BroadVision App Targets 'Net Relationship Building

BroadVision Inc. this week announced an application that it said would help automate and personalize the creation of business-to-business marketplaces on the Internet.

BroadVision President and CEO Pehong Chen said the MarketMaker application adds relationship management to the core task of handling transactions. He said it will allow companies to fully tailor their online catalogs to the needs of individual customers, showing only the 30 pages of items a customer buys from, rather than the whole 500-page inventory, for example.

Personalizing online catalogs can enhance relationships with suppliers, he said. "Relationships are going to be crucial to the exchanges" and not simply based on business transactions, Chen said.

MarketMaker, which is based on the firm's One-To-One Enterprise platform, will be released the week after next. The package is expected to cost an average of $400,000 per company, said a spokeswoman for Redwood City, Calif.,-based BroadVision.

Joshua Greenbaum, an analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting in Berkeley, Calif., said the product expands BroadVision's offerings in the electronic-marketplaces arena. BroadVision has been leading the pack with its business-to-business personalization features, he said, while chief competitors Commerce One Inc. in Pleasanton, Calif., and Ariba Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., have provided leadership with their transaction engines and procurement components.

"They are starting to converge," Greenbaum said. "What BroadVision wants to do is get into that part of the business," while Ariba and Commerce One are moving to implement personalization in their tools.

But one component is still missing from BroadVision's line: a supply-chain planning package that covers every base in an electronic marketplace. Greenbaum said the company has indicated that it will find a partner to add that capability, but if BroadVision wants market leadership, it should add the function now. As companies quickly get set up and involved in electronic marketplaces, he said, "user companies will need supply-chain management once they get past square one."

Personalization Is Key

The Online Asset Exchange in San Diego selected BroadVision last year for its online industrial equipment marketplace. The exchange plans to use MarketMaker to give customers personalized access, including sorting for industry types and locations of listed equipment in the marketplace, said George Marootian, chief technology officer at The Online Asset Exchange.

Rick Sturgeon, CTO at Source Alliance LLC in Morrisville, N.C., said the personalization features are another reason the online electrical products marketplace is implementing MarketMaker.

"BroadVision was just head and shoulders above the other people in that capability," Sturgeon said.

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