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Scala Shows Far More Than A Bit Of A Backbone Part 1

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: August 6 2002

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Event Summary

At the beginning of July, Scala Business Solutions (ASE: SCALA; www.scala.net ), an Amsterdam, the Netherlands-based provider of collaborative ERP software for mid-size enterprises and subsidiaries of global corporations, launched a number of initiatives to defend its turf by providing a counter value proposition to users of its larger competitors, especially SAP.

Most recently, on July 16, Scala announced that it signed a new partnership agreement with BizPartner Limited. The company will implement Scala's Collaborative ERP software for new customers in Turkey, and provide services to Scala's existing customers in the area. Scala's multi-language support and adaptation to local requirements was cited as key to BizPartner's decision to partner with Scala. Turkey is a promising market for global companies; and both high-quality consulting resources and a strong software package are a must for any multi-national enterprise that wants to enter the market or extend their business locally. Global companies are excited about the future of the Turkish market and they need a multi-national solution that can support their subsidiary both now and throughout any changes in the market. With its understanding of Turkish business requirements to address issues such as taxation and high inflation, BizPartner believes it is perfectly placed to help these companies make global business simple. Scala will maintain its direct presence in Turkey and share its office with BizPartner.

Also recently, on July 10, appointed Quadron B.V. as its reseller in The Netherlands. Until now, the company has been an integration partner only, but the new contract ensures that Quadron will play a key role in Scala's product sales as well as consultancy and system implementation. Quadron will concentrate on winning business in Scala's key markets the subsidiaries, divisions and suppliers of global companies and also local small and medium enterprises (SME's), in this case, those operating in The Netherlands.

With this strategy, Quadron and Scala plan to then progress to secure further subsidiaries within these target companies and win global roll-out contracts as customers see that implementing one standard system worldwide is far more cost effective than going through the painful integration of various existing legacy products. Many of Quadron's consultants have been closely involved in the implementation of Scala software at many national and international companies, and they cover all areas of Scala's functionality, including Manufacturing Planning and Control (MPC), the pharmaceutical vertical market and the new iScala 2.1, a collaborative e-business platform.

Scala's worldwide partner network provides its customers with solutions in more than 110 countries. Customers benefit from partner's international geographical coverage, professional local support, industry expertise, vertical market knowledge, and complementary skills and solutions. From offices in Europe, North America and the Far East, and through its network of partners and dealers, Scala delivers software and services that are available in over 30 languages in more than 140 countries.

This is Part One of a three-part note covering recent initiatives by Scala. Part Two will evaluate the Market Impact. Part Three will discuss the Challenges faced by Scala and make User Recommendations.

iScala2.1

On July 2, just over one month after its commercial launch, 24 companies are reportedly already live or in the process of implementing Scala's latest product, iScala 2.1. A purpose-built Collaborative ERP platform, launched in May, iScala 2.1 is designed to make genuine collaboration a reality not to make just one company work better, but to make a whole chain of companies work better together.

Two and a half years ago, the company began re-designing its ERP software and building a new platform specifically for online collaboration. Scala has now packaged together the functionality required in one standard software system, which means a business can begin true collaboration with its subsidiaries, customers, partners, and suppliers. iScala 2.1 is the successor product to Scala 5.1; It contains all of the basic ERP functionality that was available in Scala 5.1 in addition to the collaborative capabilities inherent to the new design. Scala 5.1 is currently being withdrawn from Scala's marketing materials and the company will shortly be announcing the date at which the product will be withdrawn from selling. Because of this the company hopes to defuse any confusion over the products because there will soon be the one product line — iScala 2.1

iScala 2.1 comprises two products, the iScala Business Server and the iScala Enterprise Server. The iScala Business Server is an entry-level product for medium-size companies needing full ERP functionality to automate business processes across applications and customer or supplier systems. The iScala Enterprise Server brings scalability, as well as business centralization for larger companies. In addition, iScala Developer is a development environment to allow internal and external IT staff to alter the basic iScala product in order to deliver company-specific functionality where required. The new architecture also means that iScala is ready for web services, and can be made available through any device.

Globally Collaborative ERP Software

Further, in June, Scala reportedly received praise from customers for possibly the unique multi-language capabilities of its Collaborative ERP software. Scala maintains a single set of application code for all its languages -- more than 30 -- compared to other vendors who commonly support different software versions for different languages. Scala's product architecture, which enables a single version of the software to support multiple languages, means global companies can keep their maintenance costs down by, for example, running a single service center to support several countries. It also gives them flexibility to manage their global business more easily in a multi-lingual and multi-cultural environment. Scala also provides telephone support in over 15 different languages to support local users worldwide.

To ensure that every new product is multi-lingual from the start of its lifecycle, translation into different languages is done in the software development process on a phrase by phrase basis to give accurate meaning in multiple languages. Last year Scala announced that it was using a brand new web-based translation tool to provide a generic framework for application translation of new Scala products. By using this new tool Scala was able to launch iScala 2.1 with built-in support for 24 languages at its release. The multi-lingual capabilities are enhanced by the new Unicode technology that is used in iScala 2.1, allowing the combination of any languages with different characters in a single installation.

True multi-language technology like Unicode also allows a wide range of languages such as Chinese, Russian or Arabic, to be stored, displayed and printed on the same page or even in the same field. The technology also gives Scala a significant technical advantage in that new developments and maintenance updates to Scala software only have to be developed in a single version, whereas Scala's competitors have to maintain multiple versions, one for each language.

This concludes Part One of a three-part note covering recent initiatives by Scala. Part Two will evaluate the Market Impact. Part Three will discuss the Challenges faced by Scala and make User Recommendations.

 
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