Janome moves to ‘Webify’ ERP

Sewing machine distributor Janome has taken up the challenge to adopt a Web services architecture for its ERP system in a bid to rectify "non-existent" communication with its suppliers, according to the company's IT administrator Scott Langford.

Claiming the time is right for Web services, Langford said the move to Web services is "not cheap" but will pay for itself within four years.

“I don’t see Web services as something new and scary, even though ERP is a central business system and is a lot different to Web-based e-mail,” he said.

“Web-based ERP will allow us to move from ISDN to DSL and open an entire new market through our dealers who will be able to view the status of orders in a customisable dealer menu.”

Langford said the company runs its in-house accounting and distribution system on an iSeries which will be replaced with another one when Janome goes live with the Odyssey Web-based ERP application.

"We looked at moving to an Intel platform but we don’t have the money to spend on support staff. At around $80,000 the new iSeries system is twice as expensive as other systems we considered, but they basically manage themselves. They are grouse!" Langford added.

Janome chose Odyssey after reviewing Great Plains and other Windows-based ERP packages.

“Windows ERP packages would require an additional Citrix server which requires additional management,” he said. “Odyssey is highly configurable as dealer policies are written in Java and the company that developed it, Midcomp has been supporting Janome for a while.”

IBM’s worldwide director of applied Web services, Dr Jason Weisser, said there is still misunderstanding as to what Web services is and how it can be applied to business.

“Web services is an overused term,” he said.

“It needs to be put into the context of business process frameworks. Web services fuels the communication layer.”

Weisser said customers have been reluctant to adopt Web services because of security and quality of service concerns.

“These are technical realities that the organisation has to deal with, but now in many parts of the world broadband Internet connections are the norm,” he said.

“IT executives need to understand that Web services is no longer risk-based. It is dependable, reliable, and predictable.”

IBM Australia and New Zealand’s e-business integration solutions leader, Fred Balboni, said Australian CIOs are addressing these infrastructure issues by “not slackening off” network investments.

“CIOs ask me how to take advantage of existing assets on the path to Web services,” Balboni said. “We look at how to accomplish this.”