iWork Continues eBPCS Support as SSA Enters Chapter 11

Despite System Software Associates’ (SSA, Chicago) recent Chapter 11 filing, users of SSA ERP software are not likely to abandon their systems tomorrow, says Terry Massey, director of business development for iWork Software (Greensboro, N.C.). Therefore, iWork, an application integration vendor and SSA reseller, announced it will continue support for users of SSA’s eBPCS ERP product suite in the manufacturing sector.

iWork Software is promoting its dcServ system, which allows business analysts to visually model and deploy business processes within an enterprise or between supply chain partners, as an alternative to SSA’s ERP package.
Last month, SSA entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with Gores Technology Group (GTG, Los Angeles) which essentially provided for the sale of all of SSA’s assets to a newly formed subsidiary of GTG for approximately $52 million. Rick Gonzales, SSA president, North America, says the company does not have plans to discontinue support for its products because of bankruptcy proceedings. He adds the company will continue migrating and updating its applications, building on the current success of the latest BPCS release.

“We had to address the debt that had accumulated and we needed to gain access to incremental capital,” Gonzales says. “The chapter 11 addresses financial issues. As far as the development aspects and the product support, that will be helped by the chapter 11.”

BPCS v 6.1.01, released in May, has been well-received by SSA customers, according to Gonzales. Those who have expressed concern about the Chapter 11 filing, he adds, are primarily concerned about being kept informed and are not necessarily apprehensive about the product’s future or a lack of support for their existing systems.

Rod Johnson, service director at AMR Research (Boston) agreed that SSA’s customers generally won’t be scrambling to immediately overhaul their new system.

“All of them are really evaluating their technology. Most have a pretty solid system right now, but as they look toward the future, there are definitely concerns,” he said.

Confidence in their current BPCS system isn’t enough to alleviate customers’ fears about the future of their ERP systems. Rather, Johnson said, the reason most consumers will feel secure in retaining BPCS is because GTG, in order to serve their own interests, will have to continue supporting BPCS products.

“The reason SSA was acquired was to profit off of the existing customer base,” Johnson explains. “...Unless (GTG) continues to support and enhance their products, companies are not going to be willing to pay those maintenance fees. You can be sure their main focus will be keeping the existing customer base, because as soon as the announce they’re not going to continue support for this product, people will say, ‘Fine, then I’m just not going to pay you.’”

Still, Johnson says, a lot of companies will “try to jump in that space” left open by SSA if the support is not sufficiently maintained. When BPCS users do decide they need to update their systems, Massey says, iWork will be there to pick up where SSA left off. Massey adds that iWork’s dcServ product suite is uniquely positioned to serve the demands of SSA customer once they abandon their BPCS system.

"Because of the connectivity that we provide them, they can make an orderly exit. While it wasn't our intention to provide a migration path (for BPCS users), because we have connections with so many systems it's a natural way for them to port their applications," he says. "...Most all the competitors are doing the trading exchange stuff and doing the Internet stuff, but what they haven't gotten around to is really saying, ‘How can we integrate the shop floor process?’ And the reason we've been able to do that is because our focus is strictly manufacturing. It was important to our customers, so we had to have it from day one.”

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    Related Information:

  • System Software Associates (new window)
  • eBPCS Overview (new window)
  • iWork Software (new window)
  • dcServ Overview (new window)
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