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Supply Chain Management Audio Conference Transcript

Written By: Steve McVey
Published On: June 23 2000

Event Summary

This is a transcript of an audio conference on Supply Chain Management conducted on May 24, 2000.

Introduction

Good morning everyone, my name is Steve McVey, and I head up the supply chain management research areas for Technology Evaluation Centers. This morning we're going to discuss a proven, best of breed methodology for evaluating and selecting a supply chain management solution. During the presentation, we will use Technology Evaluation Centers' patented online selection engine, WebTESS, to guide you through a live, real time evaluation and selection. We will then review the critical differentiating supply chain management criteria, as well as detailed comparisons between i2 Technologies, Manugistics, Aspen Technology, Logility, and Adexa.

Overview

I'm going to begin with an overview of problems and solutions relating to technology selection, starting first with the problem:

According to our research, over 80% of enterprise technology evaluations run over time and budget, and once completed, over 50% of the implementations fail to meet functional and total cost expectations. There are three main reasons that project teams run into trouble.

  1. They have no effective way to identify the critical vendor and product questions necessary to successfully initiate the evaluation process.
  2. They have no ability to prioritize the different criteria, once identified, relative to one another. As a result, final priorities are often more the result of internal political agendas than true needs and requirements.
  3. And finally, project teams have no ability to gather objective, validated, updated data on the vendor alternatives. As you may well know, vendors have a tendency to exaggerate product, service, and corporate capabilities if it enables them to move to the next phase of the deal.

So, what's the solution?

The solution is to create a structured, repeatable process for evaluating technology solutions and the vendors that provide them. Best practices drawn from our clients that have completed internal technology selections suggest that project teams should examine five key categories of criteria. The first two categories examine product specific capabilities, while the remaining three investigate the software vendor's overall corporate capabilities.

So let's review these criteria categories.

Number 1: Product Functionality - Product functionality is the most obvious evaluation criterion and plays a dominant role in supply chain management software selections. Simply put, this evaluates the features and functions delivered by the product as it currently exists. Together with technology and architecture, product functionality often makes up over 90 percent of the overall importance within IT selections, but this is probably too high. Other criteria such as service/support, corporate viability, and strategy should make a stronger contribution.

Number 2: Product Technology - Product technology defines the technical architecture of the product, and the technological environment in which the product can run successfully. Sub criteria include things like application architecture, software usability and administration, and platform and database support. Relative to the other evaluation criteria, best practice selections place a lower relative importance on the product technology criterion. However, this apparently lower importance is deceptive, because the product technology criterion usually houses the majority of an organization's mandatory criteria, which usually include server, client, protocol and database support, application scalability and other architectural capabilities. The definition of mandatory criteria within this set often allows the client to quickly narrow the long list of potential vendors to a short list of applicable solutions that pass muster relative to the most basic mandatory selection criteria.

Number 3: Corporate Service and Support - This criterion defines the capability of the vendor to provide implementation services and ongoing support. Repeated industry surveys have identified this category as the single largest differentiating factor among potential selection options, as well as the greatest indicator of ultimate user implementation success and long term vendor viability. A proper professional services and support evaluation should include both subjective, qualitative measures validated by current product users, and objective, quantitative criteria within both the professional services and product support categories. Service and support includes categories such as consulting, systems integration, project management skills, geographic coverage, language and time coverage of the vendor help desk, and delivery mediums.

Number 4: Corporate Viability - Corporate viability is a critical, yet often overlooked category that examines the financial and management strength of the vendor. Given the huge number of dollars spent on IT procurements, not to mention their strategic importance, the financial stability of the vendor simply can't be stressed too much. The vendor viability category in WebTESS combines quantitative Wall Street ratio and metric analysis with qualitative management and corporate evaluations. Only by combining the two components can IT executives accurately assess the risk and benefit of corporate investment in a specific product and vendor option.

