SoftEnable Technology Ltd, an associate company of CityU Enterprises, won the Platinum Award in the Manufacturing Category of the 2005 Hong Kong Outstanding Software Applications Competition, organized by Oracle, HP and Intel.
The winning software is called SEpiere, a fully integrated ERP (enterprise resource planning) system for trading and manufacturing companies.
Winning awards for excellence in IT and software design gives due recognition to City University of Hong Kong’s commitment to applied research.
“This is very significant for us,” said Professor Horace Ip, Chair Professor in the Department of Computer Science (CS) at CityU and President of SoftEnable. “It’s great that the impact of our work is being recognized by Oracle, HP and Intel which are three of the largest multinational companies in the IT industry.”
This latest accolade follows a string of successes in the past three years. SoftEnable won Silver in the IT Excellence Awards 2002; a Certificate of Merit in Technological Achievement in the 2003 Hong Kong Awards for Industry; and first prize in the health category in the Asia Pacific ICT Awards in 2003.
According to Dr S L Chan, the CEO of SoftEnable, the SEpiere software has the potential to transform ERP. “Most existing ERP systems can only handle discrete product manufacturing, but our system can also handle a complex manufacturing process, from transport and storage to temperature control and shelf-life,” he said.
A major selling point for SEpiere, especially today because of stories in the media about the quality of food, is the built-in quality control capacity. “Our software helps ensure health standards as food is transported from factories and depots to the supermarkets,” Dr Chan said. “It makes sure international food safety standards such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, or HACCP, are followed.”
HACCP is used in the food industry to identify potential safety hazards and ensure food is fit for consumption.
Dr Ken Law, Associate Professor in the CS and Vice-President of SoftEnable, said this aspect of quality control meant SoftEnable was being recognized not just for technical achievements but also for the social impact of its products.
Some of the technologies for SEpiere were developed at the Centre for Innovative Applications of Internet and Multimedia Technologies (AIMtech Centre), one of three applied strategic development centres at CityU.
“Once the technology was developed and tested at AIMtech, it was transferred to SoftEnable where technology transfer and commercialization took place,” Dr Law said.
This process demonstrates that CityU has an effective through-train that carries ideas from initial conception through to commercial consolidation and marketing.