eConnections Expands Web With IPNet

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eConnections Expands Web With IPNet
S. McVey - September 25, 2000

Event Summary

eConnections, one of a new breed of Supply Chain Management vendors, has added IPNet Solutions Inc. to its list of preferred solutions for supply-chain connectivity. IPNet (see Secure Transport of EDI and XML for Trading Exchanges) makes eBizness Suite 3.1 for enabling virtual trading communities and trade exchanges and will allow eConnections to expand its range of integration platforms. With the help of IPNet, eConnections plans to build a network that will allow its customers in the electronics industry to collaborate on product specifications and other business and design considerations, participate in transactions, view bills-of-material and inventory, and route documents such as purchase orders and invoices using industry standard protocols.

"Unlike the online exchanges that have recently been announced in the electronics industry, eConnections is really an intelligent e-hub of critical business-to-business activity - providing sophisticated business technology and added value beyond a simple forum for buying and selling components," said Don Willis, founder and CEO of IPNet Solutions Inc. "This agreement with eConnections presents IPNet with a unique, viral marketing opportunity that will enable us to leverage our solution across an entire industry - collapsing the channel for the benefit of suppliers and customers alike."

Market Impact

Even by Internet standards, eConnections is barely more than an embryo. CEO Rob Rodin launched eConnections in April 2000 with the help of several of his former colleagues at Marshall Industries. Rodin is credited with transforming Marshall, an old guard brick-and-mortar distribution company, into a model B2B web site and is the author of Free, Perfect, and Now: Connecting to the Three Insatiable Demands [1], which chronicles his efforts.

eConnections envisions a not-so-distant future where companies survive only as part of a network of trading partners, supplanting traditional enterprise boundaries with a web of companies focused on common goals. To be sure, eConnections is not for timid companies or those that lack a progressive approach to business. Just about every purveyor of online marketplaces insists that its solutions do more than merely support buying and selling; eConnections is one of the few that can make this claim without shading the truth. eConnections, however, is still a small fish in a rather large pond brimming with sharks. It faces competition from established SCM vendors like i2 and Manugistics, as well as from ERP vendors like SAP and Oracle, all of which are focusing attention on the extended enterprise and retrofitting strong core applications for web deployment. In spite of the threat, eConnections stands an excellent chance of growing market share with the heightening demand for Internet collaboration capabilities.

[1] Simon & Schuster, 1999.

User Recommendations

Users who have solved their internal supply chain efficiency problems and who are ready to begin life as a node in an inter-enterprise network should consider eConnections a prime candidate. For those companies who are looking to acquire technology solutions for key functional areas such as demand planning, supply/procurement planning, transportation planning, etc. should consider a vendor that offers deep, flexible applications such as i2 Technologies, Manugistics Group, or Logility and leave eConnections for a future stage of evolution. Above all, choose a vendor whose strategic direction aligns with your future needs.

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