The Enterprise Software Landscape

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1 The Enterprise Software Landscape The ability to respond quickly to shifting consumer preferences and marketplace demands is a key competitive advantage for fashion industry businesses. Technology, particularly enterprisewide software, can unite processes and data, allowing today s apparel company to run efficiently and cost-effectively. As a fast-growing number fashion companies recognize this investment as a critical and strategic factor for their operational success, what does the future hold for the enterprise software landscape and which advances will help businesses flourish and grow? White Paper

2 A Simparel WHITEPAPER The Enterprise Software Landscape ABOUTSIMPAREL Designed for the apparel, footwear, accessories, home furnishings and other soft goods industries, Simparel empowers brands, manufacturers and vertical retailers to reach their full potential by accelerating and improving performance across the entire business and global supply chain. The Simparel Enterprise Solution provides global process visibility, control and collaboration by combining traditionally independent Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Sourcing & Supply Chain Management (SCM), Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Warehouse Management (WMS) and other productivity tools into a single, fashion-focused business system. The next-generation Simparel software architecture is simpler to deploy and offers greater scalability, performance and total cost of ownership than traditional enterprise solutions. Clients routinely report cost reductions and increased agility and responsiveness across their product development, sourcing, manufacturing, distribution and other business processes with Simparel. SIXFUTURETRENDS The ability to respond quickly to shifting consumer preferences and marketplace demands is a key competitive advantage for fashion industry businesses. With more product cycles squeezed into every season, it s more important than ever to build and sustain brand equity with high-quality, trend-right products. Technology, particularly enterprise-wide software, can unite processes and data, allowing today s apparel company to run efficiently and cost-effectively. Modern enterprise solutions can enable smoother and more cost-effective operations, improved decision-making, higher customer satisfaction and stronger revenues. Many fashion businesses are now asking themselves an important question: Is our current ERP solution helping or hindering our ability to successfully compete in our market? Traditional fashion ERP solutions have evolved over many years to encompass millions of lines of computer code. Unlike the fashion industry itself, where fresh looks and innovation rule the day, some apparel ERP software has not changed much since its introduction. But change is afoot. Forward-thinking software vendors are recognizing and delivering on the need for advanced, fashionspecific enterprise solutions. The term ERP itself does not do justice to the latest software generation. New enterprise-wide solutions encompass not only ERP functionality but also product lifecycle management (PLM), materials resource planning (MRP), supply chain management (SCM), warehouse management (WMS), EDI and more. Companies actively engaged in wholesale apparel design, sales and distribution usually have at least a basic ERP solution. They often face their first big IT challenge when they are ready to take their businesses to the next level of success. Fashion companies are recognizing that investment in an advanced enterprise solution is a critical and strategic factor for their operational success. What does the future hold for the fashion enterprise software landscape? What advances will help fashion businesses gain the agility to flourish and grow?

3 ERP Enterprise Resource Planning PLM Product Lifecycle Management SCM Supply Chain Management MRP This paper examines how apparel and fashion enterprise solutions have evolved, presenting six major trends and opportunities. TRENDONE Embracing a Comprehensive Solution Model An increasing number of fashion businesses are adopting comprehensive enterprise solutions to manage most of their business processes. This trend has gained momentum for several reasons. While legacy ERP and best-of-breed solutions typically offer powerful specialized functionality, they often are standalone systems that isolate business processes and data. Drawbacks include segmented data silos, inefficient and error-prone manual processes (such as duplicate data entry), reduced data validity and difficulty managing and reconciling information from multiple sources. These drawbacks directly impact bottom-line business performance. When a fashion company moves to a comprehensive enterprise solution platform, it is much better equipped to support the next level of growth. Centralized information flow enables organizationwide collaboration and real-time visibility into inventories, orders and production processes. Advanced enterprise solutions offer built-in functionality for handling all types of production processes so that users can leverage these capabilities from day one of their installation. With older ERP packages, it was typical for functionality to be bolted on over time, often resulting in differing technical platforms. Product lifecycle management (PLM), for example, traditionally has required a second technology backbone, supplementing the core ERP system. Yet now PLM is an integral part of newer enterprise solutions, along with supply chain and warehouse management capabilities. By managing the inherent integration between design and manufacturing processes, these advanced enterprise solutions allow for easy adoption of styles and all their supporting data. Production processes then flow faster and more efficiently. As a result, fashion businesses gain the agility to anticipate and respond quickly to consumer demand and market conditions. Materials Requirements Planning TRENDTWO Accelerating Business With Collaboration and Mobility Collaboration enables fashion manufacturers to better communicate with supply chain partners, reducing inefficiencies and costs. Effective collaboration can enhance many business processes and information flows, such as manufacturing status updates, communications tracking and interactive development of customized assortments. Collaboration has become a necessary and strategic differentiator. By embracing an all-in-one enterprise solution model, apparel companies ensure that their processes and data are centralized to provide a singular view of critical information about inventories,

