iPlanet in E-Commerce Attack Mode

The e-commerce division of the Sun-Netscape Alliance will fire the newest
salvo in the battle to produce the newest, catch-all solutions for an
industry that is evolving according to customer demands and whims.


iPlanetT E-Commerce Solutions will kick off its next-generation commerce
platform, which includes buying, selling, billing, market making and trade
facilitation software solutions — everything a solution provider needs to
cover a broad range of e-commerce interests.


The platform wraps up a milange of the company’s next-generation Java-based
business applications, including iPlanetT BuyerXpert, iPlanetT BillerXpert,
iPlanetT TrustBase Transaction Manager, iPlanetT Market Maker and iPlanetT
SellerXpert.


But what’s different is that those applications rely on smart services
within the platform — including unified user management, application and
integration, communications and portal services, as a big step toward
pushing its industry solutions past chief rivals Ariba Inc. and Commerce One
Inc.


But Carol Adams, vice president of marketing for commerce services, told
InternetNews.com Friday that a key difference between iPlanet’s commerce
services and those of its aforementioned competitors, is that Ariba and
Commerce One typically offer their applications for franchises. Key among
this, Adams said, is that those companies run such commerce platforms for,
say, a Subway franchise. Sun steps back and lets the client have control.


“What we’re finding, is that these franchises are choosing to step away from
that hosted e-commerce for services that offer more personalization and
customization,” Adams noted.

When asked how the e-commerce experience is evolving, as many savvy
businesses and attuned analysts note, Adams said iPlanet firmly believes
that customers are not concentrating on the content and services of commerce
platforms — their primary interest lies in user experience.


Adams said the user defines experience in a myriad of ways — from
personalization and customization, to the predictable quality of e-commerce
platform use.


A fair analogy to iPlanet’s philosophy would be to compare commerce platform
shopping to an prospective buyer’s shopping for a car. The shopper knows the
car will drive them from point A to point B just as they know to expect a
radio — think of this as the service and content inherent in a motor
vehicle. But what a customer wants to know are the finer points. Will the
seat adjust just so? What kind of stereo is in the dash? Does it have
six-way speakers? This is what defines a user’s experience as a driver just
as iPlanet hopes to provide levels of customization within its own platform.


The revised applications are powered by iPlanet’s Application Server and are
architected by Java, Sun’s ubiquitous technology.


Available on a per-central processing unit or subscription basis, iPlanet’s
BuyerXpert, BillerXpert and TrustBase products are available immediately
while its two upgraded services, MarketMaker and SellerXpert, will be
available to the public in the first quarter of 2001.

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