In early October Wonderware, a division of Invensys, announced
to employees and customers that it was significantly cutting the headcount
and discontinuing marketing and sales efforts for the PRISM and
Protean product lines. These products, part of the acquisition
of Marcam Corporation in 1999, address the ERP needs of
process companies with the majority of the install base being in the food
or chemical business.
approximately 400 people, Wonderware will cut headcount to fewer
than 100 people over the next six to twelve months. Most of the remaining
people will be in product support for the PRISM product, which
will remain in a maintenance only mode. Wonderware committed to
deliver the next scheduled release of Protean (Release 3.2) with
a planned delivery of March 2001. However, customers were told that they
should not expect further releases of Protean beyond release 3.2.
Wonderware has put in place an impressive retention program to
insure the required people will remain in place to deliver on the committed
3.2 release of Protean.
with internal and customer announcements, Wonderware told the prospective
buyers in several active Protean sales cycles that they were withdrawing
Protean from further consideration in the marketplace.
has told employees and others that they will begin to transition Protean
functionality to the Baan product line. Wonderware/Baan
has stated that this product, to be called Baan Process,
is targeted for 2002. Baan Process is planned to interface
with Baan's complementary products such as Baan Supply
Chain, Baan Front Office, Baan E-Enterprise,
Baan Business Intelligence, Baan Finance,
and Baan Procurement. Baan has stated that they will
provide a set of tools to help customers migrate from Protean to
Baan Process, upon release.
Baan tool set and discrete manufacturing models were part of the
Invensys acquisition of Baan in the spring of 2000.
the withdrawal of these products from consideration, the market for Process
ERP products from vendors dedicated exclusively to that market has shrunk
to very few options. This move, combined with the recent financial problems
at Ross Systems, means that only SCT of Malvern,
PA is left as a healthy Process-only vendor. Several non-process vendors
do offer versions of their products that are aimed at the needs of process
companies; these include J.D. Edwards, QAD, and SAP.
the PRISM and Protean products had not been selling well
in the marketplace, the large installed base means that vendors with systems
that address the needs of the process market will have increased opportunities
over the next one to two years.
Process companies who are currently using the PRISM or Protean
products from Wonderware should assume that support will continue
on a somewhat reduced level for the near term. PRISM users should
question Wonderware on the value of on-going maintenance payments.
PRISM has proven to be a stable product over recent years, therefore,
PRISM users should assume they would not be forced into changing
ERP systems. Prudent PRISM users will expand their search for a
replacement product beyond that are proposed by Wonderware.
users should assume that their medium to long-term situation is tenuous
and should actively evaluate replacement products in the near term. The
transition from Protean to Baan Process is an option
that should be evaluated as well as alternative products.
Wonderware has indicated that they will transition Protean
to Baan Process to address the process market, we are reminded
that Baan attempted to enter the process market with the same add-on
strategy but abandoned the effort for undisclosed reasons. Customers have
been told that Wonderware will offer PRISM or Protean
customers financial incentives to move to the Baan Process
this product is brought to market on the current schedule of 2002, will
it provide an adequate transition path for the existing users? Will the
Baan tools, developed in the early 90's provide the technology
required today and in tomorrow's environment? Will the approach of adding
process functionality to the Baan discrete manufacturing modules
prove to be competitive with solutions from process-only vendors or attractive
to current PRISM and Protean customers? Users should question
Wonderware on their future options and investigate alternative
solutions now to fully understand their situation and options.
companies considering a new ERP system should be wary of the Wonderware/Baan
offerings. They are urged to evaluate from both the process-only (SCT,
Ross) and non-process (including J.D. Edwards, QAD,
and SAP) ERP providers to determine if these systems fit their
specific needs. Special attention is required in looking at both the process
and the non-process vendors to ascertain the fit of the product to the
unique supply chain and production management needs of the specific process
industry and company (see What
Makes Process Process).