Three tiers for Ironside e-business suite

Ironside Technologies Inc. this week unveiled a version of its flagship e-business suite that allows companies to choose from among three grades of software and services, depending on their requirements.

The Pleasanton, Calif., company has a starter version of Ironworks Server 6.0 for companies just getting into order management; a midrange version with basic integration needs; and a robust version for enterprises with customized integration requirements. The three tiers are designed so that companies can easily trade up to a higher version as their order management needs become more sophisticated, the company says.

Louis Columbus, senior analyst at AMR Research Inc., says the strategy makes sense, particularly in a tight IT spending market. “Ironside is taking a lot of initiative to go out and make their product strategy align with the economic realities of the market,” he says. “They deserve credit for trying to be attentive to what’s going on in the market.”

The entry-level order management suite, called Quick Start, has the functionality a company needs to get started, but doesn’t enable integration with back-end enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. It’s designed to let companies test-drive order management and upgrade down the road if they choose to, Columbus says. Quick Start software starts at US$70,000. Eight days of service is typically required, Ironside says.

Standard Edition is Ironside’s midrange offering. Integration to ERP systems is included through pre-built connectors to systems such as SAP R/3, Oracle Applications 11i, J.D. Edwards WorldSoftware, SSA’s BPCS, Wonderware’s PRISM, and JBA’s System 21. Customized integration features are not included, however. Standard Edition software runs US$130,000 to US$150,000, and six to eight weeks of service is typical.

In the high-end Enterprise Edition, integration and configuration changes are included, so companies can customize data fields to match their back-end systems, for example. Enterprise Edition software costs US$180,000 to US$200,000, and 12 weeks of service is typical.

In addition to the migration-ready tiers, Version 6.0 also includes new features for selling to, buying from and servicing trading partners.

On the sales side, Ironworks improved integration between its order management and eCatalog online catalogue application. In Version 6.0, pricing and inventory information can be pulled in real-time from the order management system and displayed in eCatalog. In addition, Ironworks added order-taking features to eCatalog that let customers place orders even when a back-end ERP system is unavailable.

On the service side, Version 6.0 features a new returns material authorization module and expanded chat capabilities. On the buy side, Ironside added the ability to link third-party inventory management and purchasing systems so a company can share inventory and purchase-order information with its suppliers, for example, to streamline the procurement process.

Ironworks Server 6.0 is available now.