ROI Systems Catching Up With e-Commerce

ROI Systems Catching Up With e-Commerce
P.J. Jakovljevic - November 3, 2000

Event Summary

On November 10, ROI Systems, Inc., a privately held provider of extended Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions for mid-market manufacturing enterprises, announced the offering of XML-based EDI for its clients. ROI's EDI solution will enable users of its flagship MANAGE 2000 software suite to conduct e-commerce over the Web with trading partners across the supply chain.

"While ROI's existing EDI solution satisfies the electronic commerce requirements of most mid-market manufacturers today, we want to be able to offer Web-based EDI for our clients when they want it or when their trading partners require it." says Bill Pisarra, ROI's executive vice president of marketing. "By integrating TIE Commerce's xVision product, we are providing cutting edge XML-based EDI technology. We recognize that increasing competitive pressures are turning manufacturers to the Web to extend their market reach, and we are ready to support those efforts. XML technology is a key component of ROI's technology strategy. It is one of the languages we are using currently in product development, so we are pleased to be able to extend its capabilities through our EDI offering, as well."

ROI has a long-standing relationship with TIE Commerce. TIE Commerce's xVision extension to their eVision product supports all ANSI X.12 and UN-EDIFACT documents as well as any well-formed XML document structure. With its support of emerging XML standards, such as ebXML, xVision delivers data transformation and integration support for Internet trading.

Market Impact

For more than two decades, ROI Systems has managed to deliver strong discrete manufacturing functionality and solid customer support, although at the expense of modest growth and cautious new technology introduction. As a result, the company is not regarded as a thought leader in the market and its customer base amounts only to over 600, almost exclusively North American enterprises. However, on the positive side, ROI makes every effort to ensure an easy and bug free migration path when introducing new technology and/or product releases. Very impressive is the fact that all its customers are running on the latest product version release.

Offering XML-based EDI to its customers is in tune with ROI's basic approach to introduce only tried-and-true necessary new technologies. Also, its recent alliance with Agile Software, a vendor of collaborative manufacturing commerce solutions, is another move in ROI's quest to prudently continue expanding Internet deployment that supports business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce and supply chain collaboration. However, the company has still seemingly been inactive regarding applications hosting and Internet exchange (marketplace) initiatives. Furthermore, its product has not been fully Web enabled and does not provide many standard interfaces to other products, which all are key tenets of the new Internet economy. One should expect announcements along these lines in the future.

User Recommendations

ROI customers should certainly benefit from the latest product enhancements. As for potential customers, we generally recommend including ROI Systems in a long list of an enterprise application selection to lower-end of the mid-market companies (with $5M-$200M in revenue) and divisions of larger enterprises in English-speaking countries, which have limited IT budget and conservative IT strategy, and have significant discrete manufacturing requirements, while currently not needing complex CRM and B2B e-commerce functionality.

ROI should be included on a short list in any selection within the SME market where configure-to-order assembly and field service modules are the main pillars of an enterprise application. The industries that would most likely benefit from using MANAGE 2000 are electronics, industrial equipment, consumer products, and medical devices. Users come from various types of discrete manufacturers, operating in one or multiple facilities. The product supports more than one manufacturing mode, including configure-to-order (CTO), just-in-time (JIT), high-volume repetitive, make-to-stock (MTS), and make-to-order (MTO).

Multi-national and companies looking for a broader functionality beyond traditional ERP boundaries from a single vendor may benefit from evaluating other products at this stage. Current and potential users may want to inquire about the company's plans regarding Internet marketplaces in their respective industries.

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