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Novell to Enter Supply Chain Management With iChain.

By Nick Patience Novell Inc is planning to hop aboard the supply chain management bandwagon in the next few months with a system it calls iChain. The company is being fairly coy about its plans following CEO Eric Schmidt's teaser announcement in his keynote speech at the company's BrainShare meeting earlier this week. But we have learned that it will be a combination of the Digitalme personal privacy technology, which is based on Novell Directory Services (NDS), IBM's WebSphere application server and tools, Novell's Border Manager security software and Novell's Java virtual machine. Novell says the virtual machine, with the addition of technology from Intel Corp last year, is among the fastest around. iChain is primarily a business-to-business service, though the company sees no reason why it cannot be used by a consumer portal. David Shirk, Novell's VP product management says the company will build an "eco-system" around the Java-based framework, comprising services such as its Magellan web publishing software, which is still in development, quality of service guarantees via NDS and the recently-announced internet caching system. Novell will not do all the work itself - it is not in the business of developing web transactional servers, says Shirk - and will likely include such things as management software from Netegrity Inc, web transaction and publishing software from Evergreen Internet Inc, access management technology from enCommerce and others to follow. All of it will be managed by a combination of NDS, LDAP and Digitalme's meCard system, which we reported earlier this week. Shirk paints the picture of a supplier-merchant relationship whereby the merchant creates a meCard for the supplier with a set of permissions, sign-ons and membership of certain communities. Similarly, consumers that use those merchants could also have a meCard, which would include credit card information and access to certain communities that will likely be different from those the suppliers populate. The advantage for the merchant - and arguably the consumer - is that their credit card information and other information can be quickly entered into the merchants' system, but can also be easily edited by consumers should their situation change. It sounds similar to the service offered by the Impulse Buy Network Inc, using CyberCash Inc's InstaBuy one-click shopping technology that automatically retains credit card information across participating merchants, with the exception that Digitalme appears to offer users more control over how much information they divulge to merchants. Shirk says there will be further announcements in the next three to four months, but he emphasized this is a suite of software products, not a "dot com thing."
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 25, 1999
Words:425
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