Number 5: Corporate Strategy - Corporate strategy evaluates the corporate road map and strategy of the software vendor with regard to specific timelines of how the product will be developed, sold, and supported within the supply chain management market. This is the most strategic and long term set of evaluation criteria, and rates how effectively the stated vendor's three to five year product, support and sales strategy maps to the overall market direction. Any dissonance between the stated vendor direction and market direction is a cause for concern, and should be rectified by the vendor through either a shift in corporate policy or a detailed and market validated explanation for the discord.

Now that we have given an overview of the requirements of a technology selection, I would like to move on to an overview of the Supply Chain Management Software Marketplace and as it exists today.

Trend Note

The Internet is reshaping the enterprise applications market by making possible unprecedented visibility and information sharing between enterprises. Nowhere is this transformation more evident than in the supply chain management software market. The fact is, prior to the Internet, much of what supply chain management promised was never realized beyond a conceptual level. Supply chains that seamlessly joined customers and suppliers were easy to draw on paper, but building the link without Internet technology was practically impossible. The trends that have emerged in recent years capitalize on the possibilities for collaboration, information sharing, and instantaneous communication that the Internet provides.

These trends are:

  • Collaborative Planning / CPFR
  • Internet Procurement
  • Portals
  • New Pricing Models

Collaborative Planning / CPFR

The first of these is Collaborative Planning and specifically, a subset of this called Continuous Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment or CPFR. CPFR is a set of processes for trading partners, manufacturers and retailers, to share forecast and replenishment information. It is a superb example of collaborative planning and embodies all of the attributes and purposes of collaboration. CPFR succeeds earlier initiatives such as Efficient Consumer Response, Quick Response, and Vendor Managed Inventory and benefits from strong support from standards organizations like VICS (Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Standards), primarily geared toward the retail industry and to a lesser extent, RosettaNet which focuses on developing many other business-to-business standards.

CPFR is emerging from its pilot phase with the help of proponents like retailers Kmart, Wal-Mart, and Sports Authority as well as consulting firms like Andersen Consulting. Several supply chain management and ERP vendors have recognized the potential for CPFR and are building standard protocols and features into their collaboration products to support it. A good example is Logility, which was an early champion of collaborative planning. Its Voyager XPS and XES products are the culmination of several years of CPFR-compliant architecture development.

According to a 1999 study by Consumer Goods Magazine, more than half of the 224 executives surveyed from consumer goods manufacturers representing apparel/accessories, food and beverage, packaged goods, and home furnishing/appliance companies said they expected to implement "Internet Order Handling" in the next three years. Forty-four percent said they would implement CPFR specifically. Although it demands a high level of organizational commitment to succeed, CPFR can bring bottom line benefits to companies that sign onto the challenge. We expect CPFR to gain broader acceptance as the novelty of online trading exchanges supporting indirect material procurement wears off and users seek more structured methods to control relationships between customers and suppliers.

User Impact

For all its potential and the extensive blueprints developed by VICS and others, CPFR is relatively new to the vendor world. Apart from Logility and SAP, few supply enterprise application vendors offer products that directly support CPFR processes according to VICS standards. We expect CPFR to gain broader acceptance as the novelty of online trading exchanges wears off and users seek more structured methods to control relationships between customers and suppliers. Though CPFR can be applied in any industry segment, the retail consumer goods market has been the primary adopter to date. Retail users should find out more about CPFR if accurate forecasts are a priority with external and internal customers.

Internet Procurement

The second major trend impacting supply chain management is Internet procurement. Online communities where companies can buy and sell products have become very popular in the past year. Companies look to these communities to reduce administrative costs, improve turnaround, and to help control inventory and spending. In response, supply chain management vendors are developing tools and applications targeted at this segment of the Internet procurement market. Some industry observers have expressed concern over the impact that such exchanges have on profit margins by driving prices down and predict that "e-markets" will be used exclusively for "spot purchasing" of commodity-level goods and services.

