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Ramco Systems - Diversity Marshaled Through Flexibility Part 3: Challenges and User Recommendations

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: December 20 2001

Ramco Ramco Systems - Diversity Marshaled Through Flexibility

Part 3: Challenges and User Recommendations
P.J. Jakovljevic - December 20, 2001

Challenges 

Although throughout its short history Ramco Systems has built its business through the size and strength of its India-based development organization, it has long lacked the sales and marketing skills and references to leverage its strengths, especially in the highly contested and fastidious North American marketplace. Its market awareness outside Asia is limited, and possibly aggravated by only a handful of offices outside Asia. While a good product functionality and technology bundled with a reasonable price tag and short time-to-market should create a powerful value proposition, poor marketing and sales execution may significantly undermine it.

For details on how Ramco Systems is building its business and the Market Impact of its decisions, see Part One and Part Two of this three-part note.

The company has also long lacked focus, having gone after many diverse markets (within both the realms of applications and tools) with no clear point of attack. Lately though, there have been some sweet spots of crystallization, such as the maintenance (EAM) arena where the company has achieved both sound functionality and references.

The ongoing sales partnership agreement with reputed global reference clients such as Boeing (a recent win), may prove to be vital steps in Ramco's strategy to improve market penetration and eventually become a market leader in selected vertical segments. Ramco should also pursue similar partnership efforts and identify global corporate clients and leading consulting organizations with specific expertise in selected industry segments including manufacturing (chemicals, metals, foods), human resources and continuous process industries (utilities, cement, refineries) to become a vital player in the relevant market space. The company will have to balance the rapid growth of partnerships with a reasonable commitment of resources though.

The effectiveness of remote applications components development with partners in a "back-and-forth" fashion can be questioned as well in some instances. Also significant is the need for a firmly instituted structure for making such new functionality available worldwide, which would preempt the work duplication of reinventing the wheel. Ramco should make aggressive attempts to promote the best-practice offerings of their local partners within the entire partners community, particularly by certifying the products and/or partners, and by providing a repository with centralized information about solutions availability.

Ramco will also be highly challenged to deliver the planned major architectural and functional product enhancement within the current economic climate and with its limited resources. The key enhancements to the product architecture will be adaptive n-tier architecture (that partitions data, business logic, presentation and transport into distinct layers to provide the much-needed segmentation to implement the system in a platform-independent and technology-transparent environment, and to provide stronger physical & geographical workload distribution), and support for multiple platforms including Microsoft, Unix/Oracle, and Java. The magnitude of the above undertaking, which is needed in order to boost the product scalability and the market opportunities, would give a pause even to much bigger and wealthier competitors.

User Recommendations 

Multi-site and multi-national corporations and/or their divisions in the up to $200 million-a-year revenue range, should consider the Ramco's value proposition, but avoid selecting it without looking at what the other vendors have to offer. We generally recommend including Ramco in the long list of vendors considered for an enterprise application selection by the mid-sized companies, which are rapidly growing and agile, but have a limited IT budget/staff, a less risky IT strategy, and a need to quickly and inexpensively gain e-commerce capabilities.

While Ramco covers over 15 industries in six areas (Aviation Solutions, Corporate Solutions, Discrete Manufacturing, EAM Solutions, Process Manufacturing, and HRMS), its regional capabilities and industry focus may vary dramatically though. Therefore, potential clients should conduct a thorough preliminary research on local industry expertise and reference sites when Ramco is included in the selection process. The verticals that would benefit the most likely from evaluating Ramco are:

  • Batch Process Industries - Food & Beverage, Cement, Specialty Chemicals, Plastics, Textiles, and

  • EAM Intensive Industries - Aviation, Utilities

Also, lower tier system integrators/consulting companies that lack the expertise and resources to quickly and effectively deliver component applications and, consequently, to make themselves competitive against the likes of Big 5's should consider partnering with Ramco.

 
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