Esselte inks $10m Microsoft ERP contract

Puts pen to paper claiming "tier two" solution is feature rich and scalable
Written by Tony Hallett, Contributor

Puts pen to paper claiming "tier two" solution is feature rich and scalable

Microsoft's high-end applications credentials have received a boost with office supplies giant Esselte signing a five-year contract for enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. In a deal thought to be worth around $10m, the stationer is putting in Microsoft Business Solutions Axapta software and consolidating 18 global ERP and nine warehouse management systems. Esselte CIO Lani Spund said: "Let's just say that wasn't the most efficient way to run a business. We've been suffering from a chronic lack of consistent information." Of the software that Esselte has been using Spund said only two vendors' offerings were what he'd call world class - Baan and SAP. The company will continue to run SAP enterprise applications out of Germany (also covering Austria, France and Spain) and decide whether to move entirely to Microsoft Axapta eventually. "SAP is stable but the cost is high," Spund added. His team rejected Baan as a choice because of question marks over the vendor's future ownership. Esselte will use Aston Business Solutions and Columbus IT Partner to roll out the software, though they will be working as part of a consortium with Microsoft as the prime contractor. It is looking at three-to-six month implementations per territory, as opposed to up to four years for SAP, said Spund. Also at the centre of Esselte's supply chain and manufacturing overhaul are a data centre in the US, up to three in Europe, one in China and one in Australia. These are connected via a high-speed MPLS network from Equant, which Spund said is "key" to the implementation's success. Bill Pollie, VP US sales with Microsoft Business Solutions, said in a statement: "This is a great example of how Microsoft Axapta can scale to meet even the most complex requirements of billion-dollar manufacturing businesses operating in multiple countries around the world."
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