E-markets fall into different categories depending on where the software resides, who controls or sponsors the market, and whether direct or indirect goods procurement is available. Though current exchanges predominantly involve only spot purchases, there is a move towards making e-markets responsible for the full trading lifecycle, which spans procurement, supply chain management, and customer relationship management.

Because so many vendors offer e-procurement capabilities, it is becoming increasingly important for them to distinguish their portals from competitors. We believe that supply chain management vendors are uniquely capable of doing this by providing value-added services that relate to procurement in fundamental ways. i2 Technologies is an excellent example of a supply chain management vendor that is successfully bringing its domain expertise in advanced planning and scheduling to provide the backend capabilities for procurement over the Internet.

User Impact

Users who want to cut their indirect material costs should not delay in selecting an appropriate vendor that offers online procurement, either a package vendor or Internet-based portal. For direct material purchases, where on-time deliveries are an imperative, users should partner with an SCP package vendor or a portal backed by supply chain planning that can bring the intelligent backend planning capabilities to fulfill online material purchases. A good choice to consider is i2, which has begun to offer advanced planning services such as logistics and transportation planning along with its growing cadre of vertical marketplace portals.

Portals

Less exciting than Internet marketplaces perhaps, but nonetheless important are portals. Vertical portals open a window of communication between supply chain planning vendors and communities of customers, partners, content providers, advertisers, and, in most cases, the general public. A good example of a basic portal (detached from hosted services and procurement) is Aspen Technology's ProcessCity.com, a collaborative web site for the process industries. The portal offers process industry-specific news and event information, discussion forums, career guidance and employment information, and access to consultant expertise among other information.

Portals are a natural result of competition, the need for better customer support, and the Internet. In addition to benefits for participating users, the forums allow vendors to foster more dynamic relationships with customers and prospects than would be possible through corporate websites, annual user conferences, or helpdesks.

Apart from advertising revenues and content sales, the future dollar impact of portals on supply chain management market growth is difficult to quantify. Portals will drive partnerships and even consolidations among supply chain management vendors and Internet enablers such as, in Aspen's case, Extricity and Syntra Technologies. If nothing else, portals also afford more backward vendors a low cost, low risk entry into the Internet marketplace.

User Impact

Users should view portals in the same way as vendors: as a place to share and receive information. Privacy issues exist, of course, and users should be careful to avoid sharing potentially sensitive information such as implementation success/failure stories unless the portal provider agrees to keep it confidential.

New Pricing Models

The fourth trend that is on the rise concerns new pricing models. Unfortunately for vendors, customer expectations tend to grow faster than their ability to furnish competent, easy-to-use products to satisfy the expectations. High client hopes usually fall to the ground sometime during implementation and leave a lasting and often bitter impression.

Since fewer than one in four projects deliver workable solutions that survive six years or more, clients are increasingly wary of committing huge sums of money before they have obtained measurable return on their investment. In response, the licensing of supply chain management software products is undergoing a fundamental shift from traditional up-front fees to incremental or success-based pricing. Success-based pricing is a popular alternative especially for small businesses and startups that lack the IT budgets of larger, established companies. It allows these companies to acquire software for a lower entry cost and pay more only as their business expands.

Vendors who embark on the transition to the new model are sure to experience growing pains, however. As traditional license revenues decline, recurring revenue generates comparable figures only after time. This can quickly lead to negative earnings and eventual success is by no means assured. Organizationally, vendors have to make fundamental changes to sales and support processes for transaction-based pricing.

User Impact

For users, success-based pricing models offer a "pay-as-you-grow" alternative to up-front license fees. Though often sold as cheap and convenient, these models can bring unexpected IT costs down the road. As with any long-term contract, prospective clients should carefully review the fine print to understand the implications that transactional revenues will have on future expenses. A transaction may appear cheap at, say $10 per, but detailed growth projections that factor in per-transaction increases, milestone increases, as well as other contract attributes are a must for companies to understand the magnitude of future payments.

