Optum Gets a Hand From Categoric

  • Written By: Steve McVey
  • Published: October 12 1999

Optum Gets a Hand from Categoric
S. McVey - October 12th, 1999

Event Summary

On October 4, Optum, Inc., a provider of software for warehousing, transportation planning, and inventory management, announced a strategic alliance with messaging and alerts software vendor Categoric Software Corporation. As part of the deal, Optum will resell Categoric Alerts software as part of its Optum SCE Series suite of applications for warehouse and transportation management. Providing integration to ODBC-compliant databases, Alerts can deliver messages automatically to relevant users via e-mail, mobile phone, pager, Web, fax or EDI.

Market Impact

As if the overwhelming amount of enterprise data made available through ERP, SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), or DCS (Distributed Control System) were not enough, the realization of supply chain management requires organizations to reach into suppliers' and customers' organizations for even more data. Usually, only a fraction of the collected data is of real interest to users. For instance, it is rarely necessary for a warehouse manager to know, at all times, the quantity of every item in inventory. Far more critical to providing quick order fulfillment is knowing when a critical item falls below a reorder point or safety level. Messaging and alert software can provide this capability.

For Optum, teaming with an alert software provider can enhance its competitive advantage over other supply chain execution market players, such as Industri-Matematik, EXE Technologies, and Descartes Systems Group. The pact with Categoric allows it to offer software that promises to improve customer responsiveness at every stage in a product's life cycle. Properly implemented, the alerts can bring real-time visibility of critical thresholds that are monitored by its supply chain execution software. Categoric achieves several advantages by the alliance. In addition to having another indirect sales channel, Categoric increases its visibility in the marketplace and creates opportunities to develop new strategies for integrating its software to SCE solutions. Success with Optum will enable Categoric to duplicate its arrangement with larger vendors, such as SAP, i2, and Siebel.

User Recommendations

For Optum users, the combination offers the potential for increased visibility into the critical parts of their warehousing, inventory, and transportation plans. If Categoric makes use of experience gained through implementation of its Alerts software atop ERP, SCM, and CRM systems, not only should the product mature, but Categoric will also have amassed a set of best implementation practices that will further benefit prospective clients. In the near term, users should not expect the implementation of Alerts with Optum SCE Series to be trouble-free. In addition, acquirers of Optum who elect to incorporate Categoric Alerts should make sure they understand how the packages are priced to avoid making costly mistakes during negotiation.

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