Consona, succeed by vertical industry focus

Recently, I interviewed Mehul Dave, vice president, international operations of Consona in Shanghai. Mr. Mehul Dave talked about the background, core values, strategies and product lines of Consona. Rachel Luo, the sales director, Greater China of Consona also joined the interview.

Recently, I interviewed Mehul Dave, vice president, international operations of Consona in Shanghai. Consona is a global management software vendor which is mainly dedicated in PCB (printed circuit board), high-tech, auto parts, medical devices, industrial equipment and machinery industries. At their Shanghai office, the headquarters in China, Mr. Mehul Dave talked about the background, core values, strategies and product lines of Consona. Rachel Luo, the sales director, Greater China of Consona also joined the interview.


Pei Huang: Consona is a new name for many Chinese, could you please introduce Consona?
Mehul Dave: Sure. I will talk about the background about Consona, company development, core values, strategies and so forth.
Consona has a lot of experience and expertise enterprise solutions. Jeff Tognoni, the CEO of Consona, I and the rest leadership teams have been involved in software for many years. I started a company called Cimnet Systems and it was acquired by Consona in 2005. So Cimnet now is a part of Consona. And I am the international operations VP of Consona.
Consona considers a company that involved in a specific domain should have a product that very tailor to their particular industry management. Accordingly, Consona has several ERP systems to support PCB, electronics, cable, metals, and plastics these specific industries. Consona has two divisions. The first is Consona CRM that is made up of two main products, KNOVA and ONYX. The other is Consona ERP, including AXIS, Cimnet, Intuitive, DTR, ENCOMPIX, M2M and Relevant. Each one is really target to specific markets. For example, Cimnet has the number one ERP market share in the global PCB industry; Axis is a product specializes in wire and cable industries, it has powerful system functions. Consona has many employees with rich experience. They can understand the issues those customers face and provide solutions to the specific problems.
Consona believes that to succeed you really have to focus on your customers. We have had good, stable technologies but we focus more on customers’ care compared with others. Our target is to help our customers achieve continuous business process improvement to obtain their ongoing satisfaction. In Consona, there are 72% employees doing the relevant customer service work.
Consona has over 40 locations, over 4500 customers and more than 600 employees around the world. Our primary selling model is direct sale. Consona is headquartered in Indianapolis. And the headquarters of Consona China is in Shanghai. In China, we set the initial presence through Cimnet and before that we had 4 offices, in Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Suzhou and Guangzhou. And Consona purchased Intuitive ERP enterprise as well. In the middle of 2008, Consona formally entered into China. At present, there are over 60 employees in Consona China, including over 20 developers, over 20 advisers and technical supporters.

Pei: Please review the history of Consona.
Mehul: Consona started from MADE2MANAGE. It was founded in 1986 and went on to the stock market in 1997. Jeff Tognoni and Battery Ventures create M2M Holdings via acquisition and privatization of MADE2MANGE in 2003. From then on, M2M Holdings started acquisition of different companies. The first is DTR, an industry-specific ERP application. Next, M2M Holdings acquired Cimnet Systems, a provider of ERP for printed circuit board manufacturers. During the first half of 2006, M2M Holdings acquired five additional product lines. They are ENCOMPIX, AXIS, Intuitive and so forth. Meanwhile, M2M Holdings acquired ONYX and KNOVA, creating the core of its CRM solution portfolio. In 2007, M2M Holdings changed its name to Consona Corporation to help reflect the vision behind the company’s growing line of ERP and CRM software and services. In 2008, Consona finished the acquisition of Configuration Solutions as well. Now it has two different divisions, CRM and ERP. And there is an only one hosting solution product SupplyWorks.

Product Lines of Consona ERP

Consona can deliver faster implementation mainly because our fit products and vertical solutions. Typically we find in these vertical solutions will achieve 85% fit. We have very little need to do so much customization.
Another strategy of Consona is we will package Intuitive into Cimnet for the whole electronics solutions. We’ve been growing rapidly about 26%, from acquisition growth and also organic growth.

Pei: Compared with other ERP vendors, what are the main features of Consona’s management software?
Mehul: There are four main features: industry-specific but flexible solutions, growth strategy, faster implementation and globalization & global enablement. In all, Consona’s management software means a lower total cost of ownership for customers.

Pei: Normally many companies use channel sales to save cost. Why does Consona choose direct selling?
Mehul: It depends on our core value. We need to know more about our customers, care about the implementation effect, and constantly improve to fit the specific markets.  Thereafter, we could provide the best solutions to our customers and obtain higher satisfactions and loyalty from them. But this is a challenge sometimes when you do the channel model.

Pei: It seems that Consona entering into Chinese market much later than other ERP and CRM vendors. How do you think of it?
Mehul: Cimnet has been in China since 1999. Although Consona directly hasn’t had presences here, Cimnet has had customers and people in China since that time. If you look at the Intuitive history, its partners, GrapeCity and TproSoft, have already operated in China for many years also. Consona is a new name in China, but the history goes back.

Pei: Please introduce the development of Consona in China.
Rachel Luo: For the present, we have over 100 customers in China. In Consona ERP, we have already brought Cimnet and Intuitive into Chinese market. And we are valuing the other product lines as well.
Cimnet has the number one ERP market share in the global PCB industry. There is 50% Cimnet revenue coming from China because China is becoming the leading producer of PCB in the world. PCB is a very engineering intensive business. Cimnet has a unique solution that automates the process of creating. It automates the creation of production flow, typical PCB process, to cut the engineering time a lot, and improve the productivity of engineering easily. And we have many other solutions, like ENGENIX for manufacturing, Paradigm for PCB/FPC and i-Quote which is for sales.
Intuitive has more than 1000 customers in over 20 countries around the world. It has over 20 years experience and 16 languages versions, concentrating on providing specific products and supports for small and mid-sized manufacturing enterprises. Intuitive ERP based on Microsoft .Net technology, easily achieving customization and lower cost. It mainly serves the discrete manufacturing, especially in electronics, equipment manufacturing and auto parts industries. For example, 3 plants of Valeo Group in China have been using our products. We have great confidence in promoting Intuitive ERP.
In addition, the metals and cable manufacturing in China is growing so quickly that we are considering bringing the right product AXIS here for the specific markets. Recently, there is a well-known company in cable industry showing their cooperative intentions to AXIS.

Pei: There are some companies also need the supply chain and EAM solutions after they implement ERP systems. Does Consona provide any relevant solutions?
Mehul: Our product SupplyWorks is the supply chain solution. In the mean time, we also cooperate with third party software companies to provide relevant solutions.


Huang Pei, Rachel and Mehul Dave

About Consona:
Consona Corporation (Consona, formerly known as M2M Holdings Inc.) is a worldwide leader in providing CRM and ERP software and services for companies of all sizes. Consona is dedicated to becoming a valued business partner by helping each and every customer continuously improve business processes over time. Toward this mission, Consona invests in the people, processes, technology and tools needed to provide its customers with a unique combination of customer care; product fit; a broad range of consulting, IT and business services; and industry expertise.
Consona serves more than 4,500 customers worldwide. In China, Consona has Intuitive (aim to high-tech, auto parts, medical devices and industrial equipment and machinery industries) and Cimnet (specialize in PCB), over 20 years localization experience. On the basis of constantly improving customer satisfaction, extending company strength is the strategy of Consona. Consona is dedicated to unceasingly providing fitter and better solutions and services to customers.

Recorder&Editor: Sophie Shi  ss@e-works.net.cn

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