Conclusion

In conclusion, with the Internet making access to supply chain planning tools both cheaper and easier, it is difficult to imagine why a manufacturing company would remain without them. Success-based pricing is probably the most compelling financial incentive for small to midsize companies to consider a supply chain software application acquisition. Actual charges vary widely depending on the type of application, but typically range from $5 to 15 per transaction (where transactions may be purchases, orders, shipments, truck lanes, etc.).

Large and small companies can benefit immediately from e-market portals. By signing on to an e-market, whether a public exchange or a private network hosted by the vendor or a large "anchor tenant" supplier, a corporation can effectively outsource its entire tactical procurement operation, at least for commodity items.

CPFR will be the collaborative paradigm of choice for direct goods procurement and non-commodities over the next five years as it allows large companies with several key suppliers and/or resellers to individualize their relationships while at the same time exploiting the speed and efficiency of the Internet. For the longer term, CPFR will provide the framework for end-to-end collaboration across the entire supply chain.

We believe these trends and others will play a large role in shaping the enterprise applications market over the next several years.

WEBTESS DEMO

Now, I think it's time we moved to the demonstration. Although everyone has been given instructions on getting to the WebTESS Supply Chain Management Selection Model on our site, I'll go through it again, briefly just in case some of you may have had difficulty.

First, go to our website, http://www.technologyevaluation.com/. From the front page, select the tab marked "Vendor Selection Tool." Then, within the blue-bordered box titled "Current Category: All Categories", select the "GO" button beside "Supply Chain Management." This should spawn another browser window in which you should see the WebTESS application. You will want to maximize this window for best viewing. The great beauty of WebTESS is its ability to provide project teams with a statistically valid framework for comparing vendor options. In it, we have scored each vendor according to its ability to meet the criteria. WebTESS aggregates the scores upward through the hierarchy, while simultaneously taking into account the effect of local and global weights.

Now, I would like everyone to click on the Select Choices option on the menu bar at the top part of the browser window. I'll be referring to the top menu bar several times during the demonstration. It is located in the top frame of the WebTESS browser window to the right of the spinning globe logo. In the "Select Choices" window, you should see a list of vendors on the left hand portion of the window and a description on the right hand side.

Clicking on a vendor in the left-hand side panel brings up a detailed description of the vendor option in the right-hand side panel. By clicking the check boxes next to the vendor, you can include or exclude it from your selection.

We'll touch briefly on these vendors in order, starting with Aspen Technology.

Aspen Technology

Aspen Technology made its mark selling software applications for process simulation and control, though its supply chain management applications form a large percentage of its total revenues. Aspen appears as a strong supply chain management challenger for giving its supply chain applications a prominent position among its product offerings and its leadership in the process manufacturing industries.

Aspen Technology Strengths

  • Aspen's supply chain management suite offers a high degree of functional flexibility: Aspen's MIMI application provides a feature-rich modeling language that enables users to address a large variety of industrial problems.

  • Established customer base in the chemical process industries (CPI): Aspen's customers include 44 of the 50 largest chemical companies, 17 of the 20 largest petroleum refiners, and 16 of the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies.

  • Experienced implementation and customer support personnel: Chesapeake has received high praise from consultants and clients for their staff of bright, experienced process engineers and modelers.

Aspen Technology Challenges

  • Poor financial showing in FY1999: Aspen's FY1999 revenues of $219.6 million represent a 13% drop over the same period on year ago ($252.6 million). Net losses for the same period in 1999 were $26 million. Part of the drop can be attributed to the reduced IT spending by the petroleum and petrochemicals companies - key markets for Aspen - due to economic factors and obviously Y2K.

  • Shortage of trained implementation resources: Implementing much of Aspen's eSupply Chain suite requires highly trained resources to do detailed modeling. Although some templates exist and more are being developed, MIMI, the core of eSupply Chain, is essentially a toolkit that typically involves extensive training of resources when experienced modelers cannot be found.

