E-biz round-up: Crystal Decision

Announcements, partnerships, new launches--weekly round up of events and changes in the e-business world.

Sema lands a mega contract. A multi-million dollar contract has been awarded by Manulife Japan to Sema for outsourcing its IT management. Under the terms of the five year contract, Sema will be providing professional and data processing services to Manulife Century Life Insurance Company. Account and service interface will also be established to provide customer support including printing, network and customer service management. The contract is the first of its kind for Sema in Japan.

The contract provides for an immediate upgrade of Manulife Century’s current mainframe operating systems, and for four mainframe environments over the length of the contract. Manulife CEO, David Horman, cited flexibility, speed of response to changing business requirements and improved customer services as reasons for adopting the IT service.

Commerce One starts shopping. E-marketplace solutions provider Commerce One has announced a definitive agreement to acquire the software company, Exterprise. The new acquisition is expected to provide collaborative capabilities designed for the e-marketplace. Among the capabilities Commerce One will be buying are application components for supplier management, collaboration and business intelligence; collaborative development environment; a business process engine to power collaborative workflows and an e-marketplace user interface that brings together disparate applications within a common look and feel.

Some of these capabilities will be incorporated into the next generation of MarketSite Operating Environment. Commerce One expects the platforms to be completely integrated by the first quarter of 2002. Based on the closing price of Commerce One’s stock on March 19, 2001, the exchange value of the deal should not exceed US$78 million. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2001.

IT solution provide by … Lufthansa Airline? Lufthansa Systems, an IT division of the German Airline Lufthansa announced an alliance with BEA that could possibly make it a full-service solutions provider. Under the agreement, the airline division will be certified to design and sell solutions built on the BEA Weblogic E-business Platform within the Lufthansa Group and to outside customers. BEA will deliver complete support for designing, planning, implementation, and deploying application architectures.

The alliance came after a series of successful joint projects between the two companies, including an information exchange platform designed for Star Alliance, an airline industry association.

Crystal Decision. Seagate Software, a business analytics and data mining division of Seagate Technologies is changing its name to Crystal Decisions. A company released statement claims the new name will leverage on “crystal” as the “best known brand in the market.” Don’t know why, Seagate itself is already a well enough known brand in the world even if its brand image does not immediately call to mind business intelligence and information delivery. “Crystal” however, does play to the idea of the company being a provider of solutions that systematize and distill information.

No overt changes seem to be taking place in the organization. Seagate Technology’s CEO Steve Luczo will continue as chairman of the Crystal Decisions board, and the company will still operate as part of the Seagate Technology family of companies.