Genie in a (beer) bottle

Auckland-based e-commerce company Genie Systems has made the first sale of a new tool, Data Transformation Manager (DTM), to beer giant Lion Nathan.

Auckland-based e-commerce company Genie Systems has made the first sale of a new tool, Data Transformation Manager (DTM), to beer giant Lion Nathan.

DTM, under development since the middle of last year, helps convert data from one format to another and securely transfer it between business partners, or different information systems in the same organisation. This process is key to the success of e-commerce, says Genie’s Australia/NZ general manager Nigel Varcoe.

DTM lets Lion Nathan securely transfer an array of business-critical information from many technology platforms, says IT director Darryl Warren. Flexibility in dealing with different data formats was a critical factor in the choice of DTM, as was price, he says.

The product will be used initially to take orders from Lion Nathan's trading partners, Warren says. There may be other uses for the product in time, but plans on these are not firm enough to talk about publicly.

DTM was developed because of a perceived need in the market generally for data transfer and transformation to complement e-commerce applications like Genie’s OrderWare order processing system, Varcoe says. It was not developed for a specific client or clients, but through conversation with existing clients, he says.

DTM comes as a shrink-wrapