Sun aligns with iPlanet, i2 for CRM bundle

In what Sun Microsystems Inc., in Mountain View, Calif., is calling the first offering of its Sun Open Net Environment (ONE) Web services strategy, the company partnered with iPlanet and i2 Technologies Inc. to build an order management and fulfillment system.

The resulting bundle, based on Java from Mountain View-Calif.-based Sun; billing and invoicing software from iPlanet, in Santa Clara, Calif.; and Dallas-based i2’s CRM (customer relationship management) products, is designed to help customers deploy Web services-based e-commerce solutions, according to the companies. Also part of the deal is a set of services that make i2 and iPlanet software interoperable on the Sun platform.

On the consulting side, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, in New York, will act as a preferred integrator.

i2’s CRM solution is a suite of applications for the planning and execution of customer-facing business functions and for managing the order fulfillment process. The iPlanet SellerXpert and iPlanet BillerXpert software will provide electronic billing and invoicing as well as payment functionality.

The capabilities that i2 provides fill a void in many of the traditional CRM packages, according to Sheryl Kingstone, program manager for CRM strategies at consultancy The Yankee Group Inc., in Boston.

“It’s a missing piece around order creation and order fulfillment that has historically been absent from CRM packages,” she said.

Although i2’s suite is customer-related, it does not provide full CRM capabilities and is not likely to be used in lieu of CRM packages from the likes of Siebel Systems Inc., SAP AG, PeopleSoft Inc., or Oracle Corp., Kingstone said.

“i2 is more of an enabling technology to CRM,” Kingstone added.