i2 enters government market

The launch of i2 Technologies' public-sector unit today is aimed squarely at government customers who have complex supply chains, transportation and logistics operations.

Software from i2 powers electronic marketplaces by connecting customers and suppliers. The software has its roots in facility management and finding the best way to optimize transportation and logistics for factories.

Based on the company's experience with commercial customers such as Dell Computer Corp., 3M and Hewlett-Packard Co., i2 executives believe federal, state and local governments will be able to use its technology to manage customer and supplier relationships and meld its software with enterprise resource planning solutions (ERP) to keep track of an agency's assets and costs.

In fact, the savings an agency gains from using i2's technology for automating supplier and customers management could be used to help pay for an ERP modernization program, said James White, senior vice president of i2. White is responsible for the public sector, aerospace and defense and airline business lines.

The company was awarded a General Services Administration schedule contract in March for its software solutions and professional services. Software from i2 also is available on the National Institutes of Health's Chief Information Officers Solutions and Partners (CIO-SP 2) contract.

In addition to i2's supply chain management, customer relationship management and supplier relationship management tools, the acquisition of RightWorks Corp., announced in March, will add e-procurement tools that i2 can market in the federal space, White said.

"Our market grew exponentially with RightWorks because it addresses what the federal government wants to do today," he said. "Supply chain management is a new concept for many in the government. E-procurement is easier to grasp."

The company also will promote its e-marketplace products for use in the government's online exchanges and auction sites because it automates the replenishment of content about suppliers' offerings, White said. Most supplier information is updated manually now, he said.

The company will target agencies such as the Defense Department, the Transportation Department, the U.S. Postal Service and NASA because they have complex supply chains, transportation and logistics operations, White said.

Last June, i2 was a subcontractor to SAP Public Sector and Education on the Navy's ERP implementation at Naval Sea Systems Command. The portion i2 provided was schedule optimization software for maintenance and overhaul, said James Martin, i2 director of business development and alliances.

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