FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 1997
Netscape-GEIS joint venture combines EDI and
e-commerce in ECXpert
By Jim Balderston
Actra, the joint venture of Netscape and General Electric
Information Systems (GEIS), plans to announce next week the
launch of the first product in its CrossCommerce line, which
will provide both a foundation for traditional Electronic
Data Interchange (EDI) and electronic commerce over the
ECXpert provides "any-to-any data transformation," as
well as key and certificate management, according to Jim
Sha, president and CEO of Actra. These features are key in
managing customer and supplier relations, as well as
communicating with other types of transaction systems.
ECXpert will bridge existing EDI systems and
open-standards-based Internet commerce, and it will help
streamline procurement processes.
"You can set up your procurement process so that it is
handled through automated push," Sha said. For example, a
company could present an inventory database for
automatically requesting, ordering, and paying for parts
from a supplier, Sha said.
The key to Actra's future may lie in its ability to offer
different electronic commerce options to companies, said one
"I think they are on to something," said Mike Kennedy, an
analyst at the Meta Group, in Stamford, Conn. "EDI has been
used by a large number of Fortune 500 companies to integrate
with big customers. But it's a lot of work to set up."
Actra provides more options by offering both EDI- and
Internet-based commerce with EDI-like connectivity to
billing and other back-end transaction functions.
"EDI requires lots of overhead. It isn't justified for
customers that you are not doing large volumes of business
with," Kennedy said. "This provides an umbrella relationship
that allows me to handle low-volume customers with the full
back-end connectivity that EDI provides."
ECXpert is due to ship June 1 and will be available for
Sun Solaris 2.5.1 as well as Windows NT 3.51 and 4.0.
Pricing begins at $25,000.
Actra Business Systems LLC, in Sunnyvale, Calif., is at
(408) 542-3200 or