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Fruits of Industry

Fruits of Industry

Australia's largest wine distributor, McGuigans, is uncorking some business efficiency benefits from the addition of enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. The addition of the latest enterprise software modules is providing the company with an integrated financial management platform. The wine distributor is blending an Oracle

Database 10g with JD Edwards EnterpriseOne for consolidation and long-term growth, according to Jonathan Rubinsztein, co-CEO of Oracle service provider, Red Rock Consulting.

McGuigans needed to consolidate its financial management system after a series of acquisitions in recent years including the addition of Simeon Wines and a packaging business from the Fosters Group.

With annual sales of $400 million and more than 800 staff in eight primary sites - including the Barossa Valley, Hunter Valley and Riverland regions - McGuigans needed to adopt a standardized application environment that can be implemented across the company, Rubinsztein said. It isn't alone in looking to improve management and consolidate the business. Wine makers and grape growers across Australia are now seeing the fruits of their labour after adopting ERP software.

TAILORED SOFTWARE

"From managing the agricultural side and growing the grapes to the selling of the actual wine, ERP technology is helping manage the business and perform detailed analysis," Rubinsztein said. "It gives companies instant visibility into data." And wine is not the only industry looking for applications designed for a particular market. "Customers are demanding solutions that fit their industry," Rubinsztein said. "They don't want a generic application."

The trend towards a tailored software approach is good news for partners, particularly in the upper end of the SMB market, according to Oracle general manager, applications alliances and channels, Warren Brugger. For Oracle, the wine market is one of the hottest verticals for ERP applications at the moment. Industry specific applications include grower management and blend management. The company also plans to bolster its reseller efforts in other verticals including retail and construction.

SAP's SME director, Tim Cavill, said keeping a smaller stable of partners was vital to getting specific. The company works with 30 Business One partners and 12 All-in-One players.

Instead of looking to grow partner numbers, SAP is focusing on transitioning its current crop from a revenue-based model to a skill set framework. Cavill said there was no shortage of industry specific application plays in the mid market. "We don't have enough feet on the street in the professional services arena," he said. "The resource sector is hot for us, so we will grow our focus there and push further into local government. Resellers need to build out and extend the offering to reach more of a micro vertical."

Partners need to know the customer inside out in order to offer highly tailored solutions. "We need more specialists to offer advice, provide services and help build capabilities within organisations." IBM software group's channel manager, Sue Hope, said now was the time to get into vertical markets. She estimated 90 per cent of SMBs would use a solution provider rather than going it alone. Big Blue currently works with 20 ISVs and is looking to grow the ranks, although Hope said the focus would be on quality rather than quantity.

The Frame Group's head of software solutions, Jeff Lewis, said offering tailored applications required skills in a number of areas including planning, analysis, design, deployment and operations management.


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