SYSPRO ERP Version 6.1: A New Release for People Being Visionary and Pragmatic-At the Same Time

About two years ago, my colleague P.J. Jakovljevic wrote a blog post about SYSPRO, which started with the description of a very interesting strategy that the enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor used to target its customers: PragmaVision. By introducing this concept, SYSPRO was showing that their product addresses the needs of decision makers that are both visionary (ready to embrace new technology) and pragmatic (not willing to test new products and waiting for them to prove their strengths).

A couple of days ago, Brian Stein, chief executive officer (CEO) at SYSPRO USA, did an online briefing on Version 6.1. In my opinion, the new version is targeting the same type of customer described in P.J.’s post, where it provides new functionality, uses new technology, combines them, and provides an advanced and robust ERP product.

What’s New in Version 6.1?

The new version brings more than a thousand enhancements across all modules. Here are some of the most important new features:

New Modules

Version 6.1 offers five new modules:
• SYSPRO Workflow Services (SWS): An integrated engine to define and manage workflows, which is part of the business process management (BPM) solution offered by SYSPRO.
• SYSPRO Process Modeling (SPM):  Another component of SYSPRO BPM, which allows all the users involved in process modeling to define process requirements and create processes accordingly.
• Inventory optimization (IO): Helps users and decision makers understand the causes of shortages, overstock, etc., and the parameters that cause these problems but also provide tools to prevent or address inventory management issues.
• Warehouse Management System (WMS): SYSPRO had WMS functionality before, but the new version will bring a fully integrated module for warehouse management—with basic functionality—allowing wireless devices, sequence picking, bin management and pallet tracking, and phased releases to handle advanced WMS capability during the life cycle of 6.1.
• Quality Management System (QMS): Being fully integrated with purchasing and production work in process, the new QMS module addresses the needs for quality management procedures and processes.

The user interface has been enhanced in Version 6.1, allowing administrators and end users to personalize their working environment. Toolbars forms, panes, and views can be customized, VBscripting has been enhanced and all this can be done based on user roles. Customization can go even further, with the option to add actions, multimedia objects, help, and standard fields to forms.

Enterprise performance management (EPM) goes beyond reporting, with the use of XCelsius to define key performance indicators (KPIs) and build dashboards (the system ships with more than 100 pre-defined dashboards). Users can build dynamic views, build forecasts, what-if scenarios, and run multi-dimensional analysis of the data.

The new technology used in Version 6.1 includes the latest release of Microsoft SQL Server and Analysis Server, Crystal XCelsius 2008 Charts and Designer, but also user interface technologies such as .NET user controls and markup code (extensible application markup language [XAML]).

Finally, during the briefing we had the chance to take a look at the product roadmap for the next two years and the following caught my attention:
- Social networking and the roll-out of a software-as-a-service (SaaS) strategy for Version 7.0 (2010 Q4).
- Version 7.1 (to be released in 2011) will bring document management to SharePoint and “advanced cloud strategy”.
- The new modules will be extended or enhanced, especially WMS and QMS.

It is not surprising that SYSPRO intends to extend functionality for its new modules, but integration with SharePoint and the SaaS and cloud computing strategy is something worth following. If well created and applied, the latter can successfully attract the type of customers described in the introduction: willing to try cloud computing but only when this delivery model has proven its effectiveness for ERP solutions.

If you would like to know more about Version 6.1, please leave your questions or comments below and I will try to answer them as thoroughly as I can.
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