Ironside Network Goes Live

Ironside Technologies (Anaheim, Calif.) recently announced general availability for the Ironside Network—an independent e-business access service for resolving the integration issues that suppliers face when connecting to e-marketplaces. In addition, Ironside also announced that the Ironside Network has brokered real-time transactions between J.L. Hammett Co., an independent school supply distributor, and Simplexis, a leading online procurement solution for the educational market.

Introduced in April of 2000, the Ironside Network targets mid-sized manufacturing and distribution companies that are looking to connect to e-marketplaces such as Ariba.e-marketplaces are growing at a very fast pace, and represent a great opportunity for manufacturers to reach a wide range of potential customers.

The problem, says Jake Sorofman, public relations manager, Ironside Technologies, is that it can take anywhere from three to six months for mid-sized manufacturers to connect to e-marketplaces. “The context of the opportunity for suppliers to participate in e-marketplaces is huge,” he says. “If they don’t participate, they will lose a lot of potential customers.”

The Ironside Network eliminates the integration problem that suppliers are facing when connecting to e-marketplaces. Acting as a translator, the Ironside Network connects a supplier’s back-end applications with an e-marketplace. Instead of a time period of three to six months, suppliers can connect to an e-marketplace within 14 to 20 days using the Ironside Network. “We enable suppliers to connect to e-marketplaces in a quick, secure manner, something they would not have been able to do before,” says Sorofman.

The Ironside Network solution for suppliers consists of two basic components: IronsideX and Ironside.Net. IronsideX is software that resides at the supplier site and enables the transfer of data to and from the supplier's enterprise applications through Ironside.Net to the e-marketplace community. IronsideX can be sold on its own or as part of the Ironworks solution suite.

Ironside.Net is an application service that acts as the consolidation point into and out of the various e-marketplaces that seamlessly translates data by managing the numerous protocols. Ironside.Net provides suppliers with a single point of entry to all on-line eMarketplaces. Through Ironside.Net, real-time buyer transactions are passed to and from the supplier's enterprise applications during the buyer's session on the exchange.

Since its April 3 introduction, Ironside has assembled a portfolio of e-marketplaces infrastructure adapters, providing suppliers integration into leading e-marketplace infrastructures. The Network now includes the ability to accept any kind of payment and will provide information to the suppliers such as the ROI they are getting from each e-marketplace they participate in.

Overall, Ironside has signed agreements with 13 e-marketplaces. According to Sorofman, the average supplier will participate in four e-marketplaces. In the case that a customer wants to connect to an e-marketplace that Ironside does not have an agreement with, Sorofman says the Ironside Network has the ability integrate with other e-marketplaces outside their realm of partners.

One of the advantages of the Ironside Network is that it provides suppliers with the flexibility to enter and exit new e-marketplaces on demand, greatly reducing the effort and risk of entering new e-market channels.

“We’re taking all the risk away from the suppliers, in terms of investment and the manpower needed to enter e-marketplaces, and allowing them to participate by offering real-time information,” says Sorofman.

To improve communication between suppliers and buyers, Ironside also recently announced the addition of a wireless B2B infrastructure. This subscription-based service will enable Ironside Network subscribers to reach business buyers, providing them with real-time transaction and order management capabilities via virtually any wireless-enables device, over virtually any wireless network. Some of the wireless capabilities include: functionality for accessing up-to-the second order status, checking dynamically calculated inventory levels; and executing transaction based upon real-time available-to-promise information.

The Ironside Network is free of charge for Ironside customers, while non-Ironside customers will be charged $25,000. Both groups will be charged a subscription rate of $500 per month and $1 per transaction/per exchange. The wireless B2B services are expected to be available starting in early October, 2000. Subscription pricing is not yet known.

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