At the recent user conference in Goa, the web version of Mfg/Pro called Net UI was previewed. Taking up the importance of migrating to web based
applications for Asian enterprises, Alon Li emphasized the business benefits available from this migration. Alon Li has over eighteen years experience in the industry and was General Manager, prior to this position. He has an MBA
degree and a diploma in Management Administration. Excerpts of the dialogue with
What are the changes in the web version of Mfg/Pro?
The graphical user interface used to account for a lot of the traffic on the communications network. We have basically rewritten the user interface in Java.
l How do existing users upgrade to this version?
Anybody who is on annual maintenance with QAD and is part of our support program can migrate to this new release. There is a Progress Web Speed product, which you need to buy but that is a very small investment.
What are the primary benefits that end users are looking for?
The excitement we have heard from our customers is about going out of their organization. If I have my central server in Singapore, for example, I can have people in other countries accessing that over the internet. I do not need to install an expensive wide area network.
Have any existing users started to use thin clients?
We do not have any sites in India as yet. We certainly have a lot of sites in North America and Europe. In Australia we are getting our first customers.
What are the initiatives that QAD is taking in the ASP area?
There is no specific initiative in India. In the last four-five months there has been an initiative internally in QAD to come up with a business model. This is going to vary by region and by country depending on what customers really want.
Is QAD looking at the ASP market as a player or does it plan to work through partners?
QAD is looking at both models. In some countries where we have strong direct operations, Australia for example, we would set it up ourselves. In countries like India, we would probably look toward a partner. We are considering a number of models. Do we just rent the software or do we provide the full service.
How is QAD competitively placed in Asia?
We come across SAP in virtually every Asian country. But then it falls away pretty quickly as to who the competitors are. They might be strong in one country because of a good distributor but then they may be non-existent in another country. SAP is consistently our #1 competitor.
Other than SAP, Oracle has also deployed its ERP applications across the web. Is that making a difference to you?
Not a lot. We do come across Oracle when we are competing for business when the prospect already has the Oracle database. And then Oracle quite aggressively tries to maintain that account. Brand new business? We very rarely see any competition. They are still very database oriented from the sales point of view.