Industryweek 2087 Blackwell

Software With Broader Goals, Value

April 11, 2005
Solution providers innovate with an enterprise view.

Remember when:

All a product lifecycle management (PLM) vendor wanted to talk about was leveraging design data in engineering.

All that an asset management company was focused on was maintenance issues.

All that ERP companies concentrated on were operational benefits and efficiencies?

That's rapidly changing.

The latest product innovations from leading vendors are emphasizing much more than departmental benefits or mere cost efficiency issues.

For example, PLM provider UGS Corp. is now extolling the value of its solution set in terms of greater enterprise value -- as in manufacturing benefits. The latest example from Plano, Texas-based UGS illustrates how its PLM technology was able to increase production capacity by up to 50% for a Beijing, China-based jet engine maker -- Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine Group. Teamcenter, the UGS PLM solution, also will enable the design work done by Shenyang Aero Engine Research Center to be integrated much more closely with the production work handled by Liming.

To further develop the broader implications for PLM, UGS has acquired Technomatix Technologies Ltd.

Larry Blackwell
CEO, Datastream

In asset management solutions, one example is Datastream Systems Inc.'s partnering with Cognos, a provider of business intelligence solutions. The strategy is to deliver broader, more strategic potential with the combined software suite. The partnership enables Greenville, S.C.-based Datastream to integrate the Cognos ReportNet solution into the new Datastream 7i Advanced Reporting module. That empowers customers to analyze asset data in new ways to gain greater visibility into the costs of operations and the performance of individual assets, explains Datastream's Larry Blackwell, CEO.

Easy corporate-wide access to collected data sold the idea to Holly Corp., Artesia, N. M., says Robert L. Bailey, system administrator. Holly uses a Datastream Web-hosted version of the solution. Adds Blackwell: "This powerful reporting solution enables customers to drill down into the operational data in new ways so they can identify opportunities to improve processes, reduce waste and ultimately, to improve overall corporate performance."

At SAP's user group show in March, the provider of business software solutions addressed more than budgets, operational efficiency and cost cutting. The theme: the challenge of more closely linking technology with business objectives to enable managements to build, change and expand business quickly.

"Our customers and partners have been looking for a practical approach to transforming IT infrastructure into powerful enablers of business agility and change," said Shai Agassi, Product and Technology group president and a board member.

To meet those strategic objectives and help drive differentiation, SAP introduced its Enterprise Services Architecture Adoption Program, says Ori Inbar, vice president product marketing for SAP's NetWeaver. "For the first time SAP is offering one platform that runs its standard processes -- ERP, supply chain, logistics and financial systems -- that also can be used to develop custom processes." The value: Customers now can leverage their existing solutions and recompose or rewire them into a new process.

For Bombardier Aerospace, a SAP customer, the big advantage is the ability to leverage existing business software solutions, says Montreal, Canada-based Khalil Nasrallah, director, emerging technologies.

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