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i2 Buys RightWorks, Deals Blow To Ariba, Manugistics

Written By: Steve McVey
Published On: March 26 2001

i2 Buys RightWorks, Deals Blow To Ariba, Manugistics
S. McVey - March 26, 2001

Event Summary

i2 Technologies recently announced that it would acquire collaborative e-procurement vendor RightWorks, subject to shareholder approval. Analysts are portraying the move as the last straw for i2's stormy partnership with Ariba. Although i2 will honor 15 or so existing joint contracts and will continue selling the integrated solution to clients on demand, it readily concedes that the alliance begun amid much fanfare just a year ago is over. The IBM portion of the relationship remains intact, but its relevance is diminished considerably by the departure of Ariba.

The RightWorks acquisition is part of a new consolidation push among SCM vendors and new entrants to the B2B e-commerce market. Shared adversity can sometimes make enemies into allies, but in the case of i2 and Manugistics that outcome seems remote.

Market Impact

Supply chain management has evolved rapidly in the years since the Internet became a venue for conducting business. Software vendors have capitalized on these changes by introducing products that address the external collaboration needs of suppliers, manufacturers, and customers. For the most part, SCM market participants have remained the familiar handful of pioneers who made it big and the ERP interlopers that acquired SCM products through either acquisition or in-house development. Among the pioneers, i2 Technologies and Manugistics Group come most often to mind as the remaining independents while others have become divisions of acquiring companies.

The recent power plays are reshaping the supply chain software landscape dramatically. Acquisitions by i2 and Ariba have all but severed the tenuous alliance they sealed last year along with IBM. Ariba threw down the gauntlet in January by agreeing to buy Agile Software Corp., which allows Ariba to offer products for manufacturers to share product information with suppliers across the Internet. Subsequent deals with Syncra Systems, SeeCommerce, Zeborg, and SupplierMarket.com underscore Ariba's intention to offer capabilities that compete with i2 applications.

i2 responded quickly by acquiring RightWorks, a successful vendor of direct/indirect procurement software and trading exchanges that, in addition to enhanced functionality, gives i2 a foothold in non-core verticals (healthcare, financial services). i2 expects to offer an integrated solution within the next 60 to 90 days and hints that a deeper level of integration will arrive in future TradeMatrix releases.

Manugistics will have to find another partner for e-procurement now that its alliance with RightWorks is essentially at an end. For the greater part of its history, i2's success has overshadowed that of Manugistics, although in the past year Manugistics' B2B products have enjoyed a revival in market demand. More evidence of this is the recent surprise win for Manugistics at Texas Instruments, one of i2's largest and most-publicized accounts. Both i2 and Manugistics appear to possess the financial viability and technological wherewithal to prevail against new market players as the evolution of SCM continues to unfold.

User Recommendations

Ultimately, the entry of new players into a software market is good for end users. However i2 and Manugistics react to competition from Ariba and others, software vendors arriving from outside the traditional boundaries of SCM bring novel ideas and technology that result in a greater choice of products. Of course, the changing faces make it difficult for businesses to decide which vendors belong on a shortlist. Now more than ever, a carefully planned and thoroughly executed selection process is critical to ensure that no opportunities are missed.

 

 
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