iVita Mines Assets for Bottom Line Health

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iVita Mines Assets for Bottom Line Health
D. Geller - May 18, 2000

Event Summary

Hidden within the bowels of any large company are valuable assets. Take a peek in closets and warehouses and you never know what you might find. Over there are the desktop machines that got left behind six months ago when a division moved to new space across town. Maybe it wasn't necessary to buy new machines for the new sales people, just at the height of that memory chip shortage when prices peaked. And say, there's a lathe that won't be used for at least six months; wonder if we could sell it now and buy a different one when the contract comes in. Oh, and what's in that supply shed...

iVita's goal is to make assets as liquid as cash. That means that the location, status, depreciated value, and market value of every one needs to be instantly available. Its vision is to move asset management from a static back office report generation process to an active, real-time application that can be queried at a moment's notice by a manager or CFO. Not only will this give a company greater visibility and control over capital assets, but iVita suggests it will also tap the hidden value of expensed assets. iVita reasons that as Internet markets proliferate it will be sufficiently easy to realize cash from expensed assets that items previously left to rust can become valuable cash management tools.

iVita's strategy is to plug its products in between procurement and disposal, and be the one access point for all information about any assets a client company wants to track. Besides the basic tracking that would be expected of any asset management package iVita intends to add:

  • Knowledge of current value, through links to dynamic markets and blue books

  • Knowledge of location, through embedded signaling devices in inventory tags

  • Knowledge of e-marketplaces, through partnerships.

For example, in the health industry (one of its initial target verticals, along with energy), the company points out that assets range from large devices whose purchase cycles are partly driven by technology, such as CAT and MRI scanners, through IV pumps which typically float freely through a hospital or nursing home, rental equipment like wheelchairs, and intangibles such as software licenses.

The company will focus its initial sales efforts on large enterprises, but will develop a territory-based sales staff to sell to mid-sized firms. iVita also expects a significant level of sales from secondary channels. Disposal markets such as partner TradeOut.com will have a vested interest in bringing their customers to iVita to increase the flow of used assets. Business consultancies will inform their customers about iVita because this level of asset management will be quickly recognized as a business best practice.

iVita's services will be offered on a hosted basis. The initial offering is just entering beta, with general availability expected during the third quarter.

Market Impact

There are estimated to be billions of dollars in savings and cash flow that go unrealized because complete and accurate information about assets is not available on a timely basis. iVita appears to be the first to enter this market, and a successful launch should give iVita the chance to capture a large segment of it.

iVita will be competing with more traditional asset management products, both those that are stand-alone and those that are part of ERP systems. Some of these, especially those sold by companies with substantial experience in Web technologies, should be able to match some of iVita's key features without excessive difficulty.

User Recommendations

If you expect to be acquiring an asset management capability within the next six to nine months, and you are not opposed on principle to being an early adopter, it is worth talking to iVita. The beta results should be available about the time you need to develop your short list of vendors. If iVita's initial implementation has the necessary interfaces to your back-end systems (or if you and iVita can work out an agreement to develop such interfaces), you can weigh those results and the ROI against the offerings of other vendors.

Any company, whether about to select an asset management package or not, will want to follow iVita's development over the next year. There will undoubtedly be live presentations and Web seminars, and it would not be foolish to drag the CFO to one. If iVita can make good on its promise of converting a jumble of assets into bottom line value it have a shot at being the next Really Big Thing.

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