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Fully e-commercialized

Symix is poised to expand the company's business into that of providing total e-business solution to the mid-market.What is total e-business solution?

Symix is poised to expand the company's business into that of providing total e-business solution to the mid-market.

What is total e-business solution? asked the company's Vice President for Asia Pacific, Barrie Williams in an interview with ZDNetasia's writer, Thomas Y.B. Chen. Answering himself, the doleful looking, bearded gentleman elaborated, "e-commerce solution is not just what we have termed "point" capability, or procurement capability, or CRM capability, ... but a total integration of all those capabilities plus the back-end ERP solutions."

Up until now, Symix has been supplying SME's in the manufacturing sector with ERP solutions. An acronym for Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP is all the back-end tasks that you can expect a business office to perform, accounting, inventory, data-management, shipment tracking, whatever an office manager would need on the computer screen to make the job more efficient.

ERP helps a company perform the task of managing and relaying internal resources in less time and with less errors, but it does not bring any business to the company. Even though it may help a sales force generate more business with more thorough customer services, ultimately, ERP does not put bread on the table.

What is lacking is a front-end solutions system.

A front-end system may be something as simple as a web-site which you can log on to place your orders. And that's how it would seem with some of the biggest shopping networks like eBay or Amazon.com. It becomes less simple, however, when your customer is another business. When the people placing orders with your site are businesses with orders that range in the thousands and hundreds of thousands of units, you wouldn't want any error. You wouldn't want any missed opportunities and you'd want your customer to get all the information about the order that they will need.

To do that, companies keen on doing B2B business on the internet must put up a site that most fully integrate the front-end of the business with the back-end. In addition, although e-commerce is getting all the hype these days, much of the work that goes into making a business deal is still done on foot, over a hand-shake, which also means setting up also an effective support system for your sales force.

That's what Symix hopes to do. And it says it can.

It will do so beginning with a new suite of front-end capabilities called eSyte. As e-business solutions that Symix will offer to its customers, eSyte encompasses a whole range of front office functions, from procurement to sales force support. Esyte is then integrated with a customer's back-end ERP system through a messaging layer built on the XML standard. That would mean a fully integrated end-to-end solution that Symix will be offering.

"What we have here, " said Williams, "is a total integration of the order fulfillment, the buying, the selling, customized shipment, etc., it's truly e-commerce capability."

ESyte has been available from Symix since earlier this year, but the company is only launching the suite now in Asia with the announcement of its restructuring plans.

The integrated business capability that Symix now has the ability to put in place means for the company not just an elevation of its capabilities, it means the company can now expand into areas of the e-business market that it has formally shun away from.
"Symix has been an ERP solution supplier to SME's in the manufacturing sector, it is very tightly defined, that's the traditional market, what the new market is, is totally expanded now, into our e-business, … and mid-market," said Williams.

To steer the expansion, the company restructures itself into three business units each with a separate focus on a segment of the e-business market. Enterprise Solutions to focus on end-to-end business and the manufacturing industry for the ERP system; Frontstep to provide e-commerce capabilities and consulting expertise to all B2B products and companies; and finally, Hosted Solutions to be responsible for the hosted applications and market exchange platforms.

With such a move, Symix is not only positioning itself to be a major supplier of e-commerce capabilities to the mid-market, but also to take on a more dominant role in the e-business provider industry itself.