Vision-care giant Alcon chooses e-catalog software from Cardonet

Santa Clara, CA  July 30, 2001  Eye-care industry giant Alcon Laboratories will use an e-catalog application from software provider Cardonet to power the online catalogs of its e-business unit, eAlcon.

Alcon, a $2.5 billion company owned by Nestlé S.A., has a customer base that ranges from large, over-the-counter retailers to optometrists, surgeons and hospitals that purchase products through both traditional medical products distributors and new Internet-based exchanges.

Alcon will utilize the rules-driven automation capabilities of Cardonet's e-Catalog Automation Platform to create and distribute custom versions of its 10,000-item catalog, tailored to the specific requirements of customers or online channels requesting electronic catalogs.

Cardonet's automated syndication capabilities will allow Alcon to define reusable "profiles" for each of its online channels, incorporating channel-specific criteria such as selected product preferences, contract pricing and a range of unique data format requirements.

"The healthcare industry is moving rapidly to adopt new e-commerce business models, and a strong e-catalog capability is essential for Alcon to maintain a leadership role, " said Matthew von Wellsheim, director of e-business technologies for Alcon. "We selected the Cardonet solution because of its ability to efficiently deal with frequent catalog changes, and to automatically support the full range of catalog formats used by our customers."

According to von Wellsheim, catalog information can sometimes change on a daily basis and getting this information to Alcon's customers can be a major challenge. The automation capabilities of the Cardonet software will allow Alcon to identify specific changes in the catalog information and automatically syndicate those changes to each of its online channels in the required format.

Alcon can use the software to syndicate custom catalogs to such commercial e-procurement platforms as Ariba, CommerceOne, Oracle and others, as well as to industry specific e-marketplaces and individual customers utilizing custom-built EDI-based systems.

"Rich, accurate product information remains a critical linchpin in the growth of B2B e-commerce and a weakness of many of today's supplier enablement offerings," said Itay Meiri, CEO of Cardonet. "Suppliers like Alcon who find a way to efficiently automate the process of creating, maintaining and distributing their product information can not only increase sales but also raise their customer satisfaction and get an edge on their competitors."