As businesses make the push to move their operations online, IT workers are scrambling to link legacy systems to trading partners and marketplaces. In an effort to smooth the process, RightWorks Corp. this month will roll out a new version of its eBusiness Application Suite. The upgrade will enable customers to tie together various systems in a "single coherent flow," says Lou Unkeless, RightWorks' vice president of strategy and product marketing.
RightWorks eBusiness Application Suite 7.0 adds sourcing features that make it easier for a company and its trading partners to collaborate and exchange product information. The suite also includes forward auctioning features that are designed to help companies get the best prices for excess or obsolete inventory. Customers will be able to integrate internal inventory and asset tracking systems.
The company also added XML capabilities to its existing business object framework, workflow engine and integration manager. The application suite is built on RightWorks' 2G eBusiness platform, which allows companies to link legacy enterprise resource planning systems and e-business operations, trading partners' systems and marketplaces to the suite.
Mark Tiggas, an e-commerce architect at Wells Fargo & Co. Services, appreciates the enhanced catalog features in the new software. "They've extended the catalog capabilities, so there's a much richer catalog environment," Tiggas says. Version 6.2, which was released in December, lacked an extensible architecture, which meant users couldn't make their own modifications. Wells Fargo Services will deploy Version 7.0 in a limited capacity in June and has plans for a second-stage deployment later this year.
Bruce Richardson, an analyst at AMR Research Inc., says RightWorks understands its customers' needs, but the company must watch out for stumbling blocks.
Richardson says RightWorks knows it needs to build tools for different customers - those buying direct materials, which are products that are bought, altered and resold, as well as those buying indirect materials, which are completed products. "The danger is focusing on direct materials, and it would be a huge mistake if they de-emphasized indirect," he says.
In addition, Richardson points out that RightWorks and other companies need to start addressing financial executives who are beginning to have a say in software buying.
RightWorks eBusiness Application Suite will be released Feb. 28. Prices range from US$250,000 to $5 million, based on components, the volume of transactions and the size of the company.
The suite runs on Sun Solaris, Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000. It supports 12 languages including English, American English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Korean, Japanese, Traditional and Simplified Chinese.