PHOENIX (04/26/2000) - InfoImage Inc. is bringing Microsoft Corp.'s dream of a unified, browser- based view of corporate data to life with the release of freedom 2 B2B and B2E Decision Servers.
The two products tie into Web servers and Microsoft's Office 2000 line to provide users an aggregated view of company data in a browser window or, as dubbed by Microsoft, a Digital Dashboard.
The freedom 2 B2E server supports internal users by providing them with their own personalized views into corporate data. The B2B edition extends that information access to external customers and suppliers, providing a self-service center for viewing related information. The freedom line features technology that lets users link multiple InfoImage servers, which will help provide greater scalability.
InfoImage has also developed what it calls Peripheral Vision, a means of using business logic to connect various types of related but separate data. For instance, a salesperson looking at an order could click on individual products to get a description or click on the company name and get a complete order history of that client, says Randy Eckel, InfoImage's CEO.
Freedom also comes with Collaboration Manager, a module for linking with Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange messaging systems. Eckel says this module allows information gathered with the freedom product to be passed along to others more easily.
"The module can help identify the people that are stake holders or experts in a piece of information, so users can go beyond the seven people they normally talk with to get additional feedback," Eckel says.
Best Foods North America is in the process of introducing the freedom B2E product to 300 members of its sales force to provide them with better access to the company's SAP system.
"SAP does not do a good job of aggregating reports," says Kevin Kyle, director of customer strategies at the Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, food distributor.
"We're looking to use the freedom tool as a complement to our SAP implementation that will let sales managers view recent customer orders and see what has shipped."
Kyle selected the InfoImage product based on response from friends at Gillette who were using the product successfully with their own SAP system. "Not a lot of vendors in this market have actually gone out and delivered product," Kyle says of the competition. "I was impressed with the Gillette system and the direction of InfoImage."
Pricing for freedom 2 B2E Decision Server starts at $200 per user, and B2B starts at $30 per user. Although this is the second release of the InfoImage server line, it is the first time the company has had such deep integration with the Microsoft platform. The two companies announced the Digital Dashboard idea in October 1999.