Reactions from early MAPICS XA users of GPS have been overwhelmingly positive. MAPICS XA customer Biomet, Inc. of Warsaw, Indiana designs, manufactures and markets products used primarily by orthopedic medical specialists. Tom Orr, Biomet's GPS project leader reports, "The GPS business intelligence product for MAPICS is incredible! It has surpassed our high expectations. We were able to install GPS, build the warehouse and have our users up and running within 2 weeks."

GPS's development capabilities have been used in a variety of ways. GPS can be extended to include non-MAPICS XA data, for example customer custom modules or applications from other vendors. Although MAPICS XA is AS/400 based, GPS can work with non-AS/400 databases including Oracle and SQL Server. Therefore, GPS should be seen as an integration tool, allowing one view of data from a variety of systems.

Since its beginning, the primary MAPICS distribution channel has been local affiliate organizations. These local businesses sell and support MAPICS in a defined geographic area. The MAPICS affiliate network represents GPS as part of their overall MAPICS mission. Ron Schuur, the president of a leading MAPICS affiliate, Schuur Solutions of Brea, CA. says, "We have three customers who recently licensed GPS. What has been so impressive is how quickly people see the value and their overall positive reactions. I personally suggest that all MAPICS affiliates make this a key part of their customer satisfaction efforts."

User Recommendations

Existing MAPICS XA customers should review GPS with their local affiliate to determine the additional value that can be generated from their MAPICS database. Look for a quick return on investment because sales and supply chain processes should be improved by access to concise, targeted information.

MAPICS customers with custom systems or products from other vendors should review GPS's development capabilities in order to gain data integration between their various systems.

New customers evaluating MAPICS XA should consider GPS an essential part of MAPICS XA and insist on reviewing it as part of their evaluation.

Vendor Recommendations

With GPS, MAPICS has taken a critical step forward in creating value for its customers. MAPICS should expend the marketing effort required to insure all MAPICS XA customers, prospects and affiliates fully understand the value potential of GPS. MAPICS should invest further in the GPS technology to insure that the power of GPS is available across 100% of the MAPICS product lines including integration into its portal strategy and Point Man system.

Vanguard should continue its focus of business intelligence for ERP systems. It should expand the coverage of GPS to extend its offerings beyond the current set of JDE, MAPICS, PRISM and BPCS. In the fast moving BI market, Vanguard should continue to invest in GPS to maintain its competitive position.

About the Author

Olin Thompson is a principal of Process ERP Partners. He has over 25 years experience as an executive in the software industry with the last 17 in process industry related ERP, SCP, and e-business related segments. Olin has been called "the Father of Process ERP." He is a frequent author and an award-winning speaker on topics of gaining value from ERP, SCP, e-commerce and the impact of technology on industry.

He can be reached at

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