  • Dealing effectively with multiple competitors due to Aspen's broad product offering: The Plantelligence suite is almost ungainly in its variety of applications, including everything from operator training programs to process simulators to supply chain planning. Judicious pruning of non-core applications is needed to better focus corporate resources. Some of this has taken place, but we feel that more is needed.

i2 Technologies

i2 was the dominant supply chain management vendor in 1999 and maintains a significant lead over its competitors in terms of market share. Though its total revenue growth has begun to slow in recent years, the 55% increase it recorded between 1998 and 1999 is still enviable by market standards.

i2 Technologies Strengths

  • Strong financial position and commanding market presence: More than any other aspect, i2 is known for its rapid growth rate. In contrast to its competitors' claims, this growth remains unaffected by Y2K remediation spending and general economic downturn.

  • Aggressive sales and marketing organization: i2's direct sales force headcount stood at around 700 at the end of 1999, more than twice that of its nearest competitor. At 34%, investment in sales and marketing as a percentage of revenues is the highest of their competitors.

  • Innovative approach to marketing and alliances: i2 has successfully remade itself into an e-commerce software company with its Intelligent e-business suite of applications that include the online trading network, TradeMatrix (10/99), its vertical offshoots such as HightechMatrix and Fasturn.com, acquisition of Aspect Development, and partnerships with IBM, Ariba, and others. i2's ability to reinvent itself to capitalize on market trends is evidenced by its consistently high percentage of license revenues.

  • Product flexibility: Rhythm provides the capability to satisfy a wide variety of functional requirements and business rules through its custom modeling language, OIL (Object Integration Language). Also, i2 offers a series of vertical industry templates, which allow customers to jump-start their modeling effort.

i2 Technologies Challenges

  • Delivering on vision: While able to conceive and articulate architectural visions, i2 has been less successful at delivering fully developed, bug-free applications to support them. Clients and third-party integrators often discover the gap only after the implementation is well underway.

  • Business consultants know application, not industry: Business consultants, though skilled in Rhythm applications, often lack industry-specific knowledge. This is in part due to the rapid growth of the company and the inevitable learning curve faced by new staff. i2 relies heavily on implementation partners such as Andersen Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers but jurisdiction problems can arise during implementations.

  • Reporting capabilities inadequate for many core applications: It is frequently necessary to integrate with a third party reporting tool that provides the flexibility to fulfill customer requirements. The additional and sometimes unplanned for development can be costly and delay project timelines.

  • Product Technology: i2 must win the race between transaction volume size and static memory size allowed by existing platforms - a consequence of Rhythm's memory-resident nature. Results of i2's proprietary heuristics and algorithms can be compromised when extensive modeling flexibility is utilized.

Logility

Logility has made significant progress since it was spun off from American Software in 1997. The company grew by a respectable average annual rate of 38% from 1994 to 1998, but slid 22% in fiscal 1999 due to Y2K market malaise, weakness in the global economy, and increased competition from ERP vendors.

Logility Strengths

  • Comprehensive supply chain planning product offering: Logility's Voyager supply chain management solutions cover a wide area within supply chain management. Its distribution planning is especially strong in consumer packaged goods.

  • Out-of-the-box product: A chief advantage of Voyager over competitive offerings, most notably i2's Rhythm and Chesapeake's MIMI, is the ability to provide a competent solution with little or no customization. It also offers many standard interfaces with major ERP and legacy systems to enable faster implementations. Logility's pre-packaged functionality can also give it an edge over other candidates when demonstrating for prospective clients.

  • Headstart in collaborative planning: Logility has a headstart over other supply chain management vendors in terms of collaborative planning. Its Voyager XPS was one of the first applications to embody Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR) as devised by VICS and Resource Chain Voyager, a precursor to the current applications was installed at client sites as early as 1996.

