The first announcement concerned its Smarter Business Intelligence (BI) initiative. This builds on the real-time, embedded and pre-packaged analytics delivered with Epicor 9. The new initiative is designed to leverage the model driven service-oriented architecture (SOA) of Epicor ERP, as well as advanced analytic and cloud computing technologies offered by Microsoft to bring more valuable insights, predictability and performance guidance to businesses who are increasingly focused on effective organisation wide execution and growth through innovation. The development is based on Microsoft’s SQL Server PowerPivot and the Windows Azure platform. Epicor ERP offers a variety of end user focused tools as standard, including business activity queries, operational reporting and role-based dashboards that can be mashed up with more advanced analytics to create powerful composite applications on the web, within Microsoft SharePoint or on mobile devices securely, easily and without recourse to IT resources.
The key value to the Epicor Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) platform is provision of pre-packaged industry analytics. The first of these, Epicor Advanced Financial Reporting (AFR) was delivered with Epicor 9.05 earlier this year. Designed for business users, AFR builds upon Epicor Financial Management applications to meet advanced financial reporting needs. Epicor announced that there is in development a new Microsoft Windows Azure based service that will offer financial budgeting and extensive operational modeling versions, and is expected to leverage Microsoft’s new in-memory and data discovery analysis tool, PowerPivot, for comprehensive modeling of extended and larger data volumes
The second announcement made by Epicor was a new enhanced Enterprise 2.0 strategy, designed to provide customers with practical and manageable benefits from social technologies within enterprise applications. Epicor’s strategy is focused on two key aspects:
- It enables businesses to leverage the power of collaborative participation via social networking tools to make business applications easier and more engaging, ultimately empowering knowledge workers and improving overall business agility and responsiveness.
- It enables businesses and users to control and manage the flow of information they receive, for improved relevancy without information overload.
Epicor have stated that their aim is to add a social voice to ERP by integrating status updates, news feeds and broader SharePoint communities to provide an even more powerful tool to achieve best-in-class business performance. Epicor also announced that under development was Epicor Activity Streams that will allow users to follow notifications posted by the system along with contributions from other users. Epicor Activity Streams will also be federated with Microsoft SharePoint Sites, Content, Search and Communities
Both these announcement show that the ERP war is hotting up as the need to support business being more agile and collaborative.