Geac is in the midst of a rebuilding period, trying to reverse what president and CEO Paul Birch dubs “a downward spiral in which every stakeholder group was mad at us.” To right itself, Birch says Geac will be careful about future acquisitions (its 1999 purchase of U.K. company JBA Holdings Plc proved disastrous, with the company paying far too high a price) and will eschew “the latest and greatest” technology in favor of “robust core functionality.” Geac derives about 70 percent of its revenue from core accounting software, but Birch admits that this is a mature market and growth will come mainly from CRM, business intelligence, and other newer technologies. Self-service and E-commerce applications top the company’s priority list.
Intentia is a Swedish company with serious designs on the U.S. market. Last year the company consolidated its U.S. operations under the Intentia name. Its flagship Movex product line has been divided into six broad product areas built around the concept of E-business collaboration, a trend on which Intentia has essentially bet the farm. Last year was rough for Intentia from a stock market perspective, although that’s true for most of the companies in this sector. Its shares lost two-thirds of their value before beginning a fourth-quarter recovery. Going forward, the company will stress the ease of integration between its modules and will expand its product offerings once its cash flow and profitability targets are met.
This division of software giant Computer Associates International Inc. dubs itself an “E-business applications” company, but it might better say an “E-business integration” company. Its core product, BizWorks, provides a superstructure for many types of applications, allowing companies to tie together not only their own systems but also those of suppliers and customers. InterBiz does offer financial, logistics, banking, and other applications that make it a viable ERP contender, particularly in the midmarket, but it can also lay claim to being an enterprise application integration (EAI) company or, as one analyst puts it, an enterprise business integration (EBI) company. In October, InterBiz announced a new Premium Service plan that acts as a sort of insurance policy, mitigating the expenses associated with migration and maintenance.
Its fourth-quarter acquisition of YOUcentric Inc. gave J.D. Edwards the requisite CRM arrow for its quiver, and the company wasted no time revamping the product to mirror the look and feel of its OneWorld Web-based collaborative applications family. The company also struck a notable deal with the Parson Group to provide integration and optimization services to customers. The goal, says David Packer, J.D. Edwards’s vice president and general manager, is to help customers achieve faster ROI, certain to be a mantra for all software companies in 2002. The company is improving its technology with that same goal in mind; for example, the “Profitable-to-Promise” feature in its latest Advanced Planning module lets salespeople weigh the financial impact of orders while on the phone with customers.