Ariba, I2, IBM cosy up

Six months into its alliance with i2 Technologies and IBM, Ariba has debuted tighter integration among the offerings of all three and promised closer business-to-business collaboration over the Internet for supply chains and online marketplaces.

The members of the alliance focused primarily on creating new links among the Ariba B2B Commerce Platform, i2 TradeMatrix offerings, and IBM's hardware platforms and middleware products, according to Ariba officials.

With design and testing completed, Ariba, through a joint integration laboratory, now has a version of Ariba Buyer 7.0 that can interoperate with i2's Discovery Catalogue and Content Exchange 1.5 (the offerings from Aspect, which i2 acquired).

Meanwhile, the Ariba Dynamic Trade 2.0 package also works with i2 Discovery Catalogue and Content Exchange. The joint efforts of 300 developers have been focused on building new integration paths via the CXML (Commerce Extensible Markup Language) specification, Ariba officials said.

For the IBM environment, the Ariba Dynamic Trade 2.0 software will run against server platforms with IBM's AIX version of Unix and IBM's DB2 relational database. In addition, suppliers can now use IBM's WebSphere Commerce Suite, a software on-ramp for suppliers to link to the Ariba Commerce Services Network (ACSN). The Buyer 7.0 offering also operates with AIX, IBM's Netfinity server, DB2, and comes with support for IBM's de facto messaging standard software, MQ Series - all aimed at helping users share data between applications. Also toward that end, i2's TradeMatrix platform now includes MQ Series and MQ Workflow, officials said.

Ariba also announced that Ariba Marketplace now works with Tivoli Systems' eMarketplace Manager to offer users service availability, performance, and security control capabilities. The Marketplace can also provide supplier integration with IBM's Websphere BtoB Integrator. The Websphere support, when used in conjunction with Ariba's SupplierLive solution, will let suppliers post content on the ACSN, allowing interested parties to then "punch out" to suppliers' Web sites.

Big Blue and i2 have also been busy developing closer ties. i2's TradeMatrix offerings - the Buy, Sell, Fulfill, and Content software - now run on IBM's AIX-based RS/6000, AS/400, and Netfinity servers. Parts of the i2 TradeMatrix Fulfill software now work in conjunction with IBM's WebSphere BtoB Integrator in an effort to improve interoperability with the business processes of buyers and suppliers. IBM's DB2 can now be used with TradeMatrix applications such as Business Process Intelligence, Internet Fulfillment, Enterprise Application Integration, Procurement and Design Collaboration, and Supply Chain Management.

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