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New Service from IBM Helps Companies Derive Greater Return from IT investment

Free Consultation Identifies Most Strategic e-business Opportunities

White Plains, NY - 06 Dec 2000: IBM today announced a new no-cost service helping companies find greater return on their investment in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions, the computer systems that link functional departments. The service performed by IBM e-business experts helps companies decide how best to put knowledge learned from their ERP systems to work in collaboration with partners, suppliers or customers.

The service is based on a new software tool developed jointly by IBM and Surgency (formerly Benchmarking Partners), an e-business strategy and implementation firm. IBM-sponsored e-business research indicates that most companies have not fully utilized their ERP system, that most have only exploited one or two modules such as Financials or Manufacturing, and they have not fully integrated these capabilities into their business processes. These back-office connections provide necessary fulfilment capabilities giving e-businesses the ability to promise delivery dates or to enable their customers to check order status via the Web.
The tool allows line-of-business executives to examine in detail their current situation, infrastructure and objectives, and suggests the best opportunities to derive greater return on their existing IT investment. That could mean installing additional ERP software modules for greater capabilities, adding users to the system through a larger server, or extending the reach of these core systems through the addition of e-business applications such as supply chain management or customer relationship management, or perhaps simply web enabling the enterprise data.
"Capturing unprecedented levels of speed, agility, and cross value-chain collaboration in the Net economy calls for new business practices and tools," commented Debra Hofman, partner at Surgency (TM), Inc., the Cambridge-based e-business strategy consulting firm that jointly developed the Evaluation Tool with IBM. "Our research of successful firms shows that their critical portfolio decisions are best supported in an ecosystem environment that delivers a real time, system-to-system, Internet-based flow of information, documents, and processes across enterprises."
Millennium Petrochemical, the nation's second largest producer of acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer for products such as paints and adhesives, has worked with IBM since 1998 to implement and develop its SAP ERP implementation.
According to Mike Ferris, Manager of Business Systems at Millennium Petrochemical, the IBM e-business evaluation tool gave him the perspective to see what e-business applications would be most effective as Millennium entered the world of e-commerce.Specifically, the tool showed Ferris how expanding Millennium's system with a CRM solution would provide accessible centralized customer information, increase customer loyalty and increase profits.
"If you plan on visiting the e-commerce grocery store, this tool will put your shopping list together," said Ferris. "It helps you decide what you need for successful e-business and suggests applications like CRM or SCM that are capable of meeting those needs. The foresight we were able to gain in one week from the free tool and personal consultation could have easily otherwise cost us two to three months of time in collecting knowledge and thousands of dollars in consultation fees."
"IBM has already helped thousands of companies to become e-businesses," said Jack Wagner, marketing executive, IBM Enterprise Application Solutions. "In an age when deals involving several companies are commonplace, executives must first have firm knowledge of their current internal situation in order to negotiate effectively and commit to both customers and suppliers in the value chain. The tool helps companies discover this internal value on a case by case basis, and how best to leverage it through externalized e-business processes."
The e-business Evaluation Tool starts with a meeting to prioritize key business processes for improvement. IBM can evaluate business processes for Finance, Human Resources, Logistics and Distribution, Manufacturing and Process, Procurement and Suppliers, Engineering/Research and Development, and Sales and Marketing. Following the session, IBM develops a comprehensive report on how these areas can be further integrated to increase collaboration and maximize efficiency based on specific company needs, strategy and infrastructure.
The report provides a hierarchy of areas where a company should be targeting its e-business development and shows the most profitable drivers of increased profit, including whether further base enterprise application implementation is required,or whether enhancements such as supply chain management, customer relationship management, business intelligence and e-commerce, could increase revenue opportunities or reduce expenses.
Companies interested in using the new tool can sign-up at http://www.ibm.com/erp.

Contact(s) information

Elliot Luber
IBM
212-745-5094
eluber@us.ibm.com

Joanne McElhenney
Surgency
617-225-7800
jmclhenney@surgency.com

David Vermillion
TSI
212-320-2313
dvermillion@tsicomm.com

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