By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2004-08-30 Print this article Print

Art Technology Group Inc.s ATG Commerce 6.4 may not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking of high-end e-commerce platforms, but the product provides all the capabilities required to operate any companys online commerce presence—whether its for business-to-business needs or business-to-consumer tasks or for both categories.

Like most ATG products, ATG Commerce runs on top of the vendors Relationship Management Platform, providing the product with good hooks into customer management and service. Also, as with most e-commerce applications for enterprises, ATG Commerce is extremely modular, letting businesses get what they need when deploying the product, although this can lead to confusion in managing ATG Commerce.

In eWEEK Labs tests, we were impressed with ATG Commerces broad, effective feature set. It has everything from excellent promotional and sales-tracking features necessary for a consumer store to capable Web services features and the process creation and tracking needed for B2B operations.

ATG Commerces pricing compares well with most enterprise-class e-commerce software, but, as with most competitors, the exact cost is complex. Pricing for ATG Commerce starts at $55,000 for two CPUs and $55,000 for each additional CPU. The vendor also offers the ATG Commerce Bundle, which has ATG Commerce, ATG Personalization Server and ATG Scenario Server, priced at $75,000 for two CPUs.

ATG Commerce runs on Linux, Unix and Windows and is a J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) application that works with ATGs Dynamo Application Server as well as BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic application server and IBMs WebSphere.

Click here to read Labs review of IBMs WebSphere Commerce. Setup and installation of ATG Commerce proved to be simple, and we got up and running quickly using both the good sample stores provided and our own content.

One element of the product that could be improved is the ease of administration and management. ATG Commerce uses both browser-based administration interfaces and a Java-based client application called Control Center. We often found ourselves jumping among three or four browser interfaces and Control Center, depending on what task we needed to complete.

We recommend that ATG move most, if not all, administration and management tasks to Control Center, especially since we found this to be a capable tool for managing a complex B2B or B2C e-commerce site. From within Control Center, we could carry out advanced catalog management, create and edit promotional campaigns and sales, and perform detailed analysis on our e-commerce site.

The scenario and pipeline editing tools, which let us design and create complex business processes, were especially useful in B2B areas. While we like the tools in Control Center for this, it would be nice to have some feature to import process designs from external tools such as Microsoft Corp.s Visio.

Version 6.4 has added good features for promotional capabilities, including a nice one for defining complex upsell scenarios and for doing typical cross-sale promotions .

The products tracking is thorough; we could view all sales cycle activity. A new feature in this version makes it easier to track visitors actions in the entire site, which proved a useful way to find data such as why a shopping cart was abandoned.

Labs Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at jim_rapoza@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at http://enterpriseapps.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

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Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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