Prepares LEAP Into B2B Fray

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  • Published: Prepares LEAP Into B2B Fray
S. McVey - June 2, 2000

Event Summary

Among the attendees at Net Market Maker's Ground Zero conference in Boston this May was a small software company whose product for extended supply chain coordination has huge potential. will soon unveil LEAP!, a Java-based, Internet application that works intimately with third party enterprise software and legacy systems to help company's get the most of their IT investments.

Founded in 1998 by operations research experts Cosimo Spera and Marco Gagliardi, is just beginning to formulate its message for the IT community. Part of its purpose at Ground Zero was to initiate partnerships with Enterprise Application Integration and other enterprise software vendors. LEAP! sits on top of any number of third party applications and interacts with them through an EAI (enterprise application integration) tool, to allow users to respond to important events in their supply chains in real-time.

Initially, the company is concentrating its efforts on private B2B marketplaces, enabling companies to collaborate with internal divisions and external partners. It ultimately will target public marketplaces where potential buyers can be relative strangers. LEAP! is designed to allow companies to give participants of both marketplaces a certain degree of visibility without compromising sensitive data. Two versions are available, a server version and a web-based applet for partners who do not need the full-featured product.

Market Impact

Too often after completing an ERP or SCM system implementation, companies find that the applications do not work well in concert with each other and legacy systems. Although vendors have begun to offer messaging and alert capabilities, these lack the ability to dip into other applications to provide a comprehensive view of extended enterprises. Collectively, multiple applications may support large parts of an organization's planning infrastructure, but gaps that exist between applications can present a barrier to communication. Saltare LEAP! claims to bridge these gaps with a common user interface that provides visibility to conditions in different systems and allows both internal and external users to respond to important events in the supply chain. LEAP! is not an enterprise application integration tool, but uses EAI software to interface to mission critical enterprise applications.

LEAP! presents broad implications for the way organizations use the third party applications it supports. In concept, LEAP! can determine which supply chain events are important for users to act upon, potentially superseding executive information summaries and problem windows offered by other applications. While LEAP! is not intended to supplant them, some third party software vendors may be reluctant to surrender this control over to Saltare.

The introduction of LEAP! as a front end can also give partner vendors a scapegoat for shortcomings or glitches caused by their software. To avoid this conflict, Saltare should consider carefully its integration strategy to make sure users can delineate between LEAP! and the applications it engages.

Saltare should be careful not to offer too many concessions to software partners, however. Like enterprise application integration (EAI) vendors, Saltare's value proposition hinges on its ability to connect to as many different software packages and databases as possible. A preferential relationship or acquisition by another vendor would lead inevitably to restrictions in compatibility.

User Recommendations

At this point, Saltare is a development organization with a tantalizing product and venture backing, but little in the way of sales and marketing or services. LEAP! has one pilot installation and potential customers should seek references at this site before acquiring the product for themselves. We believe Saltare can grow dramatically if it can integrate LEAP! to the leading third party software products, build a sales and marketing organization, and communicate effectively its value proposition to IT buyers of large corporations, who should benefit most from LEAP!'s capabilities.

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