Agilera: Making E-Business Agile
Written By: A. Turner
Published On: July 31 2000
Agilera: Making E-Business Agile
Agilera's heritage of hosting enterprise solutions goes back to the late
1990's when Ciber Enterprise Outsourcing, a wholly owned Ciber subsidiary,
began to manage customer operations, maintenance and support of their
ERP systems. Agilera was formed in March 2000 through a joint venture
with Ciber, Verio and Centennial Funds. Agilera offers a combination of
IT expertise, infrastructure, strategic counsel and e-business fulfillment
services to emerging and middle-market companies.
utilizes Verio's Internet infrastructure, including their data and network
control centers and business processing centers, featuring technology
from HP, IBM, Compaq, Dell, Cisco, 3Com and Citrix. CIBER offers the resources
of 6,000 professionals with successful implementation and integration
experience of more than 3,500 enterprise solution projects.
this joint venture, Verio has invested $30 million and owns 39 percent
of the company. Centennial Ventures, a venture capital firm, has invested
$15 million and owns 19 percent. CIBER contributed its ASP subsidiary,
CIBER Enterprise Outsourcing, representing a 42 percent interest. Agilera
is headquartered in Englewood, Colo., which is also home to both CIBER
and Verio's worldwide operations.
has hosting partnerships with vendors of ERP, CRM and e-commerce software,
including PeopleSoft/Vantive, Lawson Software, J.D.Edwards, BroadVision,
Rightworks, Symix, Frontstep, Commerce One and Ariba. Agilera's knowledge
base allows them to provide service solutions and proactive IT counsel.
They offer services, such as a "personalized enterprise view" that aggregates
in-house and Agilera's hosted applications. Agilera's solutions are delivered
via the Internet or virtual private network (VPN). Additional value added
services include e-business fulfillment services ranging from distribution
and print services, to human resources administration and payroll processing.
offers a browser-based solution that provides a view of each user's applications
including enterprise software and legacy systems. The Enterprise View
allows users to monitor information within their scope of responsibilities.
This browser-based tool (portal) allows users to view personalized data
relating to enterprise applications and/or legacy data without launching
the actual applications. Should they need to act on the information, they
can launch the related application directly from the Enterprise View.
offers two hosting and application platform services. They are the Extended
Enterprise (XE) and Extended Platform (XP) services.
Extended Enterprise (XE)
The Extended Enterprise product offers end-user organizations the ability
to extend their current information technology (IT) systems via an ASP
model. Customers have the option of sourcing Agilera's menu of enterprise
applications along with their existing systems in an integrated interface
known as the Enterprise View.
Extended Platform (XP)
Agilera's Extended Platform (XP) offers Independent Software Vendors
(ISV), value added resellers (VARS), Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
and technology service providers the ability to utilize Agilera's facilities,
expertise and network to deliver their applications. The XP product
is offered in an OEM, co-branded, and Agilera-branded methods.
solutions are categorized into four major areas:
Infrastructure - the core technology components including physical
facilities, servers, storage devices.
Operations - the communications facilities, protocols, processes,
and architecture to network both internal and external operations into
a seamless computing environment.
Services - Application solutions such as B2B e-commerce, ERP, CRM,
messaging, and other productivity services.
Integration Hub - the Integration Hub provides integration between
Infrastructure and Network Operations:
As a joint-venture
partner with Verio, Agilera leverages Verio's global network to deliver
its enterprise solutions. Verio provides a high capacity national backbone,
24-hour Network Operations Center (NOC) and support services.
Verio offers a Tier One Backbone with over 200 Points of Presence:
Network links Agilera's local points of presence to each other and to
the key national exchange points - MAE West, MAE East, NY NAP and the
Digital Internet Exchange, located in Palo Alto, California. The network
features OC12, OC3, and DS3 links, as well as Cisco 12000 series gigabit
switch router technology, and Juniper Networks M40 Internet Backbone routers
that connect the national exchange points and Agilera access points. Regional
networks and carrier class POP facilities connect to one of the access
points located in metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Network
capacity has been increased to OC12 and OC3 capabilities and additional
access points are being added.
Application Hosting Services:
the processing and communication infrastructure required to host applications.
