Posts Tagged ‘ERP’

Customer, Lawson Software, Hosting Provider in Legal Dustup Over ERP Project

October 18th, 2011

Health-care business services provider MedSynergies has sued Lawson Software and hosting company Velocity Technology Solutions over a rash of alleged problems with an ERP application project, but Lawson and Velocity say MedSynergies is just trying to get out of a contract it inherited through an acquisition.

Lawson and Velocity perpetrated a “flim-flam” against MedSynergies, according to a complaint filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Lawson and Velocity “conspired to lure plaintiffs into onerous, long-term software, hosting and services contracts and then simply failed to perform,” the complaint said. “When their software did not work, defendants piled up the services, charging hundreds of thousands of dollars in ‘consulting fees’ to fix the problems they themselves created.”

But the software still doesn’t work, leading MedSynergies to file suit in order to recoup its money, the filing added.

The project dates to 2008, when MedSynergies’ PhyServe subsidiary sought to replace its human-resources software, and Lawson was one of the vendors in the running, according to the filing. Lawson told the company that it and Velocity could complete the implementation in six months, “despite the fact that a ’standard’ Lawson implementation takes twelve to eighteen months,” the complaint said.

PhyServe “relied on Lawson’s and Velocity’s statements and marketing materials and accepted Lawson’s bid with little negotiation,” signing deals with both in October 2008, the complaint added.

The work was supposed to start immediately, with a system “go-live” date of April 2009, but those plans quickly went awry, as Velocity and Lawson didn’t get started until March, according to the complaint. In addition, PhyServe’s existing Ceridian human-resources system was supposed to be run in parallel with Lawson for a while in order to work out any kinks.

“This did not happen,” the complaint said. “Instead, Lawson and Velocity merely ran a number of mock payrolls, which could only show whether the software ran rather than whether it ran properly.”

MedSynergies didn’t learn of the problems until shortly after it purchased PhyServe in December 2010, according to the complaint. The system “simply [does] not work,” it said. The alleged problems include erroneous tax forms, “consistently wrong” retirement plan information and payroll records that “never match expected accounting records.”

Meanwhile, consulting fees have added up to “substantially more” than the US$1.1 million initially promised, “and have provided no benefits,” it said.

Moreover, one Lawson consultant allegedly told MedSynergies that the project was not fixable and would have to be scrapped and re-implemented.

But Lawson and Velocity have filed motions that would stay the suit and order the claims be settled through arbitration.

MedSynergies’ case is “dependent on concocted allegations and frivolous causes of action,” Velocity said in an Oct. 11 filing.

“For years, PhyServe was satisfied with the service provided by Velocity, using the software regularly and even purchasing optional upgrades and additional packages,” the company said. However, after MedSynergies bought PhyServe, it sought to “transition the remaining PhyServe employees who had been responsible for working with the Velocity-managed systems to existing MedSynergies systems, and it now desires to exit the contract with Velocity without paying the mandatory termination fee.”

While Velocity is prepared to defend itself in “the proper forum,” that would not be a federal lawsuit, as its contract with MedSynergies contains “a sweeping arbitration clause,” it added.

Lawson made similar statements in filings made last week.

“We believe this lawsuit has no merit and we will vigorously defend our position through the proper legal channels,” Lawson spokesman Joe Thornton said via e-mail on Monday.

A representative for Velocity didn’t immediately respond to a request for additional comment.

This is far from the only ERP project to end up in court of late, with vendors including Oracle, SAP and Epicor, among others, involved in various disputes.

Sometimes, vendors can suffer unfairly, said one expert.

“In private moments, enterprise software executives will complain about the damage done to their brand reputation as a result of poor implementation services by third parties,” said Michael Krigsman, CEO of Asuret, a firm that helps companies run successful IT projects. “This case provides a concrete example of that allegedly happening.”

However, the case is not that clear-cut because both Lawson and Velocity allegedly made certain claims about what the customer could expect, he added.

In general, problems can be avoided by making sure the right expectations are set, according to analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. “Before you select a vendor, we recommend clients work out the use cases they expect the software to support ahead of time,” he said. “This blueprinting phase is key to success and helps outline the roles, responsibilities and corrective action in order to create a successful project.”


ERP Software Could Drive Opportunities for Third-Party Support Providers

August 16th, 2011

The demand for ERP software solutions has grown over the last few years as the global economy continues to try and recover. While some companies are launching on-site solutions, others are leveraging hosted ERP software platforms. According to new data captured by Constellation Research, a growing number of users are investigating the potential of jumping to a third-party support provider.

