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November 12 2018

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November 12 2018 | The Journal of Commerce 13 Cover Story as industry-founded consortiums and evolved to become neutral networks), some analysts have ques- tioned whether the acquisition path provides as much value for existing customers as when software com- panies develop their own solutions organically. "Historically, software aggrega- tion reduces the market value for all," Lora Cecere, founder of the consultancy Supply Chain Insights, wrote in a February blog about E2open's acquisition of the planning software provider Steelwedge. "Across the decades in the supply chain market, when a company aggregates assets and does not inno- vate, they lose market appeal." Cecere did not limit her critique of the aggregation path to E2open, saying SAP's acquisition of the Ariba procurement software and Infor's acquisition of GT Nexus (which evolved from a direct competitor to INTTRA as an ocean booking portal in the mid-2000s into more of a provider of order management, visibility and global TMS) have not yielded as much value as their com- binations promised. Both INTTRA and E2open said the acquisition provides the oppor- tunity to better integrate the two systems than a strategic partnership could. It also allows the companies' two respective customer bases to access a wider network of partners across more functions. As INTTRA struggled to engage BCOs directly as customers, E2open struggled to market itself to the forwarding community. "We weren't well known in the freight forwarder and 3PL commu- nity," Farlekas said. "We have some applications we feel could benefit them, but we don't have a natural connection with them. This gives us the opportunity to market ourselves to them, as opposed to doing it from a standing start. The connectivity to carriers is important as well. We can natively take the data and route it to our applications." That, at its core, is what is trans- forming the market, as logistics soft- ware networks evolve into supply chain software networks. JOC email: twitter: @LogTechEric seen in its attempts to diversify its business by providing broader value to its network. To be clear, INTTRA is still a vital platform connecting carriers with freight forwarders and non-ves- sel-operating common carriers, but absent a direct integration to other tools, it was likely never going to get direct traction among BCOs. Haven's system, like E2open's, is designed around shippers, and thus treats book- ings as a part of the process, rather than a distinct revenue driver. Collector of data For INTTRA, crucially, visibility data developed into a key part of its business. The company essentially acted as a collector of carrier con- tainer electronic data interchange (EDI) messages, which it conveyed to third parties, though as one source said to The Journal of Com- merce, "The value is in aggregating the data, but carrier contracts forced then to sandbox so much data that they could never really get granular in the way they needed to." INTTRA CEO John Fay said there are no plans for INTTRA to stop providing container status data to external parties. "Many of these companies are competitors, but also members of the INTTRA network," Fay said. "That's going to continue. E2open is a completely open network. Most companies have several solutions, and we often interface with other companies, including competitors. The idea of a monolithic, closed application is antithetical to what's happening in the world." From a beneficial cargo own- ers' perspective, Inna Kuznetsova, president and chief operating officer at INTTRA, said E2open's software enables manufacturers to forecast demand by collecting data from resellers and retailers, and thus it should be able to improve the fore- casting BCOs supply to carriers. "We think that while it always will be difficult to achieve 100 percent accuracy in any forecasting, there is always the possibility to improve the quality of forecasting," she said. "It starts with digitalization and visibility." While both companies em- phasized their complementary aspects and origins (both started platform across all freight modes, including ocean, air, trucking, and rail. That allows beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) and their providers to collaborate on what Haven calls a "carrier-neutral platform" without either party being charged with booking fees. The Haven product, called Origin, could impact INTTRA's booking business if successful. In some sense, the writing is on the wall for businesses that revolve purely around assessing fees for booking. When electronic ocean booking was a relatively new concept in the early 2000s, the tech- nology was transformative, with INTTRA, GT Nexus, and CargoSmart at the vanguard of that change. The price per transaction the market will bear has come down prohibitively over the last decade, sources told The Journal of Commerce. INTTRA recognized that the im- pact of this change was waning even as its transactional business grew, as

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