Logility Challenges

  • Building the foundations under its castles: Logility has invested heavily in its move toward application hosting, a market that can have considerable impact on its future livelihood. Though its applications possess attributes that make them well-suited to Internet deployment (e.g., configurable product, mid market focus, CPFR), Logility will need to make considerable investments in product development, marketing, and alliances to make its ASP model successful.

  • Dependence on American Software: By our estimates, American Software represents 83% of Logility's indirect channel. While Logility benefits in many ways from its parent company, American's tepid performance calls into question its ability to provide a safety net.

  • Poor visibility at highest levels: Although Logility has achieved small-scale success with its marketing approach, it admits to having difficulties selling at the highest levels of management. To effectively compete and grow its business, Logility's sales execution needs to break into senior management, a goal that can be attained through a shift in marketing strategy.

Manugistics

1999 proved to be a very challenging year for Manugistics. Its license revenues dropped by 47% and services revenues dipped slightly below 1998 levels. Manugistics lost market position as it focused on internal reorganization, making wholesale changes to its executive management team, streamlining its operations, and reassessing its corporate strategy.

Manugistics Strengths

  • An experienced management team with new ideas and the ability to execute on them. We have to give credit to Greg Owens and his team for generating a great deal of excitement around Manugistics recently and we are seeing this translate to new license deals.

  • Manugistics also offers very mature functionality, especially for transportation management and optimization, perhaps the only suite vendor to offer comprehensive and flexible VMI and replenishment modules.

  • Manugistics also benefits from probably the largest supply chain customer base of its competitors including i2 and SAP (for supply chain). This gives it a great advantage, if properly utilized, in generating new license and web hosting revenues.

Manugistics Challenges

  • Among its challenges, Manugistics' inability to effectively incorporate acquired sales forces into its existing organization contributed to a 30% decline in license revenues in calendar 1999 over the previous year. Also, its fourth quarter 1998 loss was $71.2 million, including $33.1 million for restructuring. These financial difficulties lead to a complete revamping of its executive management team and significantly impaired Manugistics' perception in the marketplace. Business has been picking up, but the company still has ground to cover and lags significantly behind i2.

  • Manugistics will also find challenges in making its Internet B2B trading exchanges and application service provider (ASP) model successful. Not the least of its difficulties arise from its late entry into these markets where competition is already fierce. Application service providers face a different set of priorities than traditional software vendors, such as maintaining an ongoing relationship to clients through intermediaries such as application hosting providers, and many changes need to be accomplished within the organization to achieve the transition.

  • Traditionally, one of its advantages over newer supply chain management entrants, the implementation expertise and industry knowledge of Manugistics' support staff has shown some signs of loss due to attrition. This is especially true for its transportation group. Though periodic housecleaning can be healthy, high turnover can make potential hires think twice about jumping on board.

Adexa

Adexa, Inc., which is the vendor formerly known as Paragon Management Systems, was incorporated in 1994. Adexa has perennially spent more effort on product development that it has on sales and marketing, a fact that has not helped its profile in the marketplace.

Vendor Strengths

  • Broad product suite with advanced features: In iCollaboration, Adexa has built significantly on its original Pacemaker suite, adding product lifecycle management, extended enterprise planning, and collaboration. Other vendors offer broad suites, but Adexa's is the only one that was built from the ground up on a single data model. A host of third party software alliances further extend its applications into electronic procurement, order management, warehouse management, transportation management, and data warehousing.

  • Strong vision for expanding supply chain management to multi-enterprise collaboration: Adexa has no plans to peddle Internet trading marketplaces and focuses instead on providing the collaborative decision support capabilities that marketplaces need to fulfill orders effectively. Adexa's vision involves not merely giving customers and suppliers access to iCollaboration via a web browser, but more importantly delivering advanced planning features geared specifically for business-to-business collaboration. The company is also working on intelligent agent technology to automate B2B transactions to improve speed and reduce the level of human intervention.

  • Excellent growth: Some of Adexa's growth comes in many cases as a result of being the second choice, acquired by clients who are unsatisfied with their first selection. In instances where Adexa does compete head-to-head with other supply chain management vendors, it often comes out on top due to its ability to demonstrate a working solution.

