TEC Industry Watch: Enterprise Software News for the Week of August 13, 2012

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Swiss investment bank UBS selects cloud-based Oracle’s Fusion Human Capital Management
Industry tags: Finance and Banking
"With extensive worldwide operations, UBS provides its clients with wealth management, asset management, and investment and (in Switzerland) retail banking. A cloud-based HCM solution indeed can be a good option, technically. Traditionally there have been concerns revolving around security and data ownership, which is especially the case for a Swiss financial institution. But as a long-term Oracle customer, USB has elected to deploy cloud-based application across all its operations in over 50 countries to cover about 65,000 employees. I believe the vendor’s reputation was another significant factor in this decision."—Aleksey Osintsev, TEC Research Analyst

City of Hayward, California selects Tyler’s Munis ERP
Industry tags: Public Administration and Defense
"Hayward's 25-year-old ERP system was overdue for replacement. The old system cannot meet today’s requirements and lacks much functionality. After scrupulous research and comparison, Hayward settled on the Munis ERP system from Tyler Technologies. The city will deploy multiple modules: financials, HR management, utility billing, content management, and self-service for vendors, clients, and employees. The software vendor will also provide the city with improved everyday business processes in order to increase overall service levels for Hayward residents."—Aleksey Osintsev, TEC Research Analyst

Kimberly-Clark Professional selects PROS Pricing to support sales
Industry tags: manufacturer of tissues, personal care, and health care products
"Apparently, PROS’ SAP integration capabilities were very important to the manufacturer (a SAP ERP user), as was the vendor’s pricing data science. To increase revenue via optimized pricing was the driving factor here. In addition, PROS has a lot of experience in the paper industry, and it understood the client’s business. The parties were reportedly quite sincere while talking about the project team too. In general, PROS very much promotes a partnership approach, as evidenced by its over 96% renewal rates."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

Covance selects Oracle Primavera
Industry tags:  life sciences, project portfolio management
"Covance Inc, a life sciences company based in Princeton, NJ, with over 11,000 employees, has implemented Oracle Primavera to support the IT department’s federated project management organizations (PMO) model, standardize portfolio governance, and support staged-gate review processes. Covance’s IT department has multiple PMOs to support varying business units, yet required centralized process and tools. Other benefits of the implementation included doubling the number of project reviews per gate meeting, and a nearly 100% paperless portfolio review processes. The Oracle Primavera solution is one of the most powerful, mature, and supported product suites in the growing sea of EEPM, PPM, and PM solutions. Any PMO organization looking for project portfolio management solutions should have Oracle Primavera on their short list."—Ted Rohm, TEC Research Analyst

CP Lotus upgrading to latest version of Jesta I.S. Vision Merchandising solution
Industry tags: apparel and footwear and soft goods retailers, manufacturers, and importers
"Jesta I.S. Vision Suite software is geared toward retailers, manufacturers, and distributors in the apparel, footwear, and soft goods industries. The suite consists of near real-time Web-based applications that are designed to help manage business processes in the areas of merchandising, merchandize lifecycle management (MLM), planning, supply chain management (SCM), and warehouse management, as well as financial management and analytics. In other words, Jesta is a well-rounded, reasonably priced, and high-touch customer care alternative offering to Epicor Retail, SAP, Oracle, etc., for fashion retailers and their suppliers. Jesta clients include DSW, Genesco, Perry Ellis, Puma, and Marine Corps Exchange (MCX)."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst



