Great Plains Software Inc. has begun shipping release 6.0 of its back-office applications eEnterprise and Dynamics. All components, including its core accounting and enterprise resource planning applications, have been redesigned to run in a new Windows 2000-style interface, says Karen Engel, senior product manager for back-office applications.
Among new features in the release is software that lets field personnel file timesheets via the Internet. E-business applications have been updated, including the order-entry module, which can accept orders in any currency. Multiple payment methods can be used for an order, including gift certificates and multiple credit cards for a single purchase. Multilingual support has been added as well. And E-commerce apps now can be integrated with other systems using the Extensible Markup Language.
The release also includes enhanced report-writing functionality and an enhanced Explorer, which has the look of Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser. Great Plains' Explorer is used to browse the information an employee uses most often.
Dave Kramer, VP and CFO of H.M. Stauffer & Sons Inc. of Leola, Pa., says his company will upgrade as soon as possible because of enhanced E-business capabilities, including the enhanced E.Commerce and E.Order products that comprise the Web storefront. Stauffer produces pressure-treated lumber and builds roof and floor trusses. The company has a primarily Amish customer base, and Kramer says his company is exploring ways to provide kiosks in meeting places or lumber yards for customers to order from his company via the Internet. "The Amish are not against taking advantage of high technology, it is just not permitted in their homes," Kramer says.
The eEnterprise and Dynamics release 6.0 are available immediately in North America. Pricing for pre-configured systems begins at $30,000 in the United States.
Gartner Group analyst Tim Tow says the new release offers a higher degree of functionality and is more tightly integrated with Great Plains' E-commerce products. In addition, Tow says, release 6.0 is integrated with Siebel Systems Inc. CRM software. Great Plains also has said it will integrate its software with Logility Inc.'s supply-chain applications.
This makes release 6.0 the strongest package on the market for companies with revenue of $50 million to $250 million. "Great Plains is offering a comprehensive suite of products that enable small companies to do the kinds of things that previously only large companies could afford to do," says Tow.