TEC Industry Watch: Enterprise Software News for the Week of June 11, 2012

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Jeanswest selects Manhattan Associates
Industry tags: Fashion/retail
"Manhattan Associates once again shows the strength of its SCALE platform; Jeanswest was in much need of a supply chain solution that could help them streamline logistics across and between three continents. Jeanswest will now be able to better manage its operations across its branded stores and distribution center, while establishing a more efficient framework to support its extended supply chain."—Philippe Reney, TEC Research Analyst

Another instance of UNIT4-based ERP shared service goes live for several UK local authorities
Industry tags: Public administration and defense
"Since I am already a bit familiar with UNIT4’s shared-services projects and have spoken to few key people from client’s side, I realize how challenging they can be. The issues have less to do with the technology (which is impressive), or the hardware, than with challenges that are internal to the clients themselves, whether it be political/economic hurdles, or even end users’ and top management’s psychological readiness to use shared back-office software. In view of all this, my congratulations to UNIT4’s team and, certainly, to the local authorities in the UK that made this project a reality."—Aleksey Osintsev, TEC Research Analyst

Standby Screw Machine Products Co. replaces five old systems with IQMS ERP
Industry tags: Manufacturing
This contract parts company, which owns two manufacturing facilities in the US and China, will replace its five disparate and aged applications with a single modern system that should help it consolidate all company data and eliminate difficulties caused by multiple systems. Another consideration was that the company wanted to acquire industry-specific ERP software that included industry best practices. Among eight vendors, IQMS was judged by Standby Screw Machine as offering the best fit for its needs."—Aleksey Osintsev, TEC Research Analyst



OpenText acquires cloud-based messaging company EasyLink
Industry tags: cross-industry
"OpenText has announced that it has agreed to acquire EasyLink. EasyLink provides a variety of document and communication integration services, including EDI, fax, secure e-mail and managed file transfer, and multi-channel messaging (such as SMS, voice, or e-mail). Clients in industries served by EasyLink (such as insurance and health care) ought to see a fit with OpenText’s existing scope of offerings, which include its capture abilities and case management solutions."—Josh Chalifour, TEC's Director of Knowledge Services

QAD acquires DynaSys S.A. Supply Chain Planning Solution Provider
Industry tags: Food & beverage, consumer packaged goods, health care (pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and cosmetics), apparel, luxury, retail
"Based on QAD’s history of acquisitions, QAD typically acquires a Progress Software technology-based tuck-in product, and often from a longstanding partner. I don't see either trait in this acquisition, but nonetheless at first glance, DynaSys appears to be a good functional, industry, and geographic fit for QAD. DynaSys has been a partner of Preactor, which QAD occasionally uses for advanced planning and scheduling (APS). This acquisition brings best-of-breed supply chain planning (SCP) and network inventory optimization (IO) capabilities for QAD that resemble those of, say, Logility."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

Descartes acquires Infodis BV
Industry tags: Logistics, TMS, cross-industry
"Descartes continues with another in its slew of tuck-in acquisitions—painstaking as it is, this is really the only way to master global logistics expertise and deliver solutions that help its customers make and receive shipments. There is still a lot of room for improvement in terms of geographies (knowledge of local carrier and freight forwarder landscape), languages, duty and tax regulations, accounting practices, and even industry languages (vernaculars, data interchange standards, etc.).

In addition, some emerging markets have many unsophisticated suppliers that still use fax and snail mail for communication (e.g., South Africa), whereas in Brazil tax calculation is a "sport" of sorts. Via Infodis, a Netherlands-based provider of transportation management software, Descartes will bring in more than 200 carriers in Europe and Asia; some of the world’s leading high-tech companies will be connected to Descartes' logistics technology platform, where more than 35,000 trading partners connect and collaborate to improve logistics operations. The deal is an inexpensive way for Descartes to add Asia Pacific customers, a place where it has minimal footprint (only about 6 percent of revenues)."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

Apax Funds to sell Plex Systems, Inc. to Francisco Partners
Industry tags: automotive, metal forming, A&D, food & beverage, hi-tech
"While Plex has been growing well and profitably, it apparently wasn’t good enough (or in any case, it wasn't growing at the stellar rates of, say, SuccesFactors, Workday, and NetSuite) for a successful IPO (as initially desired). But this change of ownership should not change Plex much in the short-to-medium term. Apax had held its share of the company for six years, which is about the end of a typical lifecycle for a private equity firm. The firm had also leveraged Plex to a small degree, which gave a very nice ROI. Having met their investment goals with their investment, the investors were looking for a way to cash out.

