In what officials said is the final step of a restructuring plan put in place more than a year ago, Verticalnet Inc. announced a new president and CEO late last month. Kevin McKay took over the top spot at the Horsham, Pa., company. A former CEO of ERP (enterprise resource planning) at software developer SAP America Inc., McKays charter is to continue Verticalnets metamorphosis from a provider of public e-marketplaces to a collaboration software maker, which will bring it into competition with companies such as Manugistics Group Inc. and i2 Technologies Inc. McKays first step is to sell Verticalnets 59 e-marketplaces. He spoke with eWeek Senior Writer Renee Boucher Ferguson about his plans for the company.
eWeek: How has the uptake on Verticalnets software business been?
McKay: Verticalnet, over the period of the last few years, has been quite acquisitive, where weve acquired quite a lot of software. Now, the focus is on the best of technology coupled with the best of our staff, and the software will really drive the company forward. The acquisition of Atlas Commerce [Inc. in December] played a key role in bringing functionality with strategic sourcing; [now we want to] make it work for us.
Were proud of [our e-marketplace unit]—its part of our heritage, but its not aligned with where we want to go.
eWeek: How does collaborative sourcing fit in with your plans?
McKay: The supply chain market is where were focused. Within that, we have a compelling suite of applications, including collaborative supply chain, strategic sourcing, planning, spend analysis and open market.
What we have is a number of apps resident within the Atlas product and certain others resident in Verticalnets product. By bringing those two together, we have a whole migration plan. We have a comprehensive product release scheduled for March or April.
We are aggressively and singly focused on the collaborative supply chain area. We know we can be leaders.
eWeek: That is a pretty hotly contested space. How will you stand out?
McKay: Against the Manugistics and i2s, the real differentiation comes as follows: Our product was designed with a full understanding of multiple and diverse ERP systems and multiple and diverse home-grown systems. Our development staff understands that thinking is not going to change overnight—that companies are not going to rip out what they already have. We need to function using the Internet and to sit on top of those other systems.