Supply-chain application vendors consolidate

Supply-chain application vendors consolidate

With two acquisitions just announced, i2 Technologies is moving to piece together a unified set of supply-chain planning and purchasing applications for big manufacturers.

But analysts said the Dallas-based company needs to show that it can get its software to work with the products it is bringing into the fold through the purchases of Aspect Development in California, and Supplybase in San Francisco.

The wheeling and dealing "gives i2 the biggest supply-chain footprint that anyone has," said Pierre Mitchell, an analyst at AMR Research in Boston.

For manufacturers, Mitchell said, Aspect and Supplybase sell component-sourcing and purchasing management applications that can complement i2's production and distribution-planning tools.

For now, however, the different products amount to "a grab bag of applications," he added. "They have to get this stuff integrated if they're going to provide a single procurement system to a [user]."

After making its mark as a planning applications vendor, i2 is now "close to delivering a complete supply-chain solution" that also encompasses business-to-business trading exchanges, said Karen Peterson, an analyst at GartnerGroup.

But a lot of work needs to be done to make that a reality, she added.

And there's more to be accomplished than integrating the Aspect and Supplybase purchases. For example, under a three-way deal announced earlier, i2 plans to link its supply-chain tools to IBM's WebSphere e-commerce software and to online procurement applications developed by California-based Ariba.

Sanjiv Sidhu, i2's CEO, said that

his company has been working on

integration with both Aspect and Supplybase under joint development deals announced previously.

Aspect makes software and online catalogs for buying off-the-shelf manufacturing components, while Supply-base focuses on custom-made parts. The all-stock deals are valued at about $US7.6 billion for Aspect and $300 million for Supplybase.

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