Collaboration talk jelled into action last week, when e2open announced that co-founder LG Electronics had signed up for e2opens product design collaboration service.
"We believe were the first to bring this to market globally," said Mark Holman, president and CEO of e2open, which specializes in bringing electronics makers and suppliers together in private marketplaces.
The announcement was a sign e2open had scaled a major hurdle that discouraged companies from exposing competitive product information on public marketplaces — security.
"These guys are way ahead of the game in this regard," said Joan Harbin, an analyst at AMR Research. "This is such a huge issue," because of fears about sharing information that could be considered a competitive differentiator, she said.
E2open last week also announced a deal with Tivoli Systems to provide security on its platform.
Theres tremendous demand for collaboration services, said David Cahn, another analyst at AMR. Companies want to work more closely with their suppliers. To do so, they have created private marketplaces that cost $35 million to $50 million. E2open can now offer a far cheaper way for companies to work together through its subscription collaboration service.
Meanwhile, officials at Converge, e2opens main rival in the high-tech marketplace arena, said they are making headway. With a bigger transaction base of more than $1 billion, Converge is taking a different approach, aiming to implement supply chain and logistics services first.
"Were in pilot on transportation and visibility first," and plan to announce design collaboration services in the fall, said Bob Lewis, CEO of Converge.