Microsofts emerging enterprise resource planning (ERP) lineup already contains some supply chain management (SCM) functionality, but ISV partner Prescient this week unveiled a deal to sell its own SCM software to resellers and end users through Vis.align.
Microsoft Corp.s ERP customers now deploying Prescient Applied Intelligence Inc.s SCM solution range from food giant Tropicana Inc. to a nationwide video-game distributor called SVG Distribution.
As some enterprise and SMB customers see it, Prescients software provides a range of SCM capabilities not yet present in Axapta or any of Microsofts three other ERP products, said Bob Bell, vice president at Vis.align Inc., during an interview with eWEEK.com.
Beyond Tropicana and SVG, other Microsoft ERP users that have purchased Prescients SCM software include Procter & Gamble spinoff Sunny Delight; Rhodes International, a maker of frozen bread products; and private-label juice manufacturer Cliffstar Corp.
The agreement announced this week gives Vis.align, a major distributor and reseller for Microsoft, exclusive rights to sell Prescients software to other resellers in the Microsoft Business Solutions Channel, said Prescient CFO Stan Szczygiel, also during the interview.
Yet Microsoft officials have been very supportive of the deal between Prescient and Vis.align, according to Bell and Szczygiel.
Microsofts current ERP products include Axapta, Navision, Great Plains and Solomon. All four were obtained through acquisitions.
Axapta and Navision, for instance, already contain some SCM features, but Microsoft does not produce any software specifically geared toward SCM.
Sunny Delight, an Axapta customer, turned to Prescients software out of a need for supply chain planning capabilities that arent yet available in Axapta, Bell said.
For Tropicana, Prescients VMI (vendor-managed inventory) functionality was a big drawing card, he said.
Rhodes International uses Microsofts Navision ERP software, while SVG is a Great Plains customer.
Last summer, Microsoft announced a 4.0 update for Axapta, but in January, the originally announced 2005 ship date for Axapta 4.0 got pushed back to early 2006.
The final release of Axapta 4.0 is now expected to include additional features in the areas of SCM, as well as RFID integration; CRM (customer relationship management); financial and HR (human resources) management, and integration with BizTalk Server and some other Microsoft .NET servers.
Meanwhile, also this week, Microsoft announced that it has purchased ERP Complete—an implementation tool designed to make Axapta deployment quicker and less expensive—from Entegrate Software LLC.
Navision is another Microsoft ERP product slated for a new update. But Navision 4.0, the first release of the product since its purchase by Microsoft in 2002, contains a number of new SCM-oriented features, ranging from order-by-order planning workflow for manufacturers to Business Notification, a capability aimed at improving communications with suppliers, customers and employers.