Sema Group Plc and IBM Corp have finally come down to the wire with their long gestating joint venture, which sees them joining forces against German software giant SAP AG, by combining their two computer-integrated manufacturing products. They have agreed to develop a single integrated manufacturing management product that combines IBM’s CIMAPPS architecture and greater […]
Sema Group Plc and IBM Corp have finally come down to the wire with their long gestating joint venture, which sees them joining forces against German software giant SAP AG, by combining their two computer-integrated manufacturing products. They have agreed to develop a single integrated manufacturing management product that combines IBM’s CIMAPPS architecture and greater range of plant management functions, with Sema’s I-Linie financial and accounting management, cost accounting, fixed asset and human resources modules, and will market the combination jointly in Europe. The agreement is yet another move in IBM’s effort to distance itself from applications – on Tuesday, it handed MAPICS over to Marcam Corp (CI No 2,038). Sema acquired I-Linie when it bought ADV/Orga FA Meyer AG of Wilhemshaven in 1990, and both have been marketing their separate products to manufacturers but have had difficulty in expanding their customer bases in face of competition from Walldorf-based SAP’s R/2 and R/3 product, says Tidu Maini, director of marketing for Sema Group. Together, however, the two companies can muster approximately 1,000 customers in Europe. On our own neither of us is as big as SAP, but together we’re talking about almost the same numbers, Maini said. A SAP spokesman said its customer sites in Europe, as of the end of March, numbered 1,550 and the the Sema Group-IBM agreement does not worry the company a bit. Sema has been looking for a partner to help market and fund development for I-Linie for months. Since it bought ADV/Orga, the product has proven too costly to handle alone. In 1991, for example, it accounted for about half Sema’s total internal research budget, or about $156,000. Maini said the agreement does not mean I-Linie users must begin worrying about the cost of conerting their software to CIMAPPS. We’re proposing that customers continue to use what they have from us, and eventually migrate to CIMAPPS. Right now, the way we’ve tied the two products together is through the database. CIMAPPS is based on IBM’s DB2 and we’re on IBM’s DL/1, but we’ve developed a common interface so that you can exchange data between the two. It’s a convenient, inexpensive way of doing things, he said. Maini added that Sema would migrate I-Linie to DB2 entirely if it makes commercial sense, but I expect that many users will just keep using them side by side. Customers that choose to migrate their software will get support from both companies. Sema and IBM will eventually rename the two software as one product, but neither a date nor a potential name has been decided. The two say they will both market the total range of products and offer a complete service for them, from consultancy to systems integration. They plan to demonstrate the I-Linie and CIMAPPS working together between two customer sites at CeBIT in Hanover in March and say they hope to deliver the integrated product in June or July.