i2 Downplays Relationship with RightWorks

RightWorks stands by earlier press release

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- BUSINESS WIRE -- Oct. 10, 2000 -- i2 Technologies issued a statement Tuesday alleging that procurement solution provider RightWorks misrepresented its relationship with i2 in a news release issued by RightWorks the previous day.

In its statement, RightWorks announced a "comprehensive partnership" with i2 under which RightWorks would support i2's TradeMatrix Network API as part of its ongoing work to provide seamless integration between the RightWorks eBusiness Application Suite and the TradeMatrix product family. i2's TradeMatrix allows businesses to create both private and public marketplaces. RightWorks said that the two company's sales operations would work together to support joint marketing opportunities that result from the integration.

i2 apparently found that language too strong and responded with an announcement of its own, stating: "There is no new strategic relationship between i2 and RightWorks. The extent of the relationship between RightWorks and i2 is limited to RightWorks' participation as one of 30 partners in i2's TradeMatrix Network API program, which was announced Aug. 8, 2000. This program is open to all enterprise application integrators, application vendors and business-to-business integration solution providers."

i2 further stated that Ariba is i2's "complementary software partner of choice" in the procurement arena.

Interviewed Thursday by e-mail about the i2 announcement, RightWorks CEO Mary Coleman, appointed to her post in September, responded: "While I am disappointed that i2 chose to issue their press release of October 10, 2000, RightWorks stands behind the content of its press release issued on October 9, 2000."

Coleman added: "The [RightWorks] press release accurately reflected the news that RightWorks became a member of the TradeMatrix Network API program as of Friday, October 6, 2000, as was clearly stated in the subhead of the announcement. Contrary to i2's assertions in its rebuttal, in no place was the word 'strategic' used to describe the partnership between i2 and RightWorks. Having been invited to the [i2-sponsored] PLANET2000 show as an i2 partner, RightWorks was eager to publicize the news, as the company was not part of i2's original TradeMatrix Network API announcement on August 8, 2000."

RightWorks is clearly making a drive to position itself as a major player in the e-procurement platform arena, which has been dominated on the high end by such established names as Ariba and Commerce One. In the past week alone, RightWorks has announced alliances with Net market FreeMarkets (to offer access to FreeMarkets through the RightWorks e-procurement platform) and American Express (to integrate the AmExpress purchasing cards into the RightWorks platform, called eBusiness Application Suite).

RightWorks, which is 51 percent owned by Internet Capital Group (ICG), a technology-focused holding company, relaunched itself in September with the appointment of a new CEO (Coleman) and an upgrade to the eBusiness Application Suite, the company's flagship e-procurement platform. At the time, Coleman said in an interview that the company was placing greater emphasis on sales, marketing and business development with the goal of taking the company public in December.

Lou Unkeless, vice president of product marketing for Rightworks, in an interview at the time of the relaunch, explained the company's new sales emphasis: "The company has been in business four years, and it has spent those four years focused on developing truly innovative architecture and technology, and different functionality, but not really focusing on 'mindshare,' not really focusing on sales effectiveness, visibility and credibility in the marketplace. That's why Mary [Coleman] and I are here: to take all this great stuff that the company has, drive it out into the marketplace."

Unkeless noted in that interview that RightWorks was working to build connections to other market exchanges and procurement platform providers rather than tying the company's customers solely to RightWorks' supplier partners. "What we are really trying to promote is this openness that provides companies with the ability to define how they want to interact with their trading partners and their customers, suppliers and content providers: to give them the broadest opportunity to participate in this new way of doing business," Unkeless said.