ATG Enhances Platforms

Readies upgrades of consumer and enterprise e-commerce apps.

Upgrades of Art Technology Group Inc.s e-commerce software include many enhancements to meet the more sophisticated needs of commerce sites, company officials said.

Version 5.5 of ATGs Consumer Commerce, which will begin shipping next week, will provide online retailer and other business-to-consumer sites support for multiple catalogs and price lists, bulk pricing, and product comparisons. Architectural enhancements include support for multiple inventory systems and pipeline management.

ATG, of Cambridge, Mass., has also added a prepackaged customer service application.

Version 5.5 of the companys business-to-business e-commerce platform, Enterprise Commerce, which will also ship next week, includes all the features of Consumer Commerce as well as customer profiling of B2B customers, new workflow applications for order approvals and restrictions, and support for complex purchasing and ordering. Enterprise Commerce 5.5 also adds support for customer-specific catalogs and price lists, which is sometimes called dynamic pricing.

Handspring Inc., maker of the Handspring Visor handheld computer and related products and software, plans to upgrade to Consumer Commerce 5.5 from the 5.1 version, which it currently uses, according to Kendall Fargo, vice president of e-commerce at the Mountain View, Calif., company.

Fargo said that Handspring also intends to use the Enterprise version of the product as it ramps up its B2B efforts.

"Weve been solely focused on consumers, and thats worked extremely well for us, but a lot of people are buying handhelds for work," Fargo said. "Were seeing companies taking on the purchasing of handhelds themselves, so we see a tremendous opportunity to focus on enterprise customers making purchase orders."

Fargo said Enterprise Commerce 5.5s support for unique pricing structures and catalogs specific to corporate customers will help Handspring meet this need.

"Its something we would have had to build ourselves, so this is great timing for us," he said.

On the Consumer Commerce side, Fargo said Handspring plans to take advantage of the product comparison features to allow customers to see how its various products stack up against one another and find the best fit for their needs.

The inventory and pipeline management enhancements should also be useful, Fargo said, since they will give customers information about an inventory shortfall as it happens so they dont order a product that is out of stock.

Pricing for the ATG software starts at $115,000 per CPU for Consumer Commerce 5.5 and $135,000 per CPU for Enterprise Commerce 5.5.