Automated collaboration boosts functionality in .net ERP system

Intuitive adds breadth and flexibility to .net-based offering

Intuitive adds breadth and flexibility to .net-based offering

The flurry of merger and acquisition activity among software suppliers continues with Intuitive Manufacturing Systems making two acquisitions: SupplyWorks and Relevant Business Systems. Intuitive supplies .net-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

Both acquisitions should help users of the company’s engineer-to-order, make-to-stock and contract manufacturers products.

SupplyWorks offers a software-as-a-service portal and supply chain management. It also brings Intuitive multilocation supply execution that includes supplier collaboration.

SupplyWorks’ e-commerce and portal-based abilities automate supplier collaboration for the replenishment of direct materials, including automated replenishment signals, advanced shipment notification, track and trace, and supplier performance analytics. The product will be incorporated into Intuitive, but will also continue to be sold as a standalone offering, so SupplyWorks users can keep their current ERP platform.

With Relevant, Intuitive should be able to extend its portfolio with project-based manufacturing, including work breakdown structure and earned value management, to ensure that actual project and contract costs are in line with those projected.

Relevant is the second project manufacturing-based acquisition in the past month aimed at capitalising on government contractor opportunities, following Deltek’s purchase of Welcom. It proves that earned value management is penetrating manufacturing organisations and becoming a nugget of functionality that ERP suppliers are being called on to deliver.

Relevant also brings tools for managing maintenance, repair and overhaul environments. Marrying the planning and inventory management of Intuitive’s core product with Relevant’s project-based functionality and SupplyWorks’ procurement functionality could be a compelling offer for some organisations, particularly those seeking tighter control of costs and inventory/material locations.

It is easy to dwell on potential, but what can users expect? Intuitive and its midmarket ERP peers are looking at mergers and acquisitions from the past year in the fight for market share. Too often, cross-selling opportunities seem ripe at the point of an acquisition, but getting beyond simple maintenance fee collection has proved daunting.

For Intuitive, the ultimate measure of success in its acquisitions will be the ability to do the following:

  •  Sell its own enterprise software  products into existing SupplyWorks and Relevant user companies
  •  Attract new users
  •  Retain and maintain the client bases from both acquisitions that choose to remain put with their current configuration.

If it is successful, Intuitive should give other suppliers with products based on Microsoft .net a run for their money.

Existing users should stay close to Intuitive’s integration redesign strategy to ensure it remodels the products in a way that protects their investment. They should look also into the capabilities enabled by the two products that have been added to the Intuitive family.

Simon Jacobson is a research analyst at AMR Research focusing on manufacturing operations. AMR Research analysts Mickey North Rizza and Greg Aimi also contributed to this article

This was last published in May 2006

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