This includes data center operations, WAN communications control centers,
network operating systems support, hardware and software maintenance (program
temporary fixes, bug fixes, release upgrades), and related technical personnel.
On May 17,
2000 Agilera announced the opening of a new, Eastern Operations Center
in Columbia, South Carolina. Agilera has plans to open two additional
operations centers within the next twelve months. The newest center has
direct connectivity to the Verio data centers, allowing Agilera to monitor
the service delivery from the application infrastructure across the network
into the data center.
operations centers combine data center, co-location, network operations,
BPO and customer care.
Application Hosting Categories:
Resource Planning (ERP)
Chain Management (SCM)
Relationship Management (CRM)
designed its Integration Hub to provide flexibility for client operations.
The Hub allows the integration of legacy systems and applications from
other vendors. Using the Hub, combined with client customized scripts,
an Agilera solution is delivered as an interface on a client's desktop,
showing critical views into systems operation. It provides clients with
one "clickable" view of the business, based on an individual viewer's
clients access to applications and support on a per user monthly fee basis.
All ASP services are backed by service-level agreements (SLA) with guaranteed
up time, redundancy and peering points.
Strategy and Trajectory
Backed by the resources of a large enterprise software implementer, Agilera
is working to build a record of large-scale systems implementations. Agilera's
model is highly leveragable because of its relationship with Ciber. The
company's focus is on emerging and middle market enterprises with specific
interest in Retail, Manufacturing and Financial Services.
competes with other Application Service Providers, such as USinternetworking,
Corio, Qwest CyberSolutions, JDe.sourcing, Oracle Business OnLine and
PeopleSoft eCenter. Within the consulting arena, the "Big 5" organizations
do not represent an immediate threat, however Agilera is concerned about
their entry into the ASP market as they bring immediate brand/name recognition
and breadth/depth of expertise.
to Agilera's research, the current dollar size of the market is between
$600 and $900 million and is growing at a CAGR of 90%. . While figures
cannot be disclosed, Agilera is funding an aggressive marketing program.
The initiative includes direct mailing, advertising and industry sponsorship
activities. With a sales force of 25+ Agilera is pursuing opportunities
within its defined vertical markets and leveraging its channel partners
including Ciber and Verio. While existing customers have requested global
support, the company is concentrating its sales and marketing efforts
on the domestic North American market.
Business Model: Agilera's business model allows them to focus on
the application and service delivery while Verio attends to the network
infrastructure and Ciber focuses on packaged enterprise software. This
arrangement goes beyond the regular commercial arrangements that other
ASPs have. Ciber and Verio are financially invested in Agilera, therefore
their service delivery impacts Agilera's. They have incentives to provide
top quality service.
Relationship: Verio provides locally based sales and engineering support
for Internet services in 41 of the top 50 metropolitan statistical areas
in the U.S. and provides Web hosting services to customers in over 170
countries. In the first quarter of 2000, Verio had served over 200,000
customer accounts, including over 395,000 hosted Web sites. With a 39
percent stake in Agilera, Verio's resources and architecture is a natural
benefit to the Application Service Provider.
Implementation Consulting: CIBER combines its array business and technical
expertise to create solutions that solve an enterprise's complex requirements
linking to customers, suppliers and partners, satisfying end-user demand
and entering new markets. CIBER delivers services designed to enable e.Business:
strategic management and IT consulting, enterprise applications, enterprise
and network integration, application hosting, and custom business solutions.
than 2,000 customers utilize CIBER's expertise. Based in Englewood, Colo.,
their consultants serve client businesses from 35 CIBER offices, 15 DigiTerra
offices and four Interactive Papyrus / Waterstone (now named NeoVation)
offices in the U.S., Canada and Europe. CIBER maintains a 42 percent stake
Agilera has certified partnerships with vendors of ERP, CRM and e-commerce
software including PeopleSoft, Lawson Software, J.D. Edwards, Commerce
One, BroadVision, Symix/Frontstep and Ariba. These partnerships allow
Agilera to provide the related solutions and offer proactive IT counsel.
Sales Efforts: Agilera's 25+ person sales team is leveraging the business
connections of Verio and CIBER along with vendor partnerships to establish
their client base. Tapping the resources of CIBER's new and existing client
base and those of Verio, coupled with referrals from their software partners
will provide considerable exposure.