Vendor Challenges

  • Poor visibility in the supply chain management marketplace: As Paragon Management Systems, Adexa failed to capture significant mind share among top level corporate IT professionals, those vested with the power to make buying decisions. As Adexa, the company hopes to shed this anonymity and take part in more software evaluations.

  • Reliance on small direct sales force: Adexa's direct sales channel is grossly undersized compared to its competition, especially i2. Adexa had 32 quota-carrying salespersons, which made up 14% of its total employees. This compared poorly to the industry average of 22%, not to mention the fact that its competitors have significantly more salespersons in absolute numbers. Adexa has recently made additions to its sales force, but will require more time and training prior to executing to full potential.

  • Lack of capital a barrier to growth: As a private company, Adexa's growth is limited to some extent by the supply of venture capital funding. With the recent decline in software company valuations, private funding will be harder to come by, even for established firms. Although it has accomplished much in terms of product development and alliances, continued growth as a private company may be difficult without significantly diluting its equity base.

Now that we've discussed each of the vendors in our model, let's take a look at some of the other parts of WebTESS.

First, we'll go to the Weigh Criteria section. Do this by clicking on the "weigh criteria" option on the top menu bar.

Weigh Criteria

The weigh criteria screen is used to assign your own customized weights to the selection criteria. Weights represent relative levels of importance for the criteria. Within the decision tree in the left panel, click on any one of the criteria, and its sub criteria will be displayed in the right panel with their respective weights. You can create customized weights by clicking on the colored bars to the right of the criteria.

For the supply chain management model, the weights chosen are based on settings we obtained from past clients and represent a broadly defined standard. Product functionality remains the most important criterion, but is followed closely by service and support. Corporate viability comes next, then product technology and corporate strategy have roughly the same level of importance.

Next, we'll take a look at the vendor ratings. Do this by clicking on the "view ratings" option on the top menu bar.

View Ratings

The view ratings screen displays how the vendors perform across all the criteria defined in the model. You can display comparative ratings by one choice (all the criteria ratings for one vendor are displayed) or by one criterion (all included vendors are rated across the criteria highlighted in the tree in the left panel). To see how one vendor option rates against the criteria, go to the 'view ratings' option on the top menu bar and select the 'one choice for all criteria' option. This brings up a list of all the criteria and shows how the vendor displayed in the 'Option' text box scores. Now - to see a comparison, go again to the 'view ratings' option on the top menu bar and select 'all choices for one criterion.' This lists all vendor options taking part in this selection with their accompanying ratings.

Next, let's see the overall results by bringing up the score card. This is done by clicking on the "score card" option on the top menu bar.

Score Card

The Score Card screen shows both the overall and detailed scores of the selection model choices. The individual choice can be selected from the drop down box below, and its strengths and weaknesses will be displayed on the left. The bottom scoreboard provides detailed comparisons of selected criterion from the left panel. A criterion shows up as a strength if it passes a threshold of 90% percent match and a weakness if it falls below 50%. By expanding the criteria hierarchy to the left, you can drill down into lower levels of the model to do comparisons. The hierarchy can be navigated in exactly the same way as Windows Explorer.

Well, that's a very brief overview of WebTESS and only begins to cover all of its capabilities. It also allows you to create charts and reports and contains a full on-line Help feature. To wrap up, I'll just take a few moments to give you some general pointers on how to use our technology.

Both WebTESS and TESS, the desktop version, offer major advantages if you want to use them for adding to the quality of your own research. Each model is fully documented with comments on the factors and models.

If you want to create a shortlist of vendors because there are some criteria that are really critical to you, look through the model and click on those criteria. You can shortlist the vendors quickly that way, and then run through the rest of the model with those selected vendors.

I should add that our desktop product TESS is also available and you can contact our sales department concerning TESS and model licensing.

 
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