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Vantive defends front office turf

Vantive is fighting back at bigger enterprise resource planning vendors who are stretching their products into its territory.

Vantive is fighting back at bigger enterprise resource planning vendors who are slowly stretching their products into Vantive and like vendors' territories.

Vantive announced today products designed to make it easier to link its sales force, marketing, call center, help desk, and customer management software to back-office automation products from ERP vendors like SAP, Oracle, and PeopleSoft. The product line consists of bridging software, middleware, and application programming interfaces.

The newly packaged products are a direct response to SAP's and its cohorts' push into the front office with products of their own that control and manage front-of-the-house tasks. The idea behind the enterprise resource planning vendors' expansion is that the two sides of corporate business need to be deeply integrated, so it makes sense that one vendor should provide software for both sides.

So vendors like Vantive are revving up their marketing machine to parade for customers how easy it is to integrate their more advanced front-office applications with SAP's R/3 and the like.

"Customers are demanding front-office to back-office integration [systems] and other vendors are just now starting to discuss solutions in this area," said Phillip Dunkelberger, chief marketing officer for Santa Clara, California-based Vantive.

Vantive's new Quick Connect is a prebuilt bridge that links its front-office products to back-office systems. The bridge carries data from one side to the other, translating it to the proper format along the way. Vantive partnered with such enterprise application integration vendors as Active Technology and CrossWorlds to build the software.

The first product to be offered will link Vantive to Oracle's application package. Versions for PeopleSoft and SAP are to follow. Pricing starts at $17,000 and the product is to be available by the end of the year.