VAI Reveals Its Product Roadmap for IBM Power Systems through 2013

Enterprise Resource Planning / Financial
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Next-generation ERP software will feature real-time business intelligence, mobility, sales force, warehouse automation and a wealth of integrated applications.

VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) has outlined its next-generation enterprise technology roadmap for its flagship S2K Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software Suite running on the IBM Power Systems platform. The roadmap will help mid-market customers easily access and manage large-scale data, enabling them to make more-informed business decisions in real-time. It will also extend that data to the mobile cloud to give remote workers immediate access to the most critical information right at their fingertips.

The roadmap, which includes enhanced analytics and cloud-based technology solutions, will integrate with existing enterprise information systems and applications to leverage the mobile cloud, transforming how users work within and across the enterprise as well as with those outside the enterprise. Dramatic cost and operational efficiencies, expanded real-time collaboration with customers, vendors and partners as well as faster and more personalized customer service are among the benefits end-users will realize when they implement these new solutions.

The ability to analyze large data sets – known as Big Data – will drive global innovation, productivity and consumer surplus, according to a recent study authored by McKinsey Global Institute. For example, retailers leveraging the power of Big Data can increase operating margins by more than 60 percent. In most industries, both established and new organizations must leverage data-driven strategies to innovate, compete and capture value from deep and up-to-real-time information. VAI’s new and enhanced solutions will allow organizations to rapidly uncover the right data sets and provide intelligence on how to act on that data based on the situation at hand.

A 2012 IBM Beacon Award winner for Outstanding Solution for Midsize Businesses, VAI is renowned for its’ award-winning software suite specifically designed for mid-market and enterprise organizations in the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. Organizations such as Smith Drugs, Turtle Wax, Roto Rooter, Joshen Paper and Packaging, Maple Leaf Farms and Acme Tool rely on its S2K Software to automate critical business functions and deliver better bottom-line results.

“We worked closely with IBM on defining this next-generation roadmap,” said VAI CEO Bob Vormittag. “New advances in analytics and mobile cloud technology will empower mid-market and enterprise organizations to embrace analytics and quickly realize the value in accessing the right data in real-time. ERP continues to be the critical next step for organizations looking to improve efficiencies by using integrated applications to make more-informed business decisions at a much faster pace.”

VAI’s S2K technology roadmap includes key performance indicators (KPIs), interactive dashboards and graphics to provide real-time business intelligence functions within the enterprise. And, it will allow users to do more than just retrieve information over the web; it will provide network as a platform computing, allowing users to run the software entirely through a browser.

RefrigiWear, Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of insulated industrial outerwear, is an early adopter of VAI’s CRM Solution, which is part of the roadmap.

“We recently implemented VAI’s S2K Sales Force which is powered by IBM Websphere Portal,” said Robert Scarboro, IT director, RefrigiWear, Inc. “Our outside sales staff can now use smart devices, small laptop PCs and iPads to directly view patterns, notes, previous sales, inventory levels, past appointments and associated outcomes by making a few clicks or taps prior to visiting clients. They can also enter more notes or place orders in real-time – which are all immediately visible to our back office. This is a major productivity and customer service boost for us.”

The first wave of new S2K enterprise solutions – including enhanced versions of S2K Analytics and S2K Sales Force -- will be available this October in tandem with VAI’s 2012 User Conference (Oct. 25-27, 2012, Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas) while the second wave of advanced Web 2.0-enhanced solutions will roll-out by Fall 2013.

The S2K roadmap will involve new integrated applications as well as continued development in the following areas:

• CRM Marketing

o Easy-to-use, web-based marketing tool that provides email marketing, online surveys and direct mail postcards, among other key functions. Advanced reporting tools will analyze overall email performance and report on open and click-through rates, top performing lists, recent email comparisons and click-to-conversion tracking.

• Sales Force Automation

o New and enhanced applications include back office CRM function, sales management dashboards and mobile remote sales applications.

• Enhanced Forecasting and Requirements Planning

o New and enhanced forecasting and requirements planning capabilities will help users reduce inventory and boost productivity of the supply chain across all operations.

• Electronic Data Interchange

o Enhanced, pre-developed Maps for common EDI Trading Partners include a combination of automated tools, built-in EDI collaboration logic and object reuse. This EDI application will let users implement processes that send and receive orders, invoices, and shipment notices, or use any standard EDI message type faster and easier.

• Data Integration Tools

o Integration with tools will replace and bridge the gaps between conventional translators, data integration tools, business process automation tools, web services toolkits, XML transformation toolkits and spreadsheet integrators. The integration tools will also provide a flexible set of integration services that can be combined and configured to suit a variety of business purposes, without programming.

• Warehouse Automation

o User-configurable tools will enhance the function of VAI’s WMS warehouse automation solution with advanced capabilities such as multi-language development, RFID tracking and integration with voice-pick solutions.

• Email Alerts

o New workflow alerts will monitor activity in S2K and provide automated, timely information and support via email. Alerts can be entered to specify tolerance levels and multiple users can be notified of the same event.

• Retail Point of Sale

o Enhanced functionality of VAI’s SalesLinx POS Backup product will provide full stand-alone POS functions while disconnected from the host.

• Business Intelligence

o Powered by IBM Cognos, VAI S2K Analytics will continue to integrate powerful dashboards and reports that will allow users to easily identify anomalies that could turn into major business issues, identify and analyze opportunities and trends while communicating goals consistently with employees and monitoring performance against targets.

• Industry Applications

o An enhanced industry specific version of S2K Enterprise Suite for Food will be available.