View and The Hub: Agilera's Enterprise View allows users to access
applications through their desktops via a "clickable" desktop. This "rule
based" value added service connects various applications and legacy data
to improve business efficiencies. Few Application Service Providers offer
a similar service.
Expertise in Vertical Markets: Agilera's challenge lies in the
developing deep expertise in vertical markets. The ability to develop
end-to-end solutions by vertical industry and selecting the best alliance
partners is a must that Agilera cannot fail to execute on.
Recognition: With competitors such as USinternetworking and Corio
establishing market share, Agilera is challenged with creating a brand
View/The Hub & API's: While the Enterprise View is listed as a strength,
it also represents a challenge. The Hub and Enterprise View is dependent
on API's (Application Program Interface scripts) to connect and exchange
data. In order to "connect" the tool, the API's must be programmed and
tested. This requires customized programming. Additionally, most enterprise
environments consist of multiple systems and disparate data sources. As
each system may be different, implementations of the Hub and Enterprise
View may require significant time to connect.
ASP's: With industry analysts predicting the ASP market to be $20
- $40 billion by 2003, there are many new Application Service Providers
emerging. Not only should Agilera be concerned about competition from
pure play ASP's, but global organizations such as IBM and Ernst & Young
have expressed interest in pursuing ASP initiatives. Additionally, telecommunication
providers (AT&T, MCI, Lucent, Nortel) have launched infrastructure support
for ASP's. Finally, even the software vendors themselves (i.e., PeopleSoft,
Lawson, Oracle, SAP, etc) are creating Application Service Provider business
practices. The resulting challenge is Agilera must establish partnerships
and a sizable implementation/support track record before the market outpaces
has the opportunity to create a sizable market share and presence if it
executes quickly. It is critical to establish a track record of implementations
and support within the vertical industries described. Once established,
the company will become a more attractive partner to software companies
who deliver, and anticipate delivering, ASP applications. With the current
infrastructure and resources we anticipate the company will enjoy a 70%
degree of success.
be successful, Agilera will need to execute on marketing and sales efforts,
maintain strong communication among business elements and deliver & support
functional solutions on time and within budget.
the long term, Agilera and other ASP's must be cognizant of the tremendous
growth occurring within the Application Service Provider marketplace.
Eventually, the market will attain saturation and suffer an inevitable
"shake-out." Agilera stands to survive this evolution by maintaining strong
relationships with its customers, delivering superior support, continually
refining partnerships and improving the scope of its offerings.
respect to the Application Service Provider market, we anticipate the
creation of "mega-ASP's." The market will witness merger/acquisition and
alliance activities resulting in large clearinghouses offering a full
scope of outsourced software applications. At this time, we are unable
to predict if Agilera will be a Mega-ASP or a major contributor, however
these considerations should be included in their long-term business strategies.
Purchase: At the time of writing, the acquisition of Verio by NTT Communications
Corporation (a subsidiary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation)
has not been approved. The implications and impact of this purchase for
Agilera remain to be determined. In general the outlook is positive, as
the purchase will extend Agilera's reach to foreign markets.
We recommend Agilera:
a strong Marketing and PR program.
to deliver solutions within the verticals described.
partnerships and contracts with existing and new software providers.
alliance(s) to extend Agilera's services on a global level
and implement new technology where and when applicable. (i.e., Wireless
Customers selecting outsourced applications have many choices. Agilera's
scope of products, consulting, and hosting services is impressive. Agilera's
mix of ERP, CRM and the recent addition of Ariba's e-commerce offerings
represent a strong mix to companies considering one, or a full suite,
recommend understanding the needs of your organization first. If the outsourced
software model suits your needs, we recommend comparing the application
costs, contract duration, implementation costs and on-going expenses relating
to your needs. With many Application Service Providers emerging, comparison
shopping has become easier.
you choose to implement Agilera's Extended Enterprise we suggest you inquire
about the connectivity process. If your network is host to different applications,
on disparate platforms in multiple locations ask about the availability
of the necessary API's and tools. API's may be available, however performance
may be affected. As a result, delays in performance may be amplified over
a network served by the Internet.
the geography and requirements of your network will help Agilera and others
to establish a solution that best suits your needs.