CrossRoute links suppliers, customers via Net

New e-commerce software by CrossRoute lets companies link to suppliers, distributors, and customers via the Internet or extranets.

2 min read
CrossRoute Software today announced new e-commerce software that lets companies link to suppliers, distributors, and customers via the Internet or extranets.

CrossRoute Alliance, due to ship next month, lets companies with enterprise software from different vendors--SAP, Baan, Oracle, or PeopleSoft--communicate with each other.

The new CrossRoute software stitches together functions from incompatible enterprise software so they work together, creating what CrossRoute calls "an extended enterprise."

"We have a strong process orientation. We connect systems under the hood--enterprise to enterprise," said CrossRoute cofounder and chief executive Kenneth Ross, who also cofounded Ross Systems and served as chief executive at Documentum.

CrossRoute's Alliance lets companies link to customers, distributors, and suppliers using the Internet or extranet. It helps automate processes to integrate supply chains, replenish inventory, accept distributors' orders, and coordinate logistics. The goals: reduce lead times, minimize inventories, and boost productivity.

In addition to the Alliance server software, CrossRoute and partners will develop "adapters" that plug into enterprise systems to allow them to communicate with each other. Today Alliance offers a generic adapter template, but it is developing off-the-shelf adapters for SAP, Oracle, and PeopleSoft applications, to be delivered next year.

CrossRoute seeks to differentiate itself from other e-commerce players that do somewhat similar things. For example, companies such as Commerce One, Ariba Technologies, and Fisher Technology Group link enterprise purchasing systems with custom catalogs of their suppliers, mostly for everyday office goods, not production materials.

Similarly, EDI (electronic data interchange) automates business-to-business transactions through forms-based communications sent directly from computer to computer without human intervention. EDI software developers such as Premenos could expand their focus by moving from specific transactions to automating processes.

Actra, Connect, and Open Market also are active in that space.

Among CrossRoute's beta customers is Adaptec, a $1 billion high-tech manufacturer that uses Alliance to automate design and ordering processes with partners in Asia.

Alliance, written in Java, runs on Windows NT, using a Web browser on any platform for designing, managing, and auditing processes.

Alliance is due to ship in the middle of the fourth quarter and will be sold by CrossRoute's direct sales force. Typical pricing ranges from $250,000 to $1 million, dependent on the specific business processes and number of partners.

Implementation, service, and support will be offered through CrossRoute and independent system integrators. Components include Alliance servers, Alliance adapters (for linking to enterprise systems), and an Alliance EDI gateway.