Acta Gets Active

  • Written By: M. Reed
  • Published: May 25 2000

Acta Gets Active
M. Reed - May 25, 2000

Event Summary

Active Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASWX), a provider of e-business infrastructure software products, and Acta Technology, Inc., an e-commerce data platform vendor, today announced a partnership that hopes to enable real-time business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce.

The combined solution can enable organizations to access enterprise data over the Internet, providing a real-time, online dialogue with customers and partners. By providing a flow of information across a wide variety of data sources, organizations may be able to rapidly access the critical information they need for transactions and business analysis - which can lead to profitable increases in customer satisfaction and sales.

According to the companies, in the Internet Economy, organizations must use new business channels - including e-marketplaces and direct e-commerce over the Web - to operate faster and more effectively. These new channels are creating heavy demands for detailed and historical data such as order status, product availability, year-to-date purchases, open invoices, early-payment incentives, etc., that is locked away in back-office systems. Fast, easy access to this data improves efficiency throughout the enterprise and the entire supply chain. The combination of Active Software's ActiveWorks Integration System, and the Acta eCommerce Data Platform, may enable organizations to gain rapid access to information from a wide variety of data sources to meet the data-intensive demands of B2B e-commerce.

"The extended enterprise needs frequent, real-time access to all types of pre- and post-order information across a variety of different systems and applications," said Acta President and CEO Carol Mills Baldwin. "By working with a leading eBusiness infrastructure company such as Active Software, we can provide enterprises with an integrated scalable solution for their eCommerce needs."

Under the terms of the agreement, Acta will develop an ActiveWorks Adapter for the Acta eCommerce Data Platform. The Acta Adapter will enable organizations to access data in real-time from a wide variety of sources including Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP and IBM mainframe systems using CICS and IMS. With this solution, companies will be able to provide rapid, click-speed response times to serve the multitude of customers and vendors who request information via the Web, leading to profitable increases in customer satisfaction and sales. The Acta Adapter is expected to be available from Acta in the fall of 2000.

"Active Software provides proven solutions for automating end-to-end business processes both within the enterprise and with customers and B2B trading partners across the Internet," said Chet Kapoor, Vice President, Business Development, Active Software. "Real B2B eCommerce requires automation of business processes across a range of systems in real-time. Our combined solution with Acta is being designed to meet these rigorous requirements and allows our customers to very quickly realize the full benefits of end-to-end B2B eCommerce."

Market Impact

Acta has a strong presence in the extract/transform/load field in the vertical area of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Active Software is strong in the area of enterprise application integration. The combination of the two should provide a compelling solution to e-business when used with back end ERP systems. The challenge will be to create an integrated product that is not a "suite", but a truly combined solution. What Acta refers to as an adapter is nothing more than a program module coded against both vendor's API's in order to allow the exchange of data. Whether the adapter is efficient and has good performance is another question.

User Recommendations

Customers investigating B2B e-commerce solutions should include the Active/Acta solution set on a long list of candidates for a technology selection. The vendors should be questioned as to how strong the alliance is (i.e., are they co-developing the Acta adapter), and when the adapter will be generally available (currently stated as "Fall of 2000"). Customers needing a quicker solution should investigate vendors already in the market with the required technology (i.e., Informatica and Informix/Ardent).

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