• May 22, 2014
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Aptean Launches Process Manufacturing Solution at Its Edge Event

LAS VEGAS—Aptean launched the Aptean Process Manufacturing solution suite at its Edge 2014 user conference here Wednesday.

The Process Manufacturing suite connects Aptean's Pivotal CRM, Ross ERP (enterprise resource planning), and Factory MES (manufacturing execution system) solutions, enabling all three products to share operational data and complement one another The new suite provides process manufacturers with a single view of all of their customer interactions, operations, inventory, and financial data.

The solution suite features Aptean Analytics for Process Manufacturing, a new business intelligence solution designed to pull in data from all three integrated products. Additional components include sales force automation purpose-built for manufacturers using the Aptean Pivotal platform and the Aptean Business Platform, an architectural framework that leverages Aptean's Event Management Framework for sharing information and triggering action between manufacturing processes.

Jennifer Sherman, senior vice president of product management at Aptean, said during the opening keynote that the Aptean Business Platform is "an end-to-end toolset that can manage work flows and processes across the business."

Already incorporated into the platform are the Ross ERP and Aptean Respond solutions. Respond, which the company released in February, is a complaint management system designed to provide financial institutions in the U.S. with a solution to improve initial customer interactions, deliver timely case resolutions, and generate introspective customer service feedback.

According to Sherman, Aptean will continue to add software solutions to the platform, calling it "an iterative process" that will continue for the next year or so.

The move, Sherman added, underscores a blending of CRM, ERP, and other business applications, a theme throughout this conference and one that was also emphasized last week by NetSuite at its SuiteWorld user conference in San Jose, CA. Likewise, Microsoft, at its Dynamics CRM user conference in Atlanta in March, stressed the melding of ERP, CRM, and other business applications to create a single view of the business and all of its dealings with customers.

Sherman also noted that because of this melding of technologies, Aptean is working diligently on integrations between all of its products, "delivering industry-specific business intelligence from all of these sources."

Matt Keenan, vice president of CRM product management at Aptean, also alluded to the merging of CRM and ERP technologies, saying the two solution types are really becoming extensions of one another.

As such, Aptean is looking to create "out-of-the-box integrations purpose-built for specific industries," Keenan said during an exclusive interview with CRM magazine.

Keenan reitrerated Aptean's commitment to continue offering its separate product lines—a theme stressed Tuesday during the first day of the conference, but said the company is always looking to add to them. Among the capabilities being developed, he said, are mobility, business intelligence and analytics, and cloud deployment options. Also tied to these efforts are greater data-sharing capabilities between the company's product lines and greater social media capabilities that can be applied across all areas of the business, he added.

According to Keenan, Aptean will look to develop social media monitoring and reporting capabilities on its own and to partner with other vendors as well. "Tactically, we want to be able to deliver social intelligence," he says.

Social, he maintains, is the greatest area of potential change for CRM, noting that the phone and email are not only shrinking in use but aren't expected to change much. Areas where he expects to see greater attention from Aptean include other digital interaction platforms, such as Web chat and text messaging.

In particular, he said these channels will need to become multilingual and multicultural. "Just as you can press one for Spanish [during a phone call], we'll need to offer those options in SMS, email, and chat," he says. "It makes no sense for the customer to send an email in Spanish and get a response in English."

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