For his part, Sidhu touted i2s Web services-based Supply Chain Operating Services framework, first rolled out two years ago, as supporting composite applications that are highly targeted, but that can also integrate well with legacy software and newer ERP and point solutions. "We have a very modular architecture that lets you tailor a user-specific architecture very fast. Whether its retail, high tech, metals or automotive, i2 gives you a much more vertical solution than ERP," he said. Representing the companys vision of a "closed-loop supply chain," the framework is a "next-generation" solution, Sidhu said. "The first generation of supply chain products only did planning. The next generation also allows you to track and execute the plan. It can provide you with performance gains, too."The new allocation management and assortment management capabilities in the next version of Six Two will make major use of MDM, he told eWEEK.com. i2 is working with both Payless and Bath Bed & Beyond on developing the new retail tools. Click here to learn about a gap between supply-chain technologies and business strategies. The event management capability, also slated for the next edition, will "track events beyond the value chain," he said. Daimler-Chrysler is implementing the new feature in a solution for streamlining car design by reusing auto parts content. On the whole, though, i2s recent customer growth has been stronger with retailers and consumer goods makers than with manufacturers, according to Sidhu. Bed Bath & Beyond just signed on a few months ago. Other current customers in this space include PepsiCo, "particularly Frito-Lay;" and Woolworth Australia. "Weve always been big in manufacturing," Sidhu said. High-tech customers account for about half of i2s manufacturing business. "Dell, Nokia, Texas Instruments. The list goes on. We also have automotive customers like Daimler-Chrysler, Ford Motor Co. and Cooper Tire, big industrial companies like John Deere and Caterpillar, and most of the worlds top metals manufacturers." Other recent customer wins for i2 include Leading Edge Logistics, Kia Motors America, Spanish logistics provider Tradisa, NEC in Japan, and Italian-based Galileo Avionica. I2 could do better against ERP vendors such as SAP by adding more feet on the street, Sidhu acknowledged. The company is working on expanding its own sales force. But in the partnership arena, i2 is sticking mainly with an existing set of about 10 alliances, including with IBM and Accenture, he said. "Wed rather focus on continuing successes with our existing partners than on starting a lot of new partnerships." Meanwhile, however, i2 has been adding a few partnerships with regional players, such as Tata Consultancy, the largest software and services company in India. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news and analysis of enterprise supply chains.
Key capabilities of i2s framework include data synchronization, as well as MDM (master data management). "With MDM, you dont have to physically store all of your information in our data management system. Instead, we can just keep links to all the data," Sidhu said.