IBM Still Likes i2, Too

Companies announce joint supplier relationship management solution

Dallas  May 25, 2001  Supply chain software provider i2 Technologies this week announced that it would join with IBM to jointly offer services and software to advance the adoption of next-generation supplier relationship management solutions for the high-tech industry.

The announcement comes as an apparent reaffirmation of IBM's commitment to a relationship with i2 following the de facto break-up of a three-way alliance, struck last year, involving the two companies and e-procurement platform provider Ariba. i2 threw that relationship into divorce court when it announced earlier this year that it would buy RightWorks, an Ariba competitor.

IBM, which has recently emphasized its B2B services, steered a middle course between the two erstwhile partners. Earlier this month Big Blue renewed its vows with Ariba during the latter's user conference in Las Vegas, issuing several announcements in support of the Ariba platform. IBM subsequently has been mentioned as a possible buyer for Ariba, which has seen its revenues drop and its net income fall into the red as the economy and corporate enthusiasm for major e-procurement investments have cooled.

Now comes the new i2-IBM announcement. i2 will provide its supplier relationship management (SRM) solutions for strategic design, design and manufacturing collaboration, and direct and indirect procurement. IBM will offer its business transformation consulting services, implementation services, hardware and middleware technology, and financing offerings. The companies say they are targeting their solution at high-tech customers.

Supplier relationship management (SRM) solutions are intended to help companies reduce base manufacturing costs and design cycle time while increasing collaboration with suppliers and buyers.

"i2's long-standing relationship with IBM has created a solid foundation that has provided both companies with additional scope and breadth that transcends each company's customer base,'' said Bruce Jacquemard, senior vice president of i2's high-tech business unit. "We look forward to continuing our collaboration with IBM to reach more companies that seek real solutions to counter today's current business challenges.''

IBM itself has deployed i2's TradeMatrix Strategic Design software. Combined with its own implementation and integration expertise, IBM says it has achieved more effective component management worldwide, for example by increasing the use of parts from preferred suppliers.

"While IBM has consistently been at the top of our industry, we have continued to employ measures to make our operations more efficient to provide our customers with the products and services they need,'' said Fred DeWald, vice president of integrated product development at IBM.