SellAgence opts for local solution over tier-one Oracle

Greentree selected as replacement for E-Business Suite

SellAgence, a provider of market management services for manufacturers, has ditched its existing Oracle E-Business Suite software and replaced it with a solution from local business management software vendor Greentree.

SellAgence provides market management services for global brands, such as Procter & Gamble, Ferrero and Kodak, managing around $250 million in retail sales for clients.

SellAgence’s new Greentree business software is a full suite, backed by a financial base, and incorporating inventory and a business intelligence system. It was implemented two months ago at a fraction of the cost of the existing system, says Mark Emirali, IT systems manager of SellAgence. The implementation “wasn’t that difficult”, he says, and the new system is simple enough for people to quickly learn how to use, he says. “The learning curve wasn’t huge,” he says.

A number of different drivers led to the decision to replace Oracle with Greentree, says Emirali. Firstly, the Oracle solution was too large for SellAgence, which employs 100 staff, he says.

“We decided to look for a local solution rather than a global one, and it has worked out really well,” he says.

“It wasn’t that we thought Oracle was bad or anything — it’s been a good system for us, but we wanted a more flexible and simple system that would allow us to easily make changes.”

“We were no longer able to justify the resource required to support a tier one system and the on-going investment required to maintain it,” he adds.

The Greentree solution allows the company to scale up and down cost-effectively, he says.

“Initially it was simply a decision about dollars, but the more we looked at it the more we found that a local provider actually made our business simpler and more flexible to run,” he says.

Local support from Greentree’s partner, Auckland-based Verde, is definitely one of the benefits, says Emirali. Another benefit is cost of ownership.

“Over a three or four year period it is going to be reasonably cheap to run,” he says.

The Greentree solution also requires less resource, especially in terms of maintenance, upgrading and testing, says Emirali. He was also surprised the swap didn’t mean a trade-off in functionality.

“When we changed from Oracle to Greentree we didn’t expect the functionality would be as rich in the smaller system, but a lot of the functionality was there from day one,” he says.

SellAgence has also plugged a data warehousing tool into the system, he says. In addition, Verde has built a couple of add-ons for the product.

“We have quite a complex pricing model and that was initially why we chose Oracle, because it was the only system we could find that could actually do the pricing we needed,” he says. When Emirali started looking for a replacement he didn’t expect to find a system that had an advanced pricing module, he says.

“We knew we would have to modify any system we chose,” he says. “But the Verde guys basically wrote an advanced pricing add-on. It was a big add-on and it has helped us snap into new business really easily.”

John Fothergill, chief operating officer of Verde, says he sees a trend in New Zealand businesses moving from tier one systems to more simple, locally developed and supported systems. Many of the company’s recent clients and prospects use legacy systems and find it is going to be as expensive to upgrade as to re-implement, he says.

“Or, companies have been taken over by ‘globals’ and have been told that they must use the big, global corporate system, and that doesn’t fit the New Zealand business, because it is far too expensive and the costs can’t be justified,” he says.

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