Acacia, Lilly Join ERP Custom Server Program

Acacia Technologies (Lisle, Ill.) and Lilly Software (Hampton, N.H.) have joined IBM’s AS/400 ERP custom server program. Under terms of the program, AS/400 customers will now be able to buy Acacia and Lilly ERP solutions pre-installed on new AS/400e servers.

Acacia products that are available for pre-install include PRMS, Acacia’s flagship ERP solution; KBM, an ERP solution specifically designed for custom manufacturing; and Warehouse Boss, Acacia’s warehouse management system. Lilly’s flagship ERP and advanced planning and scheduling (APS) solution, Visual Manufacturing, will be preloaded on AS/400s.

Acacia and Lilly are the 10th and 11th ERP software vendors to join the custom server program, joining J.D. Edwards, SSA, SAP, Baan, IBS, Infinium, Intentia, JBA and MAPICS.

Jeff Trachy, AS/400 packaging strategist at IBM, says with every new OS release, IBM looks to add more vendors’ solutions to the custom server program. This time around, it’s one of the senior members of the AS/400 ERP world – Acacia – and one of the newest members in Lilly.

Acacia’s PRMS [originally known as RMS] and KBM products both predate the AS/400, while Lilly just ported to the AS/400 last year.

“Lilly is a relatively new company in this marketplace, but Dick Lilly’s the [CEO] and he’s been involved in this business since they coined the term, ERP,” says Trachy. “He’s very knowledgeable about this marketplace. So we get both – an established company [in the AS/400 market] and a new company.”

He also notes that about 20 percent of ERP custom server sales have gone into new accounts. Existing customers seeking to modernize legacy hardware and software have also flocked to the program.

“That’s what’s driving a lot of the business is people trying to solve their Year 2000 problems by getting on the latest technology. But there’s a lot of stuff on the AS/400 right now, like Java and Domino. There’s more to this than just the Year 2000 problem. A lot of technology and a lot of capability is being delivered on the AS/400, which makes it very attractive.”

The custom server program is a big hit at Acacia and Lilly. “The pre-load option offers our clients a way to compress the traditional software installation timeframe,” says Ken Ramoutar, VP of worldwide marketing at Acacia. “Quick implementation has always been one of Acacia Technologies’ key strengths, and this program enables our clients to implement even faster now.”

Jeff Holway, channel relationships manager at Lilly Software, says the AS/400 Model 170 in particular is a good fit for Lilly’s Visual Manufacturing product, though Visual Manufacturing will be available on all the AS/400e Series machines.

“IBM, now more than ever, is targeting small manufacturers with the Model 170, which fits our solution nicely,” Holway says. “We’re focused on small manufacturers who don’t have large IS departments and are looking for a server that maintains itself over a period of time, and ease of installation. So the Model 170 is a nice fit with our product. It makes it easier for a small manufacturer to get up and running quickly.

Visual Manufacturing became generally available on the AS/400 last November and has 10 customers on the platform, eight of them on Model 170s. The company targets customer sites with 15 to 100 users and under $200 million in annual revenues, but is looking to move up-market, Holway says.

Lilly offers a patented advanced planning and scheduling technology integrated within Visual Manufacturing, something Holway says makes them stand out among other ERP software providers.

“Very few in our price range offer that kind of package,” he says.