Under Constellation, Friedman Assembles IBM i Assets
June 27, 2013 Alex Woodie
Infor may have the most well-known collection of IBM i ERP systems, but there are other such groups of IBM i assets, particularly for tier-two applications. One such grouping of tier-two software vendors is the ongoing work of Friedmann, the developer of ERP for windows and door makers that is owned by the mega software conglomerate Constellation Software.
Friedman has been owned by Constellation for many years. But it’s only been over the last several years that Friedman has been let loose to gobble up IBM i software companies. The list of IBM i-related acquisitions (including date acquired) is as follows:
Friedman is one of six operating groups under Toronto, Canada-based Constellation, about six of which have IBM i offerings. With so many IBM i products and customers under one roof, the cross-selling opportunities have increased significantly for Friedman.
For example, companies that utilize the CORESense mail order and catalog management software (which runs on open source in addition to IBM i, we’re told) may have a use for the shipping software from Varsity Logistics to automate the generation of shipping documents for orders shipped via FedEx and UPS. Similarly, distributors who run the WMS system from Logimax may want to expand their offerings with supply chain management capabilities.
Development of the IBM i software has continued under Constellation. Last year, Varsity delivered ShipSoft version 3.0, which brought enhancements in several areas, including import control and ground freight pricing for UPS; international orders and electronic trade documents for FedEx, and support for the USPS’ electronic verification system (eVS) and USPS Commercial Plus rating.
The San Francisco, California-based company also says it has gone through the process of making architectural changes, including a file and program cleanup process and a significant increase in modular and re-useable code.
It will be interesting to see where Friedman/Constellation turns to next. Constellation already snapped up the prominent developer of the RentalMan software, Wynne Systems of Southern California, which now sits in Constellation’s Volaris Group.
There are a number of smaller IBM i software companies that develop packages used by manufacturers and distributors in specific industries. It’s hard seeing Infor being interested in them; it did recently buy TDCI, maker of the MAC-PAC XE package, primarily for the complex order management software it made. Epicor recently bought Solarsoft and its IBM i-based manufacturing ERP (formerly CMS Software), but it’s not easy seeing Epicor getting deeper into the IBM i market.
When the smaller niche players–or even some of the larger tier-2 players that often grace this newsletter–need a lifeline, it possibly could come in the form of Friedman and Constellation.
This article was corrected. Infor bought TDCI, the maker of MAC-PAC XE, not MANMAN Xe. IT Jungle regrets the error.