• United States

Geac overhauls System21 suite

May 09, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsERP Systems

Midmarket enterprise software maker Geac has released the latest version of its System21 management applications suite, with what executives say is the software’s most drastic functionality overhaul within the past five years.

Midmarket enterprise software maker Geac has released the latest version of its System21 management applications suite, with what executives say is the software’s most drastic functionality overhaul within the past five years.

Dubbed System21 Aurora, the suite will be formally launched in the U.S. on Monday at the Markham, Ontario-based company’s annual Alliance user conference, in Orlando.

System21, targeted at midsize businesses with annual revenue in the $100 million to $1 billion range, includes ERP and SCM (supply chain management) features tailored for manufactures and distributors. Its users include customers in industries such as food and beverage, apparel, consumer goods, and automotive components.

Many of the updates in the Aurora release are aimed at extending the software’s integration with products from IBM’s WebSphere line, such as the WebSphere Commerce suite of storefront applications, said Alastair Middleton, Geac’s System21 marketing manager. IBM is a close partner of Geac’s, and often sells customers the hardware and middleware to run Geac’s applications, he said.

Other additions in Aurora include a new order capture application for handling tracking and fulfillment, and a revamped process management system that Middleton predicts will be a key factor for customers considering upgrading.

“The process management capability stretches from messages that arrive from a customer all the way through the internal processes of how goods are supplied, including the movement of goods through warehouses, transport — all of those things can be managed by the process management capability,” he said. “You can model it visually, to align it with your business processes. Aurora really brings it together from an end-to-end point of view.”

Many of the functionality upgrades in Aurora won’t be new to current customers. Geac has introduced the updates gradually as it developed them over the past year or so, Middleton acknowledged.

But as Geac bundles together its changes and formally launches the new version of System21, the real news for customers is the signal Geac is sending of its commitment to the product, according to AMR Research analyst Nigel Montgomery. Geac acquired System21 in 2000, from a European distributor in which it had previously invested.

“The System21 product has been through some tough times since Geac bought it,” Montgomery wrote in a recent research note. “For two years, Geac has worked to reestablish the product by developing new functionality, but it spent little on maintaining the presence of the brand during that time. …Aurora is its attempt at rebranding. The existing customer base had already been exposed to the functionality in parts, but the new launch is the first time the parts had been brought together as a cohesive whole.”

Aurora is really targeted at winning new business and, as such, demonstrates Geac’s commitment to the brand and to placing business process management at the heart of System21, according to Montgomery.

System21 currently has a customer base of around 1,600 users, more than half of which are based in Europe. Localized versions of the software are available in several languages including French, German, and both American and U.K. English. Implementation costs — including licensing, hardware and consulting — start at around $100,000, and can scale up to several million, Middleton estimated.