Your Options in Order Management Systems
Though not all of these entry-level systems are literally sold shrink-wrapped, they may share several characteristics:
- They’re inexpensive, costing a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for a handful of users.
- The user sets up the system on his own.
- Users don’t typically get initial training from the vendor, though it may offer some general training classes.
- The systems generally aren’t customized by the vendor for any one user, even though they are, in fact, configurable.
An entry-level system often can help a company to grow. As it does so, you may become aware of limitations in the system’s functionality, and could decide that further growth can be enabled only by a system with broader or more complex capabilities. This isn’t a failing in the entry-level system so much as a natural progression in your company’s growth.
Taken together, the entry-level solutions account for 20 percent to 30 percent of catalog company users.
Non-CMS and entry-level solutions (and the handful of in-house-developed applications) account for roughly half of the installed base in the catalog community. The other half uses enterprise-level systems. Typically, these share the following characteristics:
- They generally cost a few thousand dollars for a basic configuration, but range in the mid-five figures for 12 to 25 users, and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for a large user base.
- System implementation almost always is undertaken by the vendor, or with vendor assistance.
- Training from the vendor is an important and necessary part of getting the system installed.
- The vendor often makes reasonable modifications (at additional cost) to customize the system for each user.
Enterprise Systems can be grouped into four categories:
• Systems based on the Microsoft SQL/Server database (about 400 users). These include Response from CoLinear Systems; CMS from NewHaven Software; Direct 500 from Computer Solutions; Ecometry SQL from Ecometry; 4S for Direct Commerce from Four Seasons Software; InOrder from Morse Data Corp.; and Natural Order from Natural Solutions.