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QAD ERP makes platform play with ITP

The new QAD Industrial Transformation Platform initiative is designed to provide customers with the applications and processes to become more adaptive and resilient.

QAD has added new capabilities to its ERP platform in the last two years and is now offering the Industrial Transformation Platform, an initiative to help customers adjust to shifts in market dynamics and the competitive landscape.

QAD ITP is aimed at aligning a company's people, processes and systems so that they are ready to adapt to changes in their industries and to adopt new technologies, according to Anton Chilton, QAD's CEO. This comes from taking advantage of QAD's expertise and experience in manufacturing processes and its portfolio of applications, which includes QAD ERP; Redzone, connected worker software acquired in 2023; and Livejourney, process mining software acquired in 2022.

For customers, the initiative begins with an assessment of the company's processes to determine the biggest issues that need to be addressed in order to become what QAD calls an "adaptive enterprise," he said.

"That might be ERP, it might be forecasting capability, it might be the way that your processes are being executed," Chilton said. "We don't know until we ask those questions. The packaging around ITP is like an antidote to the idea that you need to do digital transformation or you need to have AI [to solve problems]. You might, but you might need to do something else first."

ITP helps to prioritize issues and create milestone roadmaps for applications in the QAD portfolio for big-ticket items that companies want to address, he said. The priority is to focus on the customers' outcomes, not on implementing software.

"It can't just be about the software," Chilton said. "There are other missing components that you need to focus on around people and processes."

QAD ITP is aimed at existing QAD customers, but also companies in the industries QAD focuses on that are not customers, he said. QAD, which is based in Santa Barbara, Calif., and was founded 45 years ago, focuses on six broad manufacturing verticals: industrial, automotive, food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, high tech and electronics.

The initial assessment is free for customers, and it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to go through the process. Overall project pricing is set once the customer and QAD have agreed to a joint roadmap.

Focus on outcomes, not installations

QAD's goal appears to be a shift from focusing on software installation to helping customers achieve their desired outcomes, said Predrag Jakovljevic, an industry analyst at Technology Evaluation Centers.

"The basis for this is the observation that if you take two similar companies and install the same software, you can get very different outcomes," Jakovljevic said. "This requires both refocusing within QAD and in QAD's interactions with its customers."

QAD's refocusing on people and processes has been bolstered by its acquisitions of Redzone in 2023 and Livejourney in 2022, he said. Software investment firm Thoma Bravo acquired QAD in 2021.

This looks like the building blocks for a QAD platform play.
Simon EllisPractice director, IDC

However, the initiative is new, and many of the details have not been spelled out yet, said Simon Ellis, practice director at IDC.

QAD is pulling in pieces such as its ERP application, the Redzone capabilities and Livejourney process mining in an integrated package, but it's unclear as to where exactly it's going, Ellis said. This could have value for customers in and of itself, and ITP could become the foundation upon which QAD will build, perhaps with new applications from internal development or from acquisitions.

"This looks like the building blocks for a QAD platform play," he said.

QAD might also be looking for ways to help resistant customers move to the cloud, because there are still many legacy on-premises applications that manufacturers use effectively to manage certain areas, such as manufacturing execution systems, Ellis said.

"The challenge for the vendors is they must continue to innovate at the bleeding edge until the delta between the old systems and [the new cloud systems] becomes bigger and eventually can't be ignored," he said.

In the overall market for manufacturing ERP, ITP likely won't make a difference for QAD against heavyweights SAP and Oracle, but could help it compete with vendors such as Infor and IFS, Ellis said. QAD might have felt it was at a competitive disadvantage without a platform like ITP, he added.

"It's hard to say if it will move the needle significantly in terms of market share, but that doesn't mean their product performs in an inferior way," Ellis said. "Will this redress that? Probably not, but we'll have to see how it plays out."

Jim O'Donnell is a senior news writer for TechTarget Editorial who covers ERP and other enterprise applications.

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