I2 to standardize SCM suite on Microsoft technology

Supply change management (SCM) software vendor i2 Technologies has inked a deal to standardize its suite on the Microsoft technology platform -- a move it hopes will help customers who want to do much the same thing with their own supply chain operations.

i2 customers who use Outlook or Excel will now be able to directly access and manipulate their i2 applications from within those Microsoft applications, according to executives from both companies on hand for the i2 Planet 2005 user conference. As part of the deal, i2 will also develop its SCM software on the Windows platform.

The agreement between the two companies was officially announced in Phoenix at i2 Planet 2005.

Officials at i2 said customers will be able to more easily craft complete supply-chain-related workflows using Microsoft software, including its 32- and 64-bit-based Windows Server technology, the BizTalk Server integration application and the SQL Server database.

For customers interested in doing so, the move by i2 offers a single software stack for them to work with beyond the Unix-based tools now in use, which could cut costs for some companies, said Pallab Chatterjee, president of solutions operations at i2. While customers have been able to select Windows as their i2 operating system before, the tighter linkage with Microsoft's Web services-based architecture will allow them to better integrate and collaborate on projects.

Some customers are already using i2's Master Data Management information cleansing and consolidation application with Excel as the interface, Chatterjee said.

In turn, said Charles Johnson, managing director in Microsoft's manufacturing industry group, users of Microsoft's Great Plains or even SAP's Windows-based applications will be able to more easily link that software to i2's SCM suite.

Chatterjee said products built around Microsoft standards will start to be available by year's end.

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