E-commerce Partners Line up New Clients

E-bills are here to stay, Geac asks for more time from its lenders, and more. StaffFebruary 21, 2001

CommerceOne and SAP Move Forward

CommerceOne and SAPMarkets say they’ve lined up four joint customers, building upon a marketing agreement the two companies formed last June.

The new customers include IBS, a Russian systems integrator; IwayTrade, an E-commerce software supplier in Portugal; Swisscom, a Swiss E- marketplace firm; and TPS, a Polish telecommunications company.

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SAPMarkets and Commerce One also said that in March they will introduce MarketSet 2.0, the next version of their joint E-marketplace product, and Enterprise Buyer 2.0, an E-procurement system the two firms developed. The products provide real-time exchange of information for buyers and sellers in E-marketplaces.

E-bills Are Here

The number of companies sending out invoices over the Web will nearly triple by the end of 2002 to 26 percent, up from today’s 9 percent, according to the market research firm, Gartner Group. The market research firm estimates that by the end of 2004, the number will rise to 35 percent.

Electronic invoicing and payments (EIP) will dramatically reduce the current 41-day average time to collect payments, allowing companies to reduce debt and invest cash more quickly.

According to Gartner, EIP will simplify the invoicing process, speed payments into a biller’s accounts receivable department, and lower the cost of invoicing to $1.65 from $5.

Almost Midnight

Geac Computer Corp. has still not received an extension on the deadline for repaying the $48 million outstanding on its line of credit, according to a statement the company released on Monday.

Despite that ominous warning, the company’s president and chief executive officer John Caldwell said in a prepared statement, “We believe that, shortly, we will be in a position to announce progress in reaching a mutually satisfactory arrangement with our bankers.”

On Feb. 1, the company paid $12 million of its debt, and at the same time said its lenders extended its deadline for paying its loans to Feb. 15, which was last Thursday. Geac has been hit hard by slumping demand for its financial administration, human resources, and enterprise resource planning applications. According to a report earlier this month on Reuters, in September the company said it was open to takeover bids and would cut 12 percent of its staff, or 500 jobs, as part of a restructuring to slash roughly $40 million in annual expenses.

Migration Pattern

Computer Associates’ subsidiary interBiz Online unveiled a short-term hosting service that will allow companies to customize software applications in a securely hosted environment. The program expedites upgrades and additions to licensed interBiz software systems, including finance, supply chain, human resources, banking, and E-commerce.

The service is available for a monthly fee to firms that already hold a license for interBiz software. The company will manage infrastructure operations and will migrate and customize the software applications according to customer specifications. After the migration, companies can either run the new applications and converted data on their internal systems or continue to host their software systems with interBiz.

Bits and Bytes

  • Fiber-optic maker Nortel Networks said its chief technology officer Bill Hawe resigned on February 12 “to seek other opportunities.” Jules Meunier, who was most recently president of the company’s core network division, was named to replace him, Reuters reported.
  • Texas Instruments and Analog Devices are expected to announce chips with advanced capabilities aimed at phones for higher data rate 2.5G and 3G cellular networks. Both chips are designed to reduce the number of chips required to put together a cell phone, thereby reducing the cost.

Compaq Computer’s share of the handheld computer market rose modestly in January, but remained far behind Palm Inc., according to a survey from the market research firm PC Data. Compaq had 4.1 percent in January, compared to only 2 percent in December. Palm’s unit sales represented 60.5 percent of the market in the month, down from 65 percent in December.