JD Edwards enters portal arena

Jumping into the enterprise information portal race, JD Edwards announced availability of its ActivEra portal last week.

The portal provides a Web interface to JD Edwards' flagship enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite, OneWorld; to supply-chain and logistics applications from its recently acquired subsidiary, Numetrix; and to sales, marketing, and online procurement modules from partners Siebel Systems and Ariba.

The ActivEra portal gives employees, customers, and trading partners access to functions such as filing expense reports, ordering production runs, checking availability, or calling up a problem case file, said Michael Schmitt, senior vice president of sales and marketing at JD Edwards.

The portal can also foster business-to-business electronic commerce by hosting trading communities or exchanges, Schmitt said. The ActivEra portal is sold as part of OneWorld, and the price is based on the number of users.

The company also announced a three-step plan to integrate Numetrix's Xtra into OneWorld to beef up its electronic business capacities.

Numetrix Xtra can figure out optimization problems such as how quickly an order can be filled or the most efficient route to deliver products, said Edward Sitarski, vice president for supply-chain planning at Numetrix.

Xtra 2.0, due out in October, adds more support for platform technologies, such as Java applets and SOCKS and Secure Sockets Layer encryption technologies and is faster and more fault-tolerant, he added. The cost starts at about $US10,000 per user, Sitarski said. Also in October, J.D. Edwards will release the first bridge between OneWorld and Xtra 2.0, at level of batch-processing, he said. By June, the suites will communicate with real-time, event-driven messaging.

The third and final step of integration, probably coming in late 2000, would be full real-time and connect to all aspects of ActivEra. For example, a traffic alert about an accident involving one of the user's freight trucks could immediately call up the optimisation "brain" to figure out how to dispatch another load, Schmitt said.

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