Ironside Forges Ironworks 4.0

Moving beyond the traditional means of the sell-side business-to-business e-commerce space, Ironside Technologies (Pleasanton, Calif.) has added additional features and functionality for enhanced customer self-service, and buyer and seller integration capabilities with the release of Ironworks 4.0.

In what Ironside COO Derek Smyth dubbed “a revolutionary release,” Ironside has customized Ironworks to move beyond its core ability of deploying e-commerce functionality that integrates with ERP systems to now include supporting integration for both supply chain and logistics.

“Ironworks 4.0 represents a fully scalable business-to-business e-commerce solution that allows buyers and manufacturers to deliver a best of class solution to their customers quickly,” says Smith. “It also allows them to scale into the evolution of the business-to-business market.”

One of the new components in 4.0 is Customer Interaction Manager (CIM),

“Ironworks 4.0 represents a fully scalable business-to-business e-commerce solution that allows buyers and manufacturers to deliver a best of class solution to their customers quickly. It also allows them to scale into the evolution of the business-to-business market.” -- Ironside COO Derek Smyth
which features advanced workflow functionality to increase the quality of customer self-service options such as automated e-mail and fax customer notifications. “Buyers can go in and further customize the way they interface with their customers,” says Smith. “This allows buyers to stay closer to their customers and customers to stay closer to the buyers.”

The CIM can be customized to reflect any business event, such as inventory restock. One of the components of CIM, advanced order-management, provides on-line configuration capability, enabling buyers to assemble complex products. The benefit is twofold—it provides sellers with cross- and up-sell opportunities and also enables buyers to custom-figure products for their specific requirements.

Ironworks 4.0 includes a new feature called Ironside Access that increases the interaction options for both buyers and sellers through multiple points of entry. Instead of interacting through a Web browser, Ironworks enables customer access through wireless devices, CRM, trading exchanges, auctions, one-to-one marketing and procurement applications. On the seller side, this feature enables them to reach online channels, like trading communities, procurement applications and buying communities.

“Ironside’s new version of Ironworks adds strength in the key areas of legacy system integration and streamlined transaction generation,” says Vernon Keenan, Internet analyst at San Francisco-based Keenan Vision, Inc. “Internet site developers should find Ironside access interesting as a new approach to supporting Internet exchanges, a the new B2B trading hubs.”

With hand-held devices expected to play a major role in the future for Internet access and e-commerce, Ironside has developed eMobile-- a wireless application for the Palm VII personal digital assistant. eMobile extends Ironworks’ application-level integration characteristics to customers and field-level sales representatives in need of remote account access. According to a report by Forrester Research (Boston), hand-held devices will eclipse PCs as the dominant Internet access device by 2003 and 35 percent of all e-commerce will be executed on hand-held devices by 2003.

Finally, Ironworks 4.0 includes a Ironside Transaction-Adapter Developer’s Kit (iTDK), that enables Ironside Powered companies to rapidly integrate into any enterprise business system, extending real-time visibility into any ERP, supply chain, logistics and legacy system.

Ironworks 4.0 still includes specific product editions, such as Ironworks for J.D. Edwards and Ironworks for SAP. However, by enhancing its product reach, Smith says Ironside is in a better position to play a major role in a sell-side and customer service market that “is growing at a rate of 100 percent compared to 68 percent for the total e-commerce market

“We execute and leverage existing business logic, our competition requires the customers to business logic that exists on ERP systems to the Web,” says Smith. “Another thing that sets us apart is our real-time accessibility and seamless integration into multiple systems.”

Ironworks 4.0 will be available on March 1, 2000, with the average selling price slated to be somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000.

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