The provider of industry-specific ERP systems last week launched versions of its Prophet 21 and Eclipse software with features designed to improve distributors’ e-commerce operations.

Epicor Software Corp., known for its enterprise resource planning software designed for manufacturers and distributors, is focusing more on digital technology applications designed to help companies better interact with customers, executives said last week.

“We’re spending more on technology as a percent of revenue,” CEO Steve Murphy said at the annual Epicor Insights users conference in Nashville, Tenn. He declined to be more specific.

Murphy added that Epicor is noticing that manufacturers are getting more involved in distribution, while more distributors are also getting into manufacturing. As a result, he said, companies need ERP systems that are easier to deploy and integrate with customer-serving applications.

Epicor announced at the conference several upgrades to its ERP systems for distributors—Epicor Prophet 21 and Epicor Eclipse—including features designed for selling products on the marketplace or via a distributor’s own e-commerce site. Prophet 21 and Eclipse each integrate with Epicor Commerce Connect for offering e-commerce operations.

The improvements for Prophet 21 include:

  • Carton Packing—a software tool designed especially for sending products to and chain retailers.
  • API V2—an upgraded application programming interface for improved connections with online data services for distributors that want to adding manufacturing services to their distribution operations.
  • XL Connect 7—a new data analysis module designed to work with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for generating ad-hoc reports and analytics data through instant connectivity to Prophet 21 data.

For Eclipse, which is designed for wholesalers in the plumbing, electrical and heating/ventilation/air-conditioning industries, improvements include:

  • Product Data Warehouse—upgraded with interactive screens for an improved user experience.
  • Epicor Commerce Connect—a cloud-based B2B e-commerce application with new features for a distributor’s customers to check order status, specify a required delivery date and making payments.
  • Epicor Data Analytics—a tool for analyzing ways to reduce operating costs and identifying sales opportunities.

Epicor also announced an expanded arrangement with Microsoft Corp. to use its Azure cloud data centers worldwide, a move that will help Epicor expand operations outside of North America, Murphy said. Epicor will initially standardize cloud deployment of its Epicor ERP for manufacturers and Prophet 21 on Microsoft Azure, he added.

“We are seeing more than three quarters of prospects ask about cloud ERP,” Murphy said. Cloud technology currently accounts for 8% to 10% of Epicor’s business, but is rapidly increasing, he added.

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