Manugistics, SSA Integrate ERP And Supply-Chain Offerings

Two vendors hoping to secure their footing in shaky markets are looking to each other for support. Manugistics and Systems Software Associates Inc., yesterday outlined plans to co-develop an integrated supply-chain system that the companies say will cut costs and shorten the implementation time for joint customers of the two companies.

Under the agreement, SSA will participate in Manugistics' Open Application Integration program, designed to integrate Manugistics' products with third-party applications or data sources. SSA will develop a plug-in of its BPCS transactional enterprise resource planning offering for Manugistics' supply-chain optimization suite, which focuses on supply planning. SSA also will include Manugistics' supply-chain products in its enterprise software offering. The companies will share the marketing and sales efforts, and will provide joint customer support services.

The announcement comes a month after SSA unveiled a strategy to brand itself as a full-service "portfolio solutions provider" by partnering with vendors that will help it expand its software offerings in markets such as supply chain and E-commerce.

One analyst sees this partnership as an opportunity for Manugistics to address some of the integration concerns being voiced by supply-chain customers. Steve Banker, a senior supply chain analyst with the ARC Advisory Group, says customers are satisfied from a return-on-investment standpoint, but the inability to easily transport ERP data into a supply-chain format leaves them frustrated. "[For Manugistics] the SSA alliance will be more meaningful when they start tackling some of these more semantic issues, but if they have co-development going forward, that's a good step," Banker says.

Early versions of the combined offering will be available in the second quarter. Pricing is not yet available.

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