An upgrade to Haht Commerce Inc.s demand management software provides the functionality manufactures need to reduce the complexity of coordinating and managing their customer-facing business processes across channels, company officials said.
With Commerce Suite 7.0, which was introduced today, manufacturers can integrate and analyze business processes between partners, distributors and customers through a portal interface.
The upgraded suite builds on the Raleigh, N.C., companys experience working with manufacturers in the chemical, consumer products and discrete manufacturing verticals.
In terms of functionality, the upgraded suite covers four specific areas: product and brand information management, order management, customer services and business intelligence.
The Product & Brand Information Management Suite centralizes control and automates the distribution of product and brand information – things like pictures and descriptions – across business channels. Upgraded functionality for content workflow, high-volume e-mail campaigns, catalog search capabilities, contact list management and content syndication also is included.
The Order Management app automates order-related business processes. What this boils down to is delivery tracking and the ability to view invoices from orders in PDF format. It also offers native support for wireless devices running Palm or Pocket PC handheld operating systems.
The Customer Services application offers on-demand post-order support, including payment and credit limit verification and invoice listing. Other features include an invoice-searching capability and return order creation.
Lastly, the Business Intelligence app analyzes transactional and behavioral information gathered from the Web, service desk and sales force inputs and reports operational performance, financial data and marketing effectiveness.
The suite also provides out-of-the-box integration with SAP AG and J.D. Edwards & Co. ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems. Hahts customers, which include Minolta Co. Ltd., Chevron, Arch Chemical Inc. and Pfizer Inc., rely heavily on ERP systems and use Hahts technology to provide customers and partners with access to their order management systems, through the portal interface.
Haht competes primarily with Click Commerce Inc. and Comergent Technologies Inc. – though it also competes with its clients biggest ERP vendor, SAP, with its Internet sales product.
Rowland Archer, Hahts chief technology officer, sees more collaborative back-end technologies as one of the next emerging areas for manufacturers in the demand chain planning space. For example, Archer is seeing more manufacturers ask for ways to have their ERP systems communicate closer with partners and suppliers back-end systems.
Archer is also seeing a greater demand for increased functionality with analytics apps. He said manufacturers are now saying they want to be able to analyze information from disparate places and be able to project information forward.
To that end, Haht is working on increased analytics functionality in its next major upgrade of its Commerce Suite, expected sometime next year.