SSA Converges Product Lines

The ERP software maker works to combine its many product lines and expand functionality.

ERP software maker SSA Global Technologies Inc., struggling as many enterprises show less inclination to buy from smaller ERP vendors, is remaking itself and its offerings.

After nine acquisitions in three years—including manufacturing ERP providers Baan Co. and Marcam Solutions Inc.—the company provides basic enterprise resource planning functionality as well as add-on modules for tasks such as supply chain management and CRM (customer relationship management) and is looking to converge its 13 product lines into a cohesive platform.

To this end, Chicago-based SSA is working on several fronts to combine its myriad product lines and provide new functionality. It has started providing common extensions for all its lines. One called SSA Financial Management 2.0 was released in May, and the company is working on unified modules for CRM, PLM (product lifecycle management) and corporate performance management. Eventually, SSA will offer two mainstream lines geared for discrete and process manufacturing, officials said.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read about SSAs plans to standardize all of its applications on IBMs middleware.

The release of the SSA ERP LX suite early next year will further combine the disparate lines. The reworked suite will have a new user interface, human resource management capabilities and an embedded workflow engine.

SSA is looking at modularizing its applications, something it started doing with the release last month of its SSA ERP LN 6.1 suite, which brings together applications from several product lines. The modularization will enable users to mix and match functionality, negating the need to do a major upgrade to install new functionality, officials said.

Taking more of a vertical approach, SSA is creating a library of best-practice business process models—order to cash for the electronics industry—the first of which will be available with the LX release. SSA will add process logic to Version 2.0 of its namesake RFID (radio-frequency identification) product, which is due in the first quarter of next year. "Whats coming are capabilities to take [back-end integration] to a more fine level to track individual items," said Corey Eaves, vice president of solutions management at SSA.

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