i2 Deal Ties B2B Logistics to Real-World Shipping

SAN MATEO (04/18/2000) - Enterprise business software developer i2 Technologies Inc. has agreed to resell export shipment management and compliance software from 100-person startup Capstan Systems, which will be integrated with i2's FreightMatrix b-to-b (business-to-business) logistics package.

The integration of Capstan's software will add a global dimension to FreightMatrix as well as electronic links for logistics trading partners who are delivering buying, selling, and planning services, said company officials.

Both parties have been at work on this alliance for the past two months hoping that the combination will bring savings to users through the elimination of waste in the logistics process and more access to logistics partners.

The combined solution will make use of i2's TradeMatrix platform and will be available to shippers, logistics service providers, and industry-specific e-marketplaces during the second quarter of this year. i2 has made an investment in Capstan of an undisclosed amount.

The i2/Capstan combination will provide users with an alternative to a "global supply chain that is extremely manual now," said Ronald Alvarez, president and CEO of Capstan. Many firms are still using typewriters, faxes, phone, and e-mail, and the i2/Capstan product combination is expected to bring them "dramatic changes," he said.

The agreement, worked out over the last two months, will deliver services to users in an ASP (application service provider) mode, Alvarez said. When the combined service is ready, customers will be accessing the service via a browser, with data entry in a workflow environment. The combined offerings of Capstan's export products and i2's FreightMatrix should be available in June or July, he said.

Over the coming months, Capstan will also be training the systems integration partners of i2, Alvarez said. "Our efforts will be on supporting i2 for its Global 2000 accounts and building a response team [to assist in deployments]," he said.

The reselling agreement will allow customers to subscribe to the integrated product from i2, and be charged on a per-transaction basis.

While ASP services are often thought of as aimed at the middle market, the combined effort is "not a middle-market play. It's for Global 2000 customers and those of that class," Alvarez said. "It's a solution for a significantly larger customer [than small or medium-sized firms]."i2 Technologies is headquartered in Dallas and can be found on the Web at www.i2.com. Capstan Systems is based in San Francisco and located at www.capstan.com.

Eugene Grygo is an InfoWorld senior editor.

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