GameCube launch got an ERP push

GameCube launch got an ERP push

Nintendo Australia gave its new $2 million ERP system a "risky" workout when it used the then three-week-old implementation to manage its GameCube launch in May.

The interactive entertainment giant is betting the ERP project -- worth around $2 million in hardware, software and research and development -- will generate $1 million in cost savings over the next five years. The May launch of the GameCube console made use of the system's sales and logistics functions.

In late April, Nintendo Australia implemented an IBM-based ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution in partnership with a small Melbourne-based ISV, Mid-Comp International. Codenamed Odyssey, the system played a pivotal role in administering GameCube's local release, managing critical business processes like the sales and distribution of more than 40,000 GameCube units to 1000 stores in the five days before the May 17 launch.

Odyssey also supports other key processes like finance (accounts payable and receivable, general ledger), inventory management (picking, scan-packing and inbound and outbound goods), service repairs, electronic data interchange to retailers like Myer and other carriers, and vendor-managed inventory.

Nintendo Australia's IT manager, Peter Stroud, said the company considers Odyssey a "strategic weapon", saying its three main benefits were its "functionality, ease of use and cost of implementation".

A key factor in Nintendo's choice of solution was that Odyssey was "built from the ground up to support distribution businesses", Stroud said.

Also, Nintendo needed a system capable of coping with a rapidly changing games industry, and IBM's solution fitted the brief, he said. "Odyssey is delivered over a browser, so we did not need to invest in high-cost PCs with complicated configurations."

"We simply [needed] a standard PC with a browser allowing us to push our business front to wherever there [was] an ISP connection," he said.

Odyssey is a Java ERP system based on IBM software and hardware (IBM's WebSphere application server, DB2 database software running on IBM's eServer iSeries hardware platform), said Mid-Comp International's director of R&D, Bjarne Matzen.

He said the solution is also built to open standards enabling users to install Odyssey on their existing technology.

Nintendo and Mid-Comp International began developing the system in 1998, designing it as a Web browser-based tool.

The project went live only three weeks before GameCube's launch date, which Matzen admitted was "risky".

In order to deploy Odyssey, Matzen said he and his team had to replace a large existing ERP system at Nintendo with the new Java ERP solution.

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