i2 Eyes Tools for Demand Planning, Inventory Mgmt.

At the same time, customers like Payless, Woolworth Australia and Best Buy are using some of the hundreds of workflows in the Six Two suite for everything from "Excel gathering" to supply chain visibility.

NEW YORK—i2 Technologies Inc. is readying new tools for retailers in the areas of demand planning and inventory management, according to a company executive.

Meanwhile, customers such as Payless, Woolworth Australia and Best Buy are making use of some of the hundreds of new workflows already included in i2s Six Two supply chain software suite, Pallab Chatterjee, i2s president of Solutions Operations, said in a briefing for eWEEK.com at this weeks National Retail Federation Convention here.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read more about i2s Six Two supply chain software suite.

For instance, discount shoe chain Payless was the first to take advantage of an "Excel Gathering" workflow that lets retail personnel continue to use their customary Excel spreadsheets for gathering data. The information is then funneled into Six Two for use in SCM (supply chain management).

Like many other retailers, Payless has found its staffers resistant to giving up the traditional spreadsheets in favor of newer data entry tools. "The Excel Gathering workflow is helping to wean them from the spreadsheets," Chatterjee said.

Payless initially used i2s software only for setting pricing during product liquidations, according to Chatterjee. But now, the shoe discounter is starting to deploy Six Two for pricing management throughout the product lifecycle. With the spring fashion season coming up, Payless will use the suite for planning Easter promotions.

As Chatterjee sees it, i2 has no head-on competition in the enterprise software market. "There are competitors in certain areas," he admitted. Retek and JDA, for example, compete against i2 in inventory management. Others compete in pricing management. "But we have no competitors for our MDM [Master Data Management], and none for Excel Gathering."

i2s MDM, the architecture behind the Six Two suite, is aimed at letting businesses introduce supply chain innovations while retaining their existing hardware and software infrastructures. "Some [other] vendors arent doing so well because they want customers to rip and replace instead," Chatterjee said.

Born from Content and Data Services, i2s data transformation and normalization business, i2s flavor of MDM uses an EAI approach for connecting to outside applications, along with data synchronization.

In the past, i2 has also been known for its transportation, logistics and merchandising software. "But [our] MDM is brand-new, and its been attracting a lot of attention," he said.

Next Page: Easy installation.