4 WMS Warehouse Management System EDI Electronic Data Interchange FMS Financial Management System ITS Information Technology Services orders, customers and production plans. They can share that information in global communications online and in real-time between departments, with customers and with vendors. Further advancements in today s enterprise solutions involve mobility. With modern technologies, companies can leverage mobile tools to reduce costs while providing exceptional customer service from anywhere, any time. For example, sales representatives can present and sell apparel products using mobile apps on hand-held devices. These same applications enable salespeople to collaborate with buyers interactively to build line plans and orders. A seamless (and paperless) flow of data from the mobilized enterprise solution empowers both the buyer and the sales force. The sales team can sync data on the mobile device to determine real-time inventory availability, opening possibilities to offer immediate deals to close the sale. TRENDTHREE Enabling Expansion Through Scalable Enterprise Software Fashion-related businesses want an all-encompassing IT solution that not only fits their current needs and budget but also suits their plans for the future. It is essential for an enterprise solution to scale easily and cost effectively as the business changes and expands. Legacy and best-of-breed software programs often struggle to evolve with corporate transformation and growth. The initial integration of best-of-breed software with back-office systems can be costly and cumbersome. Subsequent support and upgrades add complexity and expense. By comparison, when most business processes are managed by a single solution, there is no question as to whether an upgrade will cause operational failures or disconnects. Advanced enterprise solutions can accommodate businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to major manufacturers. They are designed to scale with the fashion business as it flourishes. This scalability is especially important as more fashion-related companies increase market share by branching out into complementary verticals. For example, if an apparel company enters the footwear sector, the company s enterprise solution must accommodate shoe sizes and widths. Therefore, it s crucial to evaluate an enterprise solution for its flexibility and adaptability to support new product categories and business models. TRENDFOUR Taking Control with Developer Tool Kits Many fashion-related businesses have internal software development teams to support their legacy solutions. These teams traditionally have handled the need to customize software programs to fit specific business processes or meet requirements for future expansion.

5 TRENDONE Embracing a Comprehensive Solution Model TRENDTWO Accelerating Business With Collaboration and Mobility TRENDTHREE Enabling Expansion Through Scalable Enterprise Software TRENDFOUR Taking Control with Developer Tool Kits TRENDFIVE Moving Faster with Modern Technology TRENDSIX Controlling Costs With Cloud Computing Modifications to older systems can be time-consuming and tedious. However, with newer enterprise software, vendors are providing embedded development tool kits. These kits enable the internal IT staff to handle various levels of technical support for the enterprise solution. They can efficiently make changes and add new reports. Internal teams also are empowered to provide ongoing support of the system, offering valuable and measureable savings to the organization. To take full advantage of developer tool kits, it is important to partner with an enterprise solution vendor offering flexible support terms. The right relationship can lead to lower ongoing maintenance costs and earlier return on investment. TRENDFIVE Moving Faster with Modern Technology The latest generation of enterprise software utilizes metadata tables in the computing code. This type of software architecture differs dramatically from that of older solutions, which are built on millions of lines of programming code. The legacy software code is difficult to support and costly to maintain. A programming change, such as expanding a style number, can be a time-consuming process. Such changes also are prone to error because they each must be coded, compiled and implemented manually in every place the system will call on that change. Fast forward to today s technology. In an advanced enterprise solution with a metadata environment, a change is made one time to a table. The change then permeates automatically throughout the software system. This metadata-driven model accelerates solution development. It enables customizations and changes to be implemented quickly, with fewer errors and less cost, increasing return on investment. TRENDSIX Controlling Costs With Cloud Computing Cloud computing has changed the delivery, cost of ownership, management and support of software systems across the IT spectrum. Today, businesses have multiple options for how they choose to deploy enterprise solutions. There are different choices for controlling the costs associated with each computing environment. Cloud technology offers flexibility and scalability. Because it is hosted remotely, cloud software also enables businesses to channel more resources into strategic business activities and products as opposed to hardware, software and specialized IT staff to support an on-premises solution. For some fashion companies, cloud-based software is the ideal model for enterprise solution deployment to fit business demands today and tomorrow.

6 53 W. 36th Street, 11th Floor New York, NY TRENDCONCLUSIONS Fashion Enterprise Software Trends: Conclusions The fashion ERP software landscape has changed dramatically over the years. In fact, the technology has finally caught up to the fast-changing business environment it supports. No longer must apparel businesses settle for legacy technologies or make painful tradeoffs between much-needed capabilities and unacceptable upgrading costs. For the robust functionality they require, there are advanced, industry-specific enterprise solutions like Simparel. This new generation of all-in-one technology is comprehensive enough to manage the entire fashion enterprise. It enables global collaboration and anytime-anywhere mobility. Finally, it is scalable and flexible enough to evolve with ever-changing business needs. The future of apparel enterprise software is here.

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