i2 Paints Broad Strokes at eDay
At eDay, a one-day event for press and analysts in New York City, i2 Technologies
announced the availability of TradeMatrix Network, the next evolution
of its e-marketplace offering. In Network, i2 combines its horizontal
services like FreightMatrix, content from its 2000-strong supplier network,
tools for helping clients post their own parts inventories, open APIs
for connection to other private and public marketplaces, and templates
for over 14 industries.
addition to announcing Network, President Greg Brady outlined i2's five-part
strategy for helping customers apply e-marketplaces to build competitive
a platform to create marketplaces and deliver solutions to improve internal
efficiencies of all marketplace participants.
a one-stop-shop for a wide variety of collaborative e-business services,
with each service supported by decision optimization, transaction management
and content management solutions.
a global e-business network by providing marketplace-to-marketplace
(M2M) connectivity. TradeMatrix marketplaces are built on open standards
and can inter-operate with other marketplaces.
simple and fast solutions for companies in the early stages of e- business
adoption, as well as next-generation solutions for those companies who
are more advanced.
with consulting companies and other software providers to provide maximum
flexibility to our customers.
target key obstacles that prevent enterprises from gaining full benefit
from Internet marketplace technology.
i2's strategy lays the groundwork for what could be a revolution in the
brave new world of Internet marketplaces. Most of today's marketplaces
enable one of the following: collaboration, direct material procurement,
indirect material procurement, or optimization services. None can do it
all, at least not in a coherent way that is transparent to the user. Internet
procurement of both direct and indirect materials, when divorced from
collaboration, is little more than a convenient (and potentially low-cost)
channel for buying and selling materials. Without optimization services
that help direct and govern procurement transactions, companies suffer
the very inefficiencies the technology is designed to eradicate. What
i2 has outlined is a plan that seeks to address these areas simultaneously,
a monumental undertaking and one that will take months to achieve.
of the reason behind the difficulty lies outside the programming world
and derives from the separation between the people developing the applications
and those who use them. In trumpeting the potential benefits of their
products, software vendors often fail to mention the effort involved in
devising the business processes they are designed to automate.
design and code software at locations where users never visit. By and
large, they rely solely on second-hand feedback from implementation consultants
and helpdesk support personnel. Most vendors have committees that review
current applications, bug reports, market trends, customer requests, etc.,
and decide which features to include and which new applications to pursue.
As talented as the people in these groups may be, the ideas that reach
development are nevertheless many times removed from the point where the
applications will be used - the real world.
Marketing people are adept at taking collections of applications and technologies
and combining them into an elegant vision that fits nicely on a PowerPoint
slide. A disconnect between software and its application is inevitable,
and users need to understand that the master plans showcased in press
releases exist only on paper. i2 receives a great deal of criticism for
delivering less than it sells, but remains the one SCM B2B vendor most
capable to realize its e-marketplace vision.