This information was shared in a recent Computer World report. Of the 244 individuals participating in the Constellation Research survey, more than half – or 57 percent – indicated interest in third-party support. In last year’s study, only 42 percent had indicated an interest and less than 20 percent indicated an interest in 2009, according to Ray Wang, CEO for Constellation Research.

During an ERP software webcast sponsored by Rimini Street, a company that supports Oracle and SAP (News – Alert) applications, Wang shared key information from the report, including the fact that more than 90 percent of respondents interested in investigating a switch are doing so as a result of cost pressures. Another 80 percent have expressed their dissatisfaction with the support value they are receiving from their vendors.

These figures could be disturbing for ERP software providers such as Oracle and SAP, simply because these companies drive a great deal of revenue and profits from the maintenance fees they charge their ERP software customers. Such companies tend to pay Oracle and SAP for a year in exchange for technical support and product upgrades.

While companies such as Rimini Street cannot provide upgrades for the ERP software, they can offer customer effective hands-on help. In fact, this provider promises that their support, regulatory updates, customization work and tweaks are more effective than those offered by the vendors.

Wang highlighted that most ERP implementations were installed prior to Y2K. Now, companies are feeling the pinch and moving quickly to update their ERP software implementations. The challenge for providers in this space is the fact that many of these companies leveraged great deals on software licenses at the time of implementation. Such systems have now turned into expensive shelfware, according to Wang.

Companies are also dealing with the increasing demands from users for consumer-like experiences and tools. Enterprises are increasingly feeling the pressure to do something more with their SAP and Oracle backbones. Money could be saved by moving to a third-party support provider, which could free up cash for needed add-on products.

As the demand for ERP software continues to increase, there will be battle over customer spend. Those companies offering the best value for the investment are likely to lead the pack.


SAP Hopes Software Test-drives Lead to ERP Success

May 3rd, 2011

SAP is hoping to make customers’ ERP (enterprise resource planning) projects more successful with a tool that can visualize the application’s ultimate look and feel without having to write code, the company said Monday.

SAP has signed a global reseller agreement with iRise and will sell its software under the name SAP Application Visualization, according to a statement. The pact builds upon the companies’ existing partnership.

Traditional methods of documenting business requirements for SAP projects — such as spreadsheets, text files and flowchart diagrams — haven’t changed much in the past 20 years, and are “nearly impossible” for business users to decipher, according to iRise. Further, business users often don’t know what they want out of the software until they can interact with it, the company said.

The visualizations provided by iRise mean users get their hands — albeit virtually — on the software much earlier, according to the company. This can save customers money by cutting down on application rewrites as well as simplifying training and “change management” activities.

“iRise simulations are so close to the final applications that people cannot tell the difference between the two,” the company’s site claims. The visualizations can be easily assembled even by non-technical employees, it adds.

Visualizations can be published for viewing by various workers, as well as delivered in a password-protected file.

Electric utility National Grid recently conducted a pilot program with the iRise software, and after “overwhelmingly positive” responses from users, now plans to adopt it as a standard tool for project delivery, global CIO David Lister said in a statement supplied by SAP.

If visualization tools live up to their promise, over time they might help lower the number of ERP project failures, which have long been a bogeyman for SAP and many other vendors.

The use of such software for ERP is definitely on the upswing, according to Forrester Research analyst China Martens.

For one, there’s “a stronger push to try and get implementations right from the get-go, by getting a wider group of staff within a company involved in the early stages of design and piloting,” she said via e-mail.

ERP software also “remains too hard to use and often opaque in terms of process flow,” she added. Visualization tools can help customers work out the kinks.

Tools like iRise may also come in handy throughout an ERP application’s lifecycle, not just development and testing, such as when companies plan major upgrades or decide to alter the focus of their deployments, according to Martens.

But SAP customers have to decide whether the iRise software, which is being marketed as a “solution extension” and thus not included with annual maintenance fees, will be worth the additional money, said Jon Reed, an independent analyst who closely tracks SAP.

The benefits would probably be greatest for pure SAP shops, he said. “If you’re using SAP a little more selectively, then I think this tool is a little less useful.”


R & D Metal Fabricators Implements MIETrak ERP Software In Weeks

April 13th, 2011

R & D Metal Fabricators has recently acquired the MIE Trak ERP Production control software and has begun implementing it in their day to day operations. Production tracking helps to enhance one’s business by letting you know about the intricacies of what is going on and being able to accurately track production. Mie also makes production planning, scheduling, and planning software that can help with these kinds of needs.

