Launches e-Business InitiativeFinally
S. McVey- November 17, 1999
Technology, Inc. recently announced an e-business initiative, Aspen e-Business,
which is the first in a planned series of business-to-business e-commerce applications.
As part of the initiative, AspenTech will partner with business-to-business
application vendor Extricity Software, Inc. The proposed solutions will build
on Aspen's existing Aspen MIMI and Aspen PIMS supply chain management software.
In the future, Aspen plans to integrate Extricity's workflow modeling, e-commerce
and process execution technologies with its own process plant modeling, automation
and optimization systems. The integration aims to help customers form closer
relationships with its partners that may have disparate ERP and supply chain
to be left behind in the e-commerce gold rush, $220 million Aspen has finally
announced an offering of its own, predictably dubbed Aspen eBusiness. The unimaginative
name notwithstanding, Aspen may be successful with its new initiative that follows
those of almost every other major vendor including SAP, J. D. Edwards, Manugistics,
and i2. Unlike the other vendors, Aspen can exploit its strong position in the
process manufacturing industries, which is generally less penetrated by e-commerce
than the more crowded electronic and high tech industries. (One notable exception
is SAP, which recently announced an accelerated chemicals solution with IBM.)
Additionally, Aspen is taking a broad approach to the initiative by leveraging
areas of strength within its streamlined suite for plant design, control, and
optimization. The Aspen eBusiness solution will support simple buy/sell transactions
as well as help automate higher-level processes such as collaborative forecasting,
planning and replenishment, production scheduling and inventory management.
However, Aspen will have to work hard to convince customers that its late entry
into the e-commerce arena does not imply a lack of vision.
spite of its potential success, the eBusiness initiative is a long way from
becoming reality. Until more details are available, few meaningful conclusions
can be drawn. Existing users of Aspen MIMI or PIMS should contact their long-term
partner and inquire about the proposed offering, including its development schedule,
details of the Extricity collaboration, targeted completion date, and pricing.
Also, no users should make a move until Aspen and Extricity have developed a
sound strategy for implementing the new offering.