Click Commerce Brings .NET to Manufacturers

E-commerce specialist Click Commerce Inc. Monday said the 4.3 version of its flagship product will be tailored to run on Microsoft’s .NET platform. Click Commerce 4.3, which is a channel-management tool designed for Global 1000 manufacturers, will leverage .NET to simplify integration along the supply chain.

Click Commerce expects .NET’s Web services features will give manufacturers the ability to more easily manage their distribution channels by reducing overall cost of ownership. Steve Cole, vice president of marketing and marketplace strategy for Click Commerce, says Web services eliminate much of the expensive custom work traditionally done to integrate disparate applications and systems. “[.NET] is an easy way for us to apply Web services to our applications so that other applications can then consume them,” he says.

In addition to the .NET platform, Click Commerce will be providing support on the developer end for Visual Studio .NET, which Microsoft intends to release at its VS Live! Conference in San Francisco in February.

“What’s really helpful is, in terms of developer time, the .NET development environment, Visual Studio,” says Cole. “Forms, controls and those types of things are much easier to integrate during the Visual Studio .NET development cycle.”

Users of Click Commerce 4.3 will be able to build applications using Visual Studio .NET that can plug right into the Click Commerce channel-management platform.

Cole also cites Web services as helpful for replication. One of the key functions of channel management is to ensure all systems that come into play along the distribution path are current, which Cole describes as a “time consuming and tedious process.” Web services allow for automated replication of data.

Furthermore, says Cole, “Many of our customers have internal forecasting systems. We can use Web services to publish demand plans and aggregate demand plans. Generally that information is just not available today, because there’s just no convenient method for publishing it.”

With future releases, Cole says Click Commerce will be adding support for a number of tools housed under Microsoft’s new My Services designation. My Services, formerly code-named Hailstorm, are expected to be Microsoft’s first complete suite of services offered on the .NET platform.

“We’re looking at all of the My Services services,” says Cole. “Many of those are more [business-to-consumer] oriented than [business-to-business], but we’re actively evaluating all of them.” According to Cole, Passport, and other e-wallet services are attractive to Click Commerce. And, he says, there are already plans under way to migrate Click Commerce’s existing internal alerts services to the alerts technology offered under My Services.

Click Commerce 4.3 is slated for public release Jan. 31, 2002.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was modified on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2001 with some clarifications. Click Commerce 4.3 is not a supply-chain management solution, but a channel-management offering.

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to He focuses particularly on Microsoft .NET and other Web services technologies. Matt was the editor of several technology-related Web publications and electronic newsletters, including Web Services Report, ASP insights and MIDRANGE Systems.