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  1. Technology
February 15, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

Platinum Software Corp – the financial applications software house – has laid out its plans following its acquisition of Dutch ERP vendor DataWorks Corp last October (CI No 3,518), a transaction which closed on December 31, 1998. It will cut the ManFact and DataFlo product lines, putting them on limited customer-driven development plans and committing only to continue support and maintenance releases, but not actively marketing them or selling them to new accounts. And Platinum will look to sell off the Impresa for MRO product, an Oracle-based application for the high-end maintenance, repair and overhaul markets, saying the business no longer fits within its product strategy and focus. It will concentrate on its core Platinum ERA manufacturing and distribution suite, and plans to integrate its Avante offering for mid-sized discrete manufacturers and its Vantage engineer-to- order packages into ERA in the near-term. For the lower-end Clientele, Platinum for Windows and Vista products, Platinum has established a new Clientele division to target emerging enterprise customers. Before it was acquired, DataWorks was in the process of developing Impresa for BackOffice, its next- generation, component-based ERP system, and Platinum says it will refocus those development efforts into its own next-generation Platinum ERA developments. Both teams were working along similar lines, it says, and the additions nearly quintuple the resources working on that project. DataWorks’ Advanced Planning and Scheduling engine will be used to expand supply chain management functionality within Platinum ERA. One of the primary reasons for the $93m deal was for Platinum to build up its critical mass and momentum, and the Irvine, California-based firm succeeded in pushing the company up into the top ten enterprise resource planning vendors in the world, at least according to figures from AMR Research Inc. It also further extended Platinum’s reach from financial software into manufacturing software and services. Platinum had already centered its strategy around Microsoft Corp’s BackOffice products (NT, SQL Server, Transaction Server, Site Server and Message Queue Server) and says it will now integrate all of its front-office functionality, including sales force automation and customer service and support, across all of its enterprise application families, including Avante and Vantage. Microsoft’s COM will be used as the standard component model and the XML extensible market language will be the format for all business documents. According to Bill Piese, executive vice president of product operations and marketing at Platinum, it is the mid-market that represents the biggest opportunity for growth in ERP. Other ERP vendors may be developing mid-market approaches and initiatives, [but] Platinum is the only company…focused exclusively on mid-sized customers he said. But perhaps Platinum should have taken up the DataWorks name, as it faces a name change within the next year, following Platinum Technology Corp’s victory over the rights to the Platinum name (CI No 3,598).

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