BroadVision muscles into b-to-b arena with new apps

Desktop e-commerce supplier BroadVision Inc. Monday made a major play in the business-to-business arena with the release of its sixth-generation online business and marketplace applications.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based software company built its new applications around Java technology and has tools designed to allow companies to better control online catalogs, process electronic payments in real time and allow non-IT workers to make content changes in online offerings.

Powered by BroadVision's One-to-One Enterprise 6.0 platform, the new releases are the 6.0 versions of BroadVision's Business Commerce and MarketMaker tools.

One of the main additions is the cataloging technology. Now, a company can manage its catalogs from a single source and use procurement software from companies such as Mountain View, Calif.-based Ariba Inc. or Pleasanton, Calif.-based CommerceOne Inc. to handle transactions.

According to Simon King, BroadVision's vice president for advanced strategy, updates to catalogs can be made by workers outside the IT arena.

"That's the key to enterprise self-service," King said. "The idea is you don't need an IT guy to do everything."

Three years ago, the Business Commerce tool evolved from BroadVision's retail applications and currently boasts more than 300 users.

The 6.0 release is available immediately, King said, and costs roughly US$500,000 for it and the One-to-One platform.

Kent Allen, e-business analyst with the Aberdeen Group Inc. in Palo Alto, Calif., called online management of sellside content a key for future e-business efforts, and said companies like BroadVision, Blue Martini Software Inc. and Intershop Communications AG are well-positioned to expand their personalized sales management tools into the larger enterprise arena.

"BroadVision's also gotten lucky in that companies are less focused on enabling transactions online and instead looking to push down costs by better managing their customers through online channels," Allen said. "That's exactly where BroadVision's been with their portal and now it's just a matter of expanding what the portal can do."

Bob McCullough, an analyst at Hurwitz Group Inc. in Framingham, Mass., said BroadVision can claim "a real advance in technology" if its latest applications actually deliver technical functionality to nontechnical staffers. He also said that BroadVision's ability to manage catalogs and private marketplaces from a single point offers an attractive proposition in the current marketplace.

"They're the only sizable company doing that at this time," McCullough said.

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More about Aberdeen GroupAribaBlue MartiniBlue Martini SoftwareBroadvisionCommerceOneHurwitz GroupIntershopIntershop CommunicationsIntershop CommunicationsINTERSHOP Communications AG

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