IBS Updates ERP Suite as Chairman Suddenly Quits
October 19, 2010 Alex Woodie
IBM i software developer International Business Systems is now shipping IBS Enterprise7, a new version of its ERP suite used primarily by distributors. New functions include an integrated CRM system, a new Web portal, better scalability, and about 150 other improvements. Meanwhile, the Swedish company’s board of directors scheduled an emergency meeting yesterday after the chairman and one other board member quit over the weekend.
Few details of Enterprise7 were available as this issue of Four Hundred Stuff went to press. But based on the press announcement that IBS put out nearly two weeks ago, Enterprise7 contains a mix of new functionality and enhancements to existing business processes.
One of the new features is something called “Scalable Distribution.” IBS marketing chief Andy Bailey is on the record as saying this feature will “ensure that our customers never outgrow their core business applications.”
The company has been transitioning from programming in RPG to developing in Java as it seeks to escape the limitations associated with the IBM Power Systems platform and get its software to run and be adopted on the Windows Server/SQL Server platform. Server scalability is not the traditional bogeyman of RPG-based applications, so it will be interesting to learn exactly what scalability improvements IBS has built into its software.
Enterprise7 also features a new role-based user interface that the company says will be easier for users to learn. Similarly, a new Web portal will introduce integration with social media sources for internal users, and provide a mechanism for delivering self-service for customers.
A “world recognized” CRM system is now part of Enterprise, IBS says. E-commerce and localization enhancements have also been added to Enterprise7. IBS says this release will enable companies to support multiple languages and localizations in a single implementation.
IBS has overhauled the rebate process with Enterprise7, for both suppliers and customers. Also, the company has added a new tool to “rationalize” the supplier invoice process, which should result in savings for Enterprise7 users. A new BI tool called Distribution Intelligence provides new monitoring, reporting, and performance management capabilities. Distribution Intelligence, which is based on IBM Cognos technology, and the new CRM system, which is based on Microsoft technologies, were separately unveiled last month ahead of the IBS Enterprise7 launch.
Management in Chaos
As IBS Enterprise7 hits the sales channel, the board of directors of the publicly traded software company will be looking to shore up its management following the sudden resignations of the chairman of the board, Pallab Chatterjee, and Gunnel Duveblad, a director, on Sunday.
IBS yesterday announced it will hold an “extraordinary general meeting” on November 2 to fill the vacancies left by Duveblad and Chatterjee. The company, whose stock is traded on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, has other vacancies, too–it has been working without a permanent CEO since Mike Shinya was ousted in May. Shinya was brought in two years ago to turn the company around. His tenure failed to stop the decline at IBS.
Board member Christian Paulsson, 35, has been running the company since the departure of Shinya. Paulsson, who holds the title of interim president and CEO, stated that the first six months of 2010 were “somewhat turbulent” in IBS’ most recent financial report, in which the company reported a 20 percent decline in revenues.
Paulsson also stated that the company was “approached by some industry players to discuss strategic alternatives.” That is likely a reference to being acquired. It is unknown if the resignations of Duveblad and Chatterjee are related to any possible takeover discussions. What is known is that IBS needs to turn itself around in a hurry.
This article was corrected. IBS’ new Distribution Intelligence is based on IBM’s Cognos technology, not on Microsoft technology. IT Jungle regrets the error.