Portal procession gains another player

Portal procession gains another player

ERP vendor QAD intends to begin offering a portal service to some of its customers in the third quarter of this year, the vendor's founder confirmed late last month.

"Portals are appropriate," said Pamela Lopker, QAD's founder, chairman and president, however, she drew a sharp distinction between the likely portal offerings of other ERP vendors and QAD's intentions.

"What they're doing for portals is almost like MyYahoo, [with services] saying 'Let me help you with your retirement,' and so on," Lopker said.

"I don't believe that's very compelling to our customers." The bulk of QAD's customers for the company's MFG/Pro ERP products and its On/Q supply chain management software are drawn from the automotive and industrial manufacturing sectors.

QAD's approach, as yet unofficially announced, will be to focus purely on offering services through its portal - known so far as "The Portal" - specific to its own software.

Lopker talked about having an EDI (electronic data interchange) portal that can perform necessary updates to the vendor's software such as updating multi-currency tables, as well as facilitating the printing of electronic cheques and electronic fund transfers.

She said that QAD is currently testing the portal with a couple of key end-user organisations and plans to start offering the service to selected customers in the third quarter of this year. One natural candidate for inclusion in the portal would be QAD's Solutions Centre, currently attached to the vendor's Web site, she added.

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