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Applix presides over marriage of planning and analytics

Abbott and Costello. Peanut butter and jelly. Lennon and McCartney. Some things just go together naturally. Applix Inc. is hoping that business planning and CRM analytics are just such a combination. At the DCI CRM Conference & Expo, the software maker released details of a new platform that weds those two technologies.

Alan Goldsworthy, Applix CEO

LOS ANGELES -- Like a compilation of musical greatest hits, good technology should put its most popular functions in one package. Applix Inc. is putting the finishing touches on a platform that it says will combine the best of two popular technologies: interactive business planning and CRM analytics.

"It's really an amalgam of two technologies," said Alan Goldsworthy, president and CEO of Applix, which announced details of its new Applix Integra product Wednesday at the DCI CRM Conference & Expo.

Goldsworthy said one part of the platform includes an online analytical processing (OLAP) engine and a toolset that allows access to financial and customer data in real time. The other half is Web-based and provides wireless reporting, a workflow engine and tools for collaboration, exception alerting and forecasting.

Westboro, Mass.-based Applix is gearing the technology toward large companies with enterprise-wise planning needs. Goldsworthy said most of the e-business software maker's 2,000 customers fall into two categories: those that use Applix applications for forecasting, budgeting and planning, and those "that have been doing traditional CRM."

The company is betting that large enterprise users -- especially users of its Applix iEnterprise and Applix iTM1 applications -- will be interested in acquiring technology that weds those functions in one platform.

Goldsworthy said the cost for the Applix Integra "starter kit" is $150,000 to $200,000, with additional costs for related services that are dependent on how well defined a company's business processes are. Beta testing of Applix Integra is expected in early 2002, Goldsworthy said. He declined to name Applix's beta customers.

What Applix and competitors like Hyperion and Closed Loop Solutions are developing falls into a category that Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. has dubbed "business activity monitoring."

"Business activity monitoring is the convergence of operational business intelligence and real-time application integration aimed at business goals and enabled through advances in IT," said David McCoy, a Gartner vice president and research director. "The real potential for BAM is at the business level: enabling new business strategies, reducing operating costs, improving process performance and other tangible areas of management attention."


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