Suppliers Gain E-savvy Tools

Allied vendors aim to integrate e-com platforms, organize catalog data

Companies that are tired of waiting for their suppliers to make the leap to e-business now have several new ways to lend them a helping hand. Two new alliances announced last week aim to make it easier for suppliers to connect directly with their customers and make their catalogs, order-tracking systems and other essential data available to online marketplaces.

Commerce One Inc. and NetVendor Inc. announced that they will integrate their respective e-commerce offerings to deliver platforms specifically for the aerospace, automotive and electronics industries.

Separately, OrderFusion Inc., a provider of supplier-enablement software, and Poet Software Corp. announced a similar alliance aimed at integrating Poets eCatalog Suite with OrderFusions namesake e-commerce platform.

Officials at OrderFusion, of San Diego, said that they thought the combination of their companys platform with Poets software for cleansing and normalizing catalog data would clear a lot of hurdles for suppliers trying to connect directly with marketplaces or their customers.

Poet, based in San Mateo, Calif., uses eCatalog Suite to tailor each suppliers catalog content to each suppliers customers, which can access the catalog over the Internet.

Poet and OrderFusion will also jointly market and sell their respective solutions. The companies have not set a timetable for when the integration will be completed.

The Commerce One/NetVendor partnership goes a little deeper. Commerce One, of Pleasanton, Calif., has agreed to make an investment in Atlanta-based NetVendor. In addition, Commerce One will integrate its e-commerce software with NetVendors supplier-enablement offering.

NetVendors technology enables distributors and manufacturers to automate the online sales, service and distribution processes. As part of the deal, the company plans to create an interface to Commerce Ones namesake e-marketplace application, allowing suppliers to offer services such as real-time pricing, availability and order status, and design to order.

Through the new alliance, Commerce One hopes to be able to provide customers with a more complete package of sell-side services.

"These [alliances] should certainly make life easier for the suppliers," said Michael Handley, an analyst with Giga Information Group Inc., in Cambridge, Mass. "The partnership is especially nice for Commerce One because it gives them more inroads into some major industries, like the automotive sector."

In related supplier-enablement news, software to be unveiled this week by Glovia International LLC similarly will enable manufacturers to streamline online ordering from their suppliers.

Glovia, a Fujitsu Ltd. subsidiary in El Segundo, Calif., will introduce an addition to its line of enterprise resource planning software that extends the supply chain. The new Glovia Order Management System enables suppliers to create virtual catalogs that can be read in as many as 20 languages. The software, available now, integrates with Glovias service management software, and both systems feed back into the companys financial systems management software, officials said.