Intentia Floats Vaporware Agent to Replace Business Planning

  • Written By: D. Geller
  • Published On: December 15 1999



Event Summary

Intentia International AB is a provider of enterprise resource planning software called Movex for mid-sized companies (See TEC Technology Research Note: "Intentia: Java Evolution From AS/400" October 1st, 1999). Intentia recently announced Movex Intelligent Agent for the fourth quarter of 2000. Movex Intelligent Agent will, according to the company, "find and negotiate deals instead of having personnel do it." The product will be used to search out business-to-business auctions, and will track and learn from user behavior; it will constantly scour the Web or a closed marketplace to search for appropriate deals to recommend to users.

Market Impact

There is an important statement behind this announcement, which is that Intentia believes that traditional planning functions based on statistical and analytic methods will become less important as companies find themselves forced to be instantaneously responsive to changes in customer requirements. We agree. Will intelligent agents be useful in this transformation? Probably. Will Movex Intelligent Agent provide a significant advantage? That's a bit harder to tell, since there are few details of this product available. In fact, given that this product has been announced almost a full year before its planned delivery date, we doubt if even Intentia knows the answer.

This is not to say that there is no market impact to this announcement. ERP companies, largely stuck in the doldrums, have been searching for ways to retain their existing customers in the face of "best of breed" challengers who ride under an E-commerce flag. Freeing up people from less-than-routine tasks would be a significant addition to any product line. So, now that Intentia has planted its spear in the ground, we believe that there will be other ERP vendors making similar announcements, as well as some startups offering the same kind of services through new products that will integrate with existing ERP systems.

User Recommendations

Companies planning to purchase ERP systems in the near term should completely ignore this announcement as a consideration. Even if the projected third quarter release is on schedule, there will be many other higher priority ERP implementation challenges. However, we do not dispute the potential value of agent technology, and organizations should use this announcement as an opportunity to gather information from other prospective vendors about their agent strategy, while keeping in mind that most will be in the "vaporware" stage.

 
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