Dallas — March 25, 2003 — Solution provider i2 this week rolled out the latest upgrade of its flagship supply chain management applications, offering a new architecture that will allow companies to implement the provider's solutions incrementally rather than all-at-once in "Big Bang" fashion.
i2 Six, in development for more than a year, includes functionality that addresses the areas of revenue and profit optimization, spend optimization, production optimization, fulfillment optimization and logistics optimization, according to the provider.
The solution can be implemented incrementally, allowing companies to focus efforts on the areas of highest return first. At the same time, i2 said that because each Six product is built on a common foundation, the effort required to implement, integrate or expand a solution footprint may be substantially reduced.
The product suite, which builds on the service-based architecture that debuted in i2 Five.Two, is based on a common infrastructure, called Supply Chain Operating Services (SCOS), and utilizes such standards as J2EE, XML, JAAS, JMX and SOAP.
Each application in the suite is Web Services enabled, and, in the i2 environment, all the applications integrate as a provider of services or a consumer of services. i2 said that all application functionality is exposed as a service at a level of abstraction and functionality that business users can understand.
In a review of the new solution, William Brandel, research director for supply network services at technology consultancy Aberdeen Group, writes that the suite's new architecture will give companies increased flexibility in how they deploy i2 solutions. "Enterprises can not only deploy more discrete application modules as they go, but also use the Six platform to extend internal enterprise system functions into their [supply chain management] processes," Brandel wrote.
Pallab Chatterjee, i2 president for solutions operations, appears to concur, noting that in today's economy, many companies are looking to reinvent themselves by rooting out inefficiencies in their supply chain processes. "But," Chatterjee adds, "they no longer want to take on massive change management programs. They want solutions that provide a rapid and measurable return on investment that will allow them to adapt to change and have better visibility into their business in real time."
As for what the new architecture means for i2's position in, and approach to, the supply chain solutions market, Brandel wrote, "i2 Six is proof that i2 is making progress in its massive undertaking to rationalize the disparate technologies it has acquired from 11 different technology suppliers, ranging from FreightMatrix to Rightworks into a common architecture."
Brandel continued: "i2 Six signals the supplier has moved beyond the 'hunting elephants' sales mentality, to one that provides the incremental, digestible solution size that the market now requires."
Commenting on the launch, Sanjiv Sidhu, i2 chairman and CEO, said, "Our 15-year heritage in supply chain planning and execution has brought us to this point: delivering to our customers the next generation of supply chain management technology to optimize business processes in real time."