Infor acquires Group Laurier to expand services to distribution industry
Industry tags: wholesale distribution
"Rather than blockbuster acquisitions, I think most of the future acquisitions at Infor (and in the market in general) will be in the realm of technology (vendors for small mobile, cloud, analytics, etc.), regional growth (service providers or installed bases), or solutions that fill holes in broad enterprise software portfolios. To that end, the acquisition of Group Laurier is a practical business transaction for Infor that creates new opportunity in Canada, adding strong consulting resources in Canada and specific expertise in the French Canadian market. In addition, Group Laurier has completed all French Canadian localizations and translations for Infor10 Distribution (SX.e). The only slight question mark might be whether Infor’s recently proclaimed partner program, Infor Partner Network (IPN), is performing as hoped, and why Infor needs to own more channel partners. To jump-start sales of some products, some VPs of sales might prefer to own the direct sales people. In any case, this is not a really big issue or change."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

RedPrairie Corporation acquires Vortex Connect
Industry tags:  mobile workforce management, cross industry, supply chain management
"RedPrairie, provider of best-of-breed supply chain, workforce, and all-channel retail solutions, has announced the acquisition of mobile workforce vendor Vortex Connect. The Vortex Connect product line provides a fully mobile-enabled suite of solutions for employee scheduling, time-tracking, shift management, and operational B2E communications. The Vortex solutions will be integrated with RedPrairie’s enterprise workforce management (EWFM) solutions. The acquisition is in keeping with RedPrairie’s vision of meeting its customers’ current and future demands with multiple delivery options, flexible architecture, and 24/7 technical and customer support. RedPrairie will leverage the acquisition to establish a Mobility Center of Excellence (COE) in Toronto."—Ted Rohm, TEC Research Analyst

SaaS payment option for Sage ERP X3 available to US customers starting October 2012
Industry tags: cross-industry
"Sage North America has unveiled its plans to begin offering Sage ERP X3 functionality on demand for its US customers, with version v.6.5. This model will be based on a fixed price paid per user per month ($115 is promised as a baseline), meaning that more small and medium companies with limited financial capabilities will have access to modern ERP software functionality. Within this trend of switching over to the subscription payment model, Sage has already made its other ERP products available, but X3 is its largest solution for enterprise-class businesses. Sage’s news release does not disclose whether existing customers will be offered this payment option or not."—Aleksey Osintsev, TEC Research Analyst

SAP announces CRM Rapid Deployment solution for citizen contact centers
Industry tags:  public administration, public sector
"SAP AG has announced the release of another rapid-deployment solution. The latest rapid-deployment solution is CRM for government citizen contact centers. SAP’s rapid-deployment solutions cover key process areas such as human resources, financials, sales and marketing, mobile, and cloud, and are loaded with pre-configured software, content, and services tailored to specific business needs. SAP states that the average timeframe for a typical rapid-deployment solution is less than 90 days. Fixed scope and costs are other great benefits of these solutions. For companies looking to expand on their SAP investment or who taking the leap into SAP, these solutions are definitely worth looking into."—Ted Rohm, TEC Research Analyst

Apriso extends FlexNet Quality with Visual Quality Defect Tracking (vQDT)
Industry tags: MES, A&D, Hi-tech, medical devices, industrial machinery
"This is an expanded capability Aprios is now including with its FlexNet Quality product. The vendor has a couple of customers that required this functionality, so built it for them initially. Now that vQDT has been productized, it will be supported as part of Apriso’s regular maintenance agreement with its customers. At first glance, this doesn't necessarily seem like a big deal... Apriso is already including access to a 3D model of whatever part that a shop floor worker is currently working on at their station. But what makes this valuable is when a quality defect is detected, the worker can then use a mouse and PC to make a specific annotation right on the image of exactly where the defect occurred, as well as including a reason code and description of what the defect was.

Over a period of time, reports can then be run that summarize each of these comments, reason codes, and images, which can then tell a revealing story far more effectively than trying to read a text-only report. This info can then be sent back to the engineering/product design group for far better feedback on how to continuously improve their products. The expression a "picture is worth a 1,000 words" comes into play here, as seeing a scatter image showing all the locations where a defect occurs will far more efficiently communicate a quality issue than trying to describe it in words, especially if the part is complex.

