Walker shuns ERP

Under the leadership of a new European managing director, Nick Caplin, Aylesbury-based Walker International is trying to shake off the enterprise resource planning label.

‘Walker is focused by industry sector – that’s where our customer value is,’ Caplin told IT File.

Since taking over from Paul Lord, who moved to California as vice president of research & development last December, Caplin has reorganised the company into divisions. These divisions cater for process industries such as oil and gas, and service-oriented sectors, including finance, transport, utilities and retail.

In each of the industry groups, Caplin has established software teams to configure Walker’s client/server, mainframe and asset management products for their special requirements.

The group has tweaked a new OLAP Reporting and Analysis tool in Walker’s Horizon suite to create forecasting and planning packages for utility customers, and is looking at special versions for each of its other market sectors. It is also working on electronic procurement packages, and has built a ‘smart enterprise asset management’ system for process industries on the back of the Immpower program.

Caplin, who used to work as a business consultant with Ernst & Young, is also laying plans to build up Walker’s presence among the Big Five consultancies. Walker has worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers consultants to implement a system for the National Trust, and it hopes to build on that relationship.

‘The Big Five is quite a challenging environment for us because of the way they’re organised,’ said Caplin.

Without the cross-industry reach of the bigger ERP vendors, Walker is hoping to groom adherents among practice managers who serve Walker’s core industries.

To help speed up the process, the company is looking to recruit a relationship manager.

‘The age of the single vendor supplying all the software into an enterprise is being questioned,’ said Caplin. ‘Consultants tend to talk about ERP, but there is no common technology for consolidating and budgeting. We’re not backing away from the SAP league, but we have the capability to supply the core financial components in conjunction with other ERP providers.’

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