PHOENIX — May 11, 2005 — Today at i2 Planet 2005, i2 Technologies Inc. and Microsoft Corp. announced the formation of a strategic alliance designed to deliver more flexibility, greater ease of use and a lower total cost of ownership of supply chain management (SCM) solutions for customers. As part of this alliance, i2 will be developing its world-class SCM solutions on the Microsoft® platform.
The alliance is intended to allow i2 to deliver its solutions on the Microsoft platform, offering businesses the ability to use and customize Microsoft Office 2003, and in particular Microsoft Office Excel 2003, as their primary interface for i2 applications. In addition to the Microsoft .NET Framework and the Microsoft Office System, the initiative focuses on a number of key Microsoft technologies, including the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Server (TM) 2003, SQL Server (TM) , and Microsoft Office SharePoint® Portal Server. i2 Master Data Management (MDM) and Demand Management (DM) are the first i2 solutions targeted for development with these Microsoft technologies.
“Customers are requesting supply chain agility solutions that capture i2’s domain expertise and run on the Microsoft platform,” said Pallab Chatterjee, president, Solutions Operations, i2. “We’re pleased to collaborate with Microsoft. With its experience in Web services and enterprise application technology expertise, coupled with our 16 years of SCM software and solutions experience, everybody wins — most importantly our customers.”
The flexibility gained by developing i2 solutions using the Microsoft .NET Framework should help customers adapt their supply chain systems more quickly to meet the changing needs of their business. The familiarity of the Microsoft software environment should also help customers streamline efficiencies. Because i2 solutions will use the Microsoft Office System as the interface, customers can continue working in their existing Office spreadsheets, and have the opportunity to unleash the full potential of the data contained in those worksheets using familiar and easy-to-use desktop tools. Visual Studio® .NET also is expected to allow customers to easily extend their solutions, saving developers time and money.
“Improving collaboration and performance throughout the supply chain is a component of our recently announced Peak Performance Initiative,” said Charles Johnson, worldwide managing director of the Manufacturing Industry Unit at Microsoft. “This alliance is a strategic fit for us, and we’re excited that i2 and Microsoft have joined forces to help customers make better, faster decisions.”
Today’s supply chain requires global, real-time insight across the value chain. Manufacturers are pressured to adopt lean manufacturing best practices, but struggle to justify the hefty investment that typically accompanies such initiatives. Microsoft and i2 are committed to helping their industry partners and customers get the most out of legacy investments and extend their capabilities to optimize supply chain performance.
The Business Challenge
Business planners face many challenges in planning for and managing demand in the face of constant change. Typically they assemble historical data from disparate systems and gather input from other organizations to develop a baseline plan, which usually requires considerable manual effort. They then collaborate with other stakeholders to develop a consensus plan, which they publish but which isn’t integrated with execution and business intelligence systems. Planners commonly use Excel spreadsheets to gather, consolidate, analyze and publish demand plans, storing critical planning information on their personal workstations. As a result, companies cannot take full advantage of such fragmented information, and the integrity of key company information may be at risk.
i2 Master Data Management and Demand Manager are designed to address these challenges. i2 MDM helps ease the burden of complex data management, enabling companies to create and maintain application-specific data; introduce new products; consolidate data from multiple disparate systems; filter unwanted data; and cleanse, transform and validate data. i2 DM can help planners develop comprehensive, accurate and profitable demand plans, and offers capabilities to manage demand forecasting and planning, demand prioritization and communication, and performance management. The solutions being delivered by i2 in connection with the alliance are designed to build on these capabilities, enhancing functionality, creating flexibility, connecting Excel and helping lower the total cost of ownership by developing the latest generation of i2 applications on Microsoft technologies.
Building the Plan
One example is a corporate planner at a consumer electronics manufacturer who is planning for the launch of a new notebook computer and needs to gather information such as how well notebooks have sold in the past, where demand has been greatest and what resulted from any related promotions. The planner would collect this information using SQL Server and other corporate data systems, taking advantage of the planner’s favorite data analysis tool, such as Excel. Next, the planner would collaborate with other corporate departments, customers and partners to consider additional information such as historical demand, financial performance, market trend analysis, competitive information and regional trends. The planner would then publish an official demand plan, which could be accessed through Web services by all authorized stakeholders. These stakeholders would be able to track variations to the plan using exceptions identified by SQL Server Analysis Services and Reporting Services, reacting to changing conditions to maximize profitability. All this information would be stored and synchronized within MDM on SQL Server, meeting data integrity and security standards set by the company’s CIO.
i2 has already developed solution prototypes and anticipates general product availability in the second half of 2005. Businesses interested in the early adoption of these solutions can send an e-mail message to [email protected] or [email protected].
i2 (OTC: ITWH) is a leading provider of demand-driven supply chain solutions designed to enable business agility. i2’s flexible solutions can synchronize demand and supply across an ever-changing global supply network. Nineteen of the AMR Research Top 25 Global Supply Chains belong to companies who are i2 customers. Seven of the Fortune global top 10 are also customers of i2. Founded in 1988 with a commitment to customer success and supply chain innovation, i2 has a history of delivering value by implementing solutions designed to provide a rapid return on investment. Learn more at www.i2.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
i2 Cautionary Language
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including forward-looking statements regarding the development of i2 MDM and DM and other i2 products on the Microsoft platform and the ease of use, total cost of ownership and other benefits that may result. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ from those projected. For a discussion of factors which could impact i2’s financial results and cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements, please refer to i2’s recent filings with the SEC, particularly the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed May 10, 2005, and the Annual Report on Form 10-K filed March 16, 2005. i2 assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking information contained in this press release.
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