i2 Targets Demand Chain Management

Seeks to link CRM with ERP and SCM; also expands alliance with E2open

Las Vegas  May 15, 2002  Supply chain solution provider i2 Technologies this week took the wraps off its demand chain management solution, which i2 claims is the first software suite to link the demand-driven, customer-facing processes of traditional customer relationship management (CRM) systems with back-office operational and supply systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM).

Meanwhile, i2 also announced that it is expanding its agreement with E2open, the electronics industry e-marketplace, to offer Web services-based deployment and integration of i2 solutions on E2open's network.

i2 said its demand chain management solution, DCM, is designed to extend traditional CRM and ERP systems by enabling companies to manage and shape customer demand based on supply, promise the "perfect order" and then deliver that order to the customer. i2 DCM connects collaborative demand management products with order management, order promising, intelligent selling and pricing optimization applications, unifying the demand chain processes and participants, aiming to ensure profitability and customer loyalty.

"Today's leading companies know that profitability is enhanced by generating demand and revenue for products that they already have in supply," said i2 Chairman and CEO Sanjiv Sidhu. "i2 DCM can synchronize companies' customer-facing processes with its multi-enterprise operations and the responsiveness of its supply chain."

Kent Allen, research director of e-business for technology consultancy Aberdeen Group, said that demand chain management is "the next frontier in value chain management, because it addresses the customer-facing business processes at the intersection of front-office (classic CRM) and back-office (ERP and SCM) systems."

Allen continued: "i2 DCM provides a simple framework for making sense of the 'CRM Jungle'  that is, commerce-centric, customer lifecycle management functionality, such as order management, order promising, demand forecasting and pricing optimization."

One customer has already lined up to use the new solution. Sporting goods manufacturer TaylorMade-adidas Golf intends to use i2 DCM with the goal of more efficiently managing such value chain processes as custom club manufacturing and fulfillment, order promising, mobile inventory replenishment, demand management and procurement collaboration.

In other news, i2 and E2open are set to expand their current alliance to offer Web services-based deployment and integration of i2 solutions on E2open's network. The companies plan to devote development resources to ensure that i2 applications operate within the E2open network. In addition, i2 will begin to market and sell E2open's network offerings to companies in the electronics industry.

The two partners said their expanded alliance is intended to provide joint customers with a faster and more cost-effective solution for business partner integration and easier access to i2's solutions through E2open's Web services-enabled network. E2open's network provides a secure platform for transaction routing and multi-company process support and the industry's first private UDDI directory.

E2open has offered network services for selected i2 collaboration applications since June 2000. With the expanded agreement, the two companies intend to integrate i2 Network Services for transportation planning and execution, catalog management and financial settlement with the E2open network to provide connectivity across the value chain.

In addition, new integration capabilities will be available to allow i2 customers in the high-tech electronics industry to publish Web services from their internal business applications into the E2open directory to facilitate discovery and integration by trading partners.

i2 Five.Two Supply Chain Management solutions for forecast, order and inventory collaboration are currently available to be deployed through the E2open network. E2open plans to extend this offer to include inventory visibility and execution and capacity collaboration in the third quarter of this year, and i2 Network Services such as supply network, transportation and procurement are expected to be available through the E2open network in the fourth quarter.