With regard to competitive differentiation, here is where having a platform-based solution for manufacturing operations management pays a nice dividend. As quality can be managed on the same platform as production, process improvement can be easily managed spanning both of these operational areas in one user interface (UI). Repeated quality defects can easily trigger a production process modification, even including alerts to the maintenance team, should an "event" of some sort occur as a production process that might indicate pending machine issues. The interconnected nature of how manufacturing can be managed when done on a platform for all operational areas means response to change and issue resolution can be completed faster."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

Cloud-based Kenesto Business Process Automation (BPA) updated to Kenesto 2012.2
Industry tags: BPM, collaboration, hi-tech, electronics, industrial equipment manufacturing
"Kenesto’s new product release, Kenesto 2012.2, after the nascent offering went into beta and then to its very first release earlier in 2012, demonstrates that the benefits of the cloud aren’t just for lightweight apps like file synching or messaging. The cloud should also benefit users of mission-critical enterprise systems like BPA. Kenesto delivers simplified processes and workflows that purchasing managers, designers, and engineers want as they develop, support, and enhance products, and deliver them into the market. For example, purchasing managers can more easily manage complex request for quotation processes, including all outside suppliers. Critical ECR processes can be tracked and monitored in the cloud. And purchasing managers who prepare bid packages can rapidly assemble and approve everything needed to win intricate bids.

Amid a number of new features in 2012.2, my personal favorite is templates for commonly used processes, which can have two states. In one, a process created from the template can be modified while it’s running. The other template type prohibits this. This option allows Kenesto to fit the wishes of different companies’ policies—some may wish to encourage innovation in processes, and others may wish to lock processes down to a specific flow (structure, say, due to regulated environments).

While Kenesto may have an immediate value prop, I don’t see many long-term barriers to entry by potential competitors. Many other cloud startups have had the doc attachments, business processes, collaboration, and similar features. With all of the available tools sets or BPM solutions, larger vendors, especially Cloud PLM providers, should be able to develop a generic app in not that distant future. As more generic cloud solutions appear, the prices will drop and the ability to make money as well. It is the content, integration, and industry-specific capabilities that are real long-term barriers, and Kenesto should focus on providing these down the track."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

Oracle introduces JD Edwards EnterpriseOne One View Reporting for service management
Industry tags: industrial manufacturing, real estate, construction, asset-intensive industries (oil & gas, utilities, etc.)
"Oracle released JD Edwards EnterpriseOne One View Reporting as new applications/products with the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Release 9.1 in April 2012. Its customers had asked for simple, interactive, graphical, transactional data (not OLAP cubes and full-fledged BI) reports that could be run or personalized by end users without involving IT. One View Reporting initially included One View Foundation and 10 functional reporting products for areas such as Financials, Inventory, Order Management, Procurement, HR, Project Management, etc.

Going forward, Oracle will continue to add new One View Reporting products to build out these reporting solutions over all of its functional product areas. On August 1, 2012, the company released One View Reporting for Service Management, which is not meant as a scheduling/routing tool as Service Orders are being planned and assigned. Rather, it reports on the outcome of those service orders and other information in the following manner:

• One View Reporting for Service Management improves insight across a customer service business to ensure service commitments are being met, visibility is provided to eliminate or reduce backlogs, and service contracts are profitable.
• Users have the choice and flexibility of reporting based on case commitments, contract attributes, and contract profitability.
• They have visibility into equipment usage, status or location history, in addition to reporting on renewal fees associated with licenses and permits.
• Users can evaluate fulfillment of preventative maintenance compared to planning and have insight into completed, overdue and upcoming preventative maintenance schedules.
• Analysis of work orders is available for a myriad of dimensions and attributes such as aging, load, completion timeliness, and estimated vs. actual costs and hours. Planners and supervisors can easily see where work orders are delayed and where efficiencies exist.
• Users can compare work order loads for past periods, and see how incoming rates relate to scheduled loads and completed work orders for each period."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst
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