There's a new ERP kid in town, Sweden's Jeeves Information Systems. The company, which has offices in France, Germany, the UK and Norway and is owned by American investment company Battery Ventures, just opened a North American headquarters in Chicago.
The company’s flagship product, Jeeves Universal, is an integrated solution geared toward mid-sized businesses. Like those of their larger counterparts, SMB supply chains are becoming more international, said Jeeves Information Systems President Bernt Olausson.
ERP Suited to SMBs
"Among our customers we have both midsized and even small businesses that are establishing subsidiaries or making acquisitions in different countries and markets with the purpose to grow, compete and expand their businesses. Jeeves has a product and a community that is built to support this," Olausson said. "To further support our customers, we need to be established on our own in North America. This also gives us an opportunity to deliver value and solutions to many SMBs in North America that are either planning to, or have already engaged in international markets."
New U.S. customer Reynolds Cycling, a Utah-based manufacturer and distributor of high-performance bicycle wheels, recently opened a service center in Germany and added sales and procurement offices in Taiwan, for example. As its supply chain became more complex, said CFO Mike Dufner, the company wanted to move its business systems onto "a single integrated platform with the functionality and flexibility needed to accommodate our complex business and growth expectations. "
Reynolds Cycling will implement the core Jeeves Universal system, including such features as CRM, intercompany transactions, supply chain management/logistics, production, service management, finance and business intelligence.
Jeeves software is well suited to SMBs, Olausson said, because customers can upgrade to new versions "with literally the push of a button," regardless of any adaptations and customizations they have implemented. "This means that even our smallest customers are in control of their solution and can continuously improve it, and they can also benefit from all new functionality and opportunities that are delivered with a new standard version. So instead of costly upgrades, where a lot of money is put into just maintaining status quo, customers can instead improve, increase their productivity and develop their business."
Olausson said the ERP needs of SMBs are not so different from those of larger companies. Jeeves counts both kinds of companies among its customers, with some large clients deploying Jeeves Universal for a two-tiered ERP strategy, using the product for some divisions or subsidiaries.
SMBs are primarily concerned with affordability and flexibility for their ERP systems, Olausson said, as they often lack IT staff to develop solutions on their own or to maintain customizations over upgrades.
"Sooner or later an SMB needs to adapt to demands from different stakeholders, change and improve their business processes and services to stay competitive, and find new productive and cost-efficient ways to work, all with the goal of staying competitive," he said. "This has to be considered and secured regardless of whether you look at an on-premise solution, or hosted or cloud-based solution, and regardless of whether it’s a micro-vertical solution, a best-of-breed packaged solution or a more general ERP solution."
Though Jeeves does not currently offer a cloud-based product, Olausson said the company is developing one now and expects to deliver a software-as-a-service (SaaS) version of Jeeves Universal next year.
"Jeeves’ architecture and technical foundation fit the SaaS requirements extremely well, with a very efficient metadata model as well as all of the business logic in the database and with execution of the business logic in runtime," he said. "This means that we can use the same technical platform for our SaaS solution."
Jeeves Universal is based on standard Microsoft technology, with Microsoft SQL as its database, Olausson said. The company is using Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform for the Jeeves cloud solution. Jeeves is currently running pilot tests for "a new Web-based, user-centric client technology" that will be released in 2012's fourth quarter, he added.
Clients will be able to run both the current Windows client and the new Web-based client in Jeeves’ SaaS solution, Olausson said. "This makes the future transition to a cloud environment much easier for our customers."
Jeeves plans to deliver a full cloud concept in Azure and an SaaS concept for Jeeves Universal with the next standard version, likely in the second half of 2013.
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Ann All is the editor of Enterprise Apps Today. Follow Enterprise Apps Today on Twitter @EntApps2Day.