Francisco saw this as a great opportunity to make a bet in the cloud ERP market, but with no dramatic changes in company strategy. The new owners want Plex to grow faster, while remaining a standalone company. They are likely to help Plex from a financing point of view, possibly with partner recruiting, and potentially with technology acquisitions. But for now the day-to-day life isn't going to change much. Francisco does have some history of "flipping" companies, such as RedPrairie  and Mincom, but those companies were sold to good new buyers."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

SAS releases version 5.1 of SAS Demand-Driven Forecasting
Industry tags: SCP, BI, CPG, high-tech, pharma, telecommunications, transportation, retail
"SAS Demand-Driven Forecasting (DDF) has been a solution for over four years, and the vendor has sold over 40 DDF licenses globally across all industry verticals (e.g., CPG, high tech manufacturers, transportation, pharma, telecommunications, and more). The current release is not a new product, but has a new user interface (UI) and new functionality.

SAS DDF also has a new product forecasting workbench that uses a patent-pending "Structured Judgment" approach that uses characteristics/attributes of the new product to find surrogate products via data mining techniques. Then, it uses domain knowledge to fine-tune the surrogate panel of surrogate data based on product segmentation and clustering, to finally use statistical forecasting methods to forecast the new product. Last but not least, SAS DDF comes with a Consensus Forecasting Workbench that uses Microsoft Excel as the interface and uses real workflow to create a consensus forecast based on demand shaping activities."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

Kenesto 2012 now generally available
Industry tags: hi-tech, industrial machinery, automotive
"The novel business process automation (BPA) solution Kenesto began its current strategy in early 2011, with the mission to develop a process system that anyone could use and everyone would love. In just over a year, the company has established development offices in Tel Aviv, Israel and HQ in Waltham, MA. The product is in beta with several customers, and the company is building a reseller channel.

Kenesto is typically used for cross-departmental processes, many of which often begin in the R&D or engineering departments because the processes are product-based. Examples are things like engineering change orders (ECO), product bid and pricing work, and product service and quality (CAPA) processes. Kenesto makes no demand that people change what they are doing and how they are doing it. Instead, Kenesto offers to document what is going on, track it, provide a permanent record of what transpired, report on what happened or is happening, and, most importantly, allow individuals to determine how this specific instance of work should be handled.

Kenesto has adopted the modalities people use today—"attaching to email," "forwarding to the next person," "resending to someone" to infer the process flow. You don't model, then execute, as in a full-fledged (complex) BPM system. You simply do what you would have done elsewhere in Kenesto and by involving others, execute the process.

In some more avant-garde and less rigid and regulated environments Kenesto could work if the users would indeed start using it straight away and collaborate with suppliers, quality folks, manufacturing, etc. But the vendor will have to fine-tune its message and espouse a clear differentiation from cloud BPM, social media, file sharing, and/or project management tools (e.g., Appian, Vuuch, Dropbox, Sopheon, etc.), all of whom can claim similar capabilities."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

HighJump Software releases updated mobile presales application for direct store delivery (DSD) businesses
Industry tags: Retail
"This release is good news for DSD suppliers looking to rationalize the hardware used by their sales force, as they will be able to install the HighJump solution on PC hardware such as laptops, tablets, or desktops. We can perhaps look forward to a possible extension to iOS or Android in the future, as these are the platforms that are driving the mobile market."—Philippe Reney, TEC Research Analyst

Kronos launches SaaS Workforce Management Suite
Industry tags: Cross-industry
"The new product is named Workforce Ready, and derives from the acquisition of SaaShr, completed by Kronos in March. The solution focuses on SMBs and is provided as a multi-tenant SaaS offering. It provides functionality specific to workforce management for SMBs: time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, payroll, HR, hiring, and labor analytics. Though there is no lack of SaaS HR solutions in the market, Workforce Ready differentiates itself by allowing companies to use only what they need and pay for it accordingly, based on per-employee, per-month pricing (on top of the fixed implementation price)."—Gabriel Gheorghiu, TEC Research Analyst

SuccessFactors launches new social collaboration and mobile tools
Industry tags: Cross-industry
"SuccessFactors has enhanced its interface for its Business Execution (BizX) Suite, and has also added collaboration and mobile features. As far as the new features are concerned, Touchbase can be used by mobile users to stay in the loop with others and stay in touch even when not in the office. The tools also provide new interesting features for social and mobile learning that make it easier for learners to combine formal and informal learning, and benefit from both. SuccessFactors, an SAP company, is obviously committed to adapting to the latest trends in technology, but the main question is how existing and future functionality will be integrated with other SAP products, or provided with SAP packages like SAP All-in-One."—Gabriel Gheorghiu, TEC Research Analyst
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