Tuesday, June 11, 2002

i2 taking the right actions in today's market

At i2's Planet 2002 conference, i2 outlined its plan for improving its business. Among the many announcements, several are particularly interesting in terms of current trends in the market:

First, i2 announced that, in order to ensure software quality, it is delaying release the new v6.0 until the end of 2002. Although normally a rescheduled delivery date would be seen as a negative, this should be viewed as good sign that i2 is taking software quality seriously, as opposed to the common practice among enterprise system vendors of shipping products on time and then issuing numerous patches for bugs found during client implementation (see weblog entries regarding Oracle, on May 21 and May 22.)

Second, i2 is emphasizing sales of key standalone solutions, such as demand planning, factory planning, transportation management, and spending analysis rather than pushing a full suite or bundle approach for new sales. This is a good sign of i2 recognizing that, in this market, prospects prefer to make small incremental investments rather than a bet-the-farm bet on new technology.

Third, i2 is rationalizing its 107 separate products into 63 applications. Although this still sounds like an unworkable number of offerings, i2 is moving them all to a common J2EE platform, which should provide better interoperability and a more componentized architecture. This should further encourage clients to take a pick-and-choose strategy to implementation. SCM applications are incredibly complex, and such actions that software vendors take to allow a step-by-step approach to implementation will bring greater adoption in the long run.