SSA Global outlines ERP strategy

SSA Global Technologies Inc. execs were in Toronto this week to meet with customers and discuss the future of its manufacturing software solutions. The Chicago-based extended enterprise solution and service provider held its North American SSA Global Road Show to announce its new product strategy.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software maker SSA has been on an acquisition spree of sorts since acquiring troubled Barneveld, Netherlands-based Baan from its former parent Invensys PLC last June and making it a subsidiary of SSA. The firm also scooped up e-commerce supplier Ironside last July, and most recently announced its intent to acquire supply chain execution supplier EXE.

SSA Global customer Bill Neufeld, director of IT for Toronto-based aboveground pool manufacturer Atlantic Pool Products Ltd., noted at the event that he is curious to see how the company manages to successfully meld its ERP product lines.

SSA plans focus on its ERP systems, offering performance management, collaborative order management and product lifestyle management geared for manufacturing companies, the companu said. At the event, it featured demos to its new offerings, including new Human Capital Management, Advanced Planning and Scheduling and workflow products.

According to Jim Handy, Markham, Ont.-based president, strategic solutions for SSA Global, SSA plans to connect all the manufacturing applications collected under the acquisitions and mergers into a single SSA Global brand.

This unified brand would feature two product lines: a Unix-based product line, and a product line supporting enterprise systems running IBM Corp.’s AS/400 and iSeries.

According to SSA, it will actively encourage customers to migrate to the newer SSA Global products.

Handy reinforced that SSA is still committed to providing maintenance and support for the majority of the older versions of its software solutions.

The company intends to meet end users’ biggest challenge in integrating legacy systems with newer products, Handy said.

Jim Shephard, a research analyst for Boston-based AMR Research, noted that SSA Global’s rebranding strategy is on the right track.

The company now ranks as among the top ERP developer within the global mid-market and fourth in ERP business overall, behind SAP AG, PeopleSoft and Oracle Corp., he said.

“Its competitors would like to write the company off as simply a scavenger that buys up tired old software products and exploits the maintenance base, but they would be making a big mistake,” Shephard said.