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Manhattan Associates Software Review

 

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Manhattan Associates Software Technology

At the core of SCOPE is a service-oriented architecture (SOA) platform Manhattan calls the Supply Chain Process Platform (SCPP). This underlying platform delivers a consistent data model and shared objects for cross functional and departmental operations, and includes software technology capabilities such as single sign-on (SSO), a shared security model, a common workflow or business process engine, integration gateways and common reporting/analytics tools. The end goal is for SCPP to enable customers to accelerate implementations, more easily integrate to legacy systems, simplify software upgrades, and achieve lower total cost of ownership over time.

The deployment of Manhattan Associates SCOPE products is based on four standard technology stacks.

  1. IBM's AIX, WebSphere and DB2
  2. IBM's AIX, WebSphere and Oracle Database
  3. Red Hat Linux, JBOSS and Oracle Database, or
  4. HPUX, WebLogic and Oracle Database

The SCOPE solution is developed using Java, C++, SQL with stored procedures (on the back end) and HTML with JavaScript (on the front end). Open source components are used, mostly in the areas of jar files provided with the product (spring jars, apache commons, etc.). Database architecture, triggers and integrity constraints make up key elements of the Manhattan Associates software development strategy. Multiple operating system servers are used for supporting functionality, such as browser based UI, print servers and report writers.

Manhattan's other non-SCOPE products are largely based on Microsoft.net technologies and often operate on IBM's iSeries for WMi and SCALE products.

Because Manhattan doesn't provide its customers with the software source code, changing or modifying the code is not an option, unless you engage Manhattan directly. One of the few exceptions is reporting; customers can develop and modify reports using the Crystal Report Writer. The bottom line is if the SCPP tools or configuration variables don't get you the desired results you need, then you will likely need to engage Manhattan professional services.

System Integration Technology

For system integration purposes, Manhattan Associates offers an application programming interface (API) as well as web services and other data exchange tools. SCPP easily integrates all of the SCOPE offerings, sharing information and events between programs. SCPP also exchanges supply chain information and events with MHE and other participants in the supply chain ecosystem.

Integration technology is based on Manhattan Associates Integration Framework (MIF) that provides a relatively open, flexible model for managing the import/export of data. MIF is XML-driven with XML Schemas (XSD). The standard edition supports a variety of protocols and transport mechanisms, including SOAP over HTTP, SOAP over JMS, and XML message queuing. With the enterprise edition, MIF provides a model for data management, including enterprise application integration (EAI) capabilities such as transformation and routing, along with a wider variety of protocol adapters.

Manhattan has a track record supporting industry standards to facilitate trading partner collaboration (VICS EDI, GS1 Bar Codes and EPC). Also, with the Logistics Gateway module, SCOPE expands its capabilities to trading partners and 3PLs lacking EDL/XML capabilities. With a web browser, Manhattan accesses Logistics Gateway's electronic forms to eliminate paperwork, seamlessly integrate with SCOPE and provide greater visibility into the flow of goods and products.

Supply Chain Intelligence (SCI) provides desktop and Microsoft Office integration to Excel, PowerPoint and Word, and access to iPhone, Android, Blackberry's, and Windows mobile devices.

Software Customization Capabilities

Customers can tailor the SCOPE portfolio of SCE solutions within the software constructs via software configuration, the Manhattan Platform Services (which includes User Interface tools for changes to the UI presentation and views) and with the workflow designer. Unless they have unique business or software requirements, they should expect little to no software modifications during the implementation. SCOPE's Studio and underlying SCPP architecture have built in tools and a SOA architecture that addresses many software configuration or customization requirements, such as:

  • Workflow – Defining and managing business processes
  • Business Logic – Managing supply chain elements from planning to execution
  • Optimization – Managing costs and maintaining controls
  • Integration – Exchanging information across system boundaries
  • Presentation – Providing user visibility to supply chain data and events

WMOS uses 3 levels of business process management (BPM) for modeling workflows:

  • Highest Level – workflows that span multiple products and modules
  • Micro Level – WMS-specific business process, and
  • Nano Level – RF and screen behaviors, layouts, sequencing, etc.

Supply Chain Intelligence (SCI) allows for custom analytics, KPIs, dashboards, scorecards and event/alert management.

Customers are not given the source code, so they must engage Manhattan Associates professional services to fix software irregularities or perform software customization. Alternatively, software developers can code to extensions that are made to the SCOPE product, leveraging extensibility points (inward and outward web services). The API or web services permit customers to create front-end applications outside the supply chain software and in the programmers' development language of choice and use the interface to integrate the custom project to the Manhattan software. To avoid compatibility and upgrade problems with software customization changes, Manhattan uses a software management system—the Software Delivery Number (SDN)—to track and manage software changes for each customer.

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