Merant Aims to Ease Back-End ERP Development

SAN MATEO (03/30/2000) - Merant International Ltd. is unveiling early next month a change management module for ERP (enterprise resource planning) suites that will attempt to give users control over configuration and other aspects of ERP back-end development.

The first ERP offering to get configuration and management controls is the Oracle Corp. Applications suite, Merant officials said. Support for other ERP suites such as the one from SAP America's will be coming later this year.

The PVCS ERP Change Manager for Oracle, part of the Merant Egility group of applications, helps users upgrade to the next release of the Oracle suite and avoid having to re-create the customizations already used in production, Merant officials said. Manual reconstruction of customized applications can be time-consuming and costly, they added.

"We are concentrating on ERP because we have determined that there is a change management void in ERP," said Dave Bevers, director of product manager for application change management at Merant.

End-users are just starting to implement effective management of code changes in ERP systems, said Melinda Ballou, an analyst at Meta Group, a market research company in Stamford, Conn. For successful ERP implementations, users need tools to coordinate their efforts with their business requirements and for performance testing prior to making a purchase and after, Ballou said.

"You can expect to see more SCM [software configuration and management] vendors shipping support for key ERP applications over the next 12 to 18 months," Ballou said.

To solidify its efforts in this area, Merant is "in the process of forming a partnership with Oracle," said John Simpson, vice president of product management at Merant. Among the areas under discussion are marketing and support arrangements, Simpson said.

Merant International Ltd., in Rockville, Maryland, is at www.merant.com.

Eugene Grygo is an InfoWorld senior editor.

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