MIE Solutions is one of the leading providers of software solutions. MIE Solutions specializes in quoting and estimating job costs. This includes preventative maintenance as well as document and file management as well as machine shop fabrication and sheet metal software.

MIE Trak is an easy to operate program that can help customers increase their profits without increasing their overhead. It is essential to integrate all of the processes of a fabrication business in order to be more productive. This has been shown to increase profits in job shops and has proven itself a versatile and modern solution that has benefited many fabrication companies.

R & D Metal Fabricators Inc. (located at is located in Huntington Beach California. They have been doing business in and around the orange County area beginning in 1972.

Tracking software as well as scheduling software has started to make their way into the mainstream and are becoming a new industry standard. The reasoning behind this is that in the most simplistic terms, it works. It is estimated that in the not too distant future that ERP manufacturing software is going to be required in order to stay competitive.

This software includes order entry as well as purchasing scheduling and helps to automate business so you can spend your time on more important matters. This is all encompassing and can take care of accounting and invoicing in order to make your life a whole lot easier.


Mid-size firms ‘seeking more flexible ERP software systems’

April 13th, 2011

Medium-sized businesses are increasingly prioritising issues such as flexibility and nimbleness when purchasing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

This is according to John Brand, vice president of research at analyst Springboard Research, who told ZDNet Asia that customer perception of ERP systems has changed in the last 20 years.

Whereas in the past centralisation and deduplication were the main drivers of ERP software take-up, mid-size companies are now pursuing implementation strategies that focus on business intelligence, reporting and analytics.

“These strategies enable companies to have a more comprehensive view of the combined organisational structure, but without the additional complexity of transforming and filtering data within an ERP environment,” he reasoned.

Mr Brand added that more and more companies will be utilising this flexibility-centric approach to ERP in the coming years, with the “progressive [and] less risk-adverse” businesses leading the charge.

Earlier this month, Jane Thomson of IT firm Softworx noted that ERP software solutions are becoming more diverse in nature, with companies increasingly choosing to invest in cloud-based or two-tier setups.


SaaS-based ERP software ‘growing in popularity’

April 12th, 2011

More and more companies are using software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology as a means of delivering enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.

A new report from market analyst TechNavio suggests that demand for SaaS-based applications on the whole is rising, a trend that is also being reflected in the ERP software sector.

According to the organisation, SaaS-based ERP systems are becoming seen as a cost-effective option by businesses of all sizes, providing them with on-demand access to utilities without the need for on-site hosting and updating.

Some companies find that this arrangement allows them to operate more flexibly, helping them to maintain their focus on core business areas.

The report added: “Moreover, the businesses can easily meet the fluctuating demands through this model.”

Last week, Softworx managing director Jane Thomson stated that many companies are looking into more diverse ERP setups, considering options such as cloud-based services and two-tier infrastructures to meet their business needs.


Lawson adds ERP app customisation and BI software store

April 6th, 2011

Lawson software has announced major upgrades to its enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business intelligence (BI) software, including easier customisation and development of applications and an online marketplace for add-on software.

A new analytic application builder, dubbed ViewPoint, lets users build their own custom dashboards, pulling in multiple information databases and then displaying the results in a format they prefer. Support to allow for the easy addition of collaborative working tools, like discussion boards, is also included.

“ViewPoint blends the user productivity aspects of Lawson Smart Office with the analytic capabilities of Lawson Business Intelligence, while helping to simplify and enhance the overall user experience,” said Lee Kilmer, director of product management for Lawson.

“Users can easily collaborate with others in the organization, which helps bring more meaning and context to data and reports. All of this can help lead to more effective use of data, better decisions and cost savings.”

Customisation has been extended further with Mashup Designer, a tool to allow users to build their own miniature applications. This is currently available to users of Lawson’s M3 enterprise management system, but will be rolled out to other platforms later in the year.

Finally the company has started Lawson Marketplace; an application store with over 180 applications for use with its software. All the software currently available in the store is developed by Lawson, but the company said it was looking for partners to develop software for sale in the future.

“Think of this in terms of the consumer-oriented online application stores that we’ve all become accustomed to using,” said Matthew Allbee, product director for Lawson.

“The items available for purchase help address some of the very specific day-to-day activities of a software user and present better ways of doing things. Many are low-cost or even free and can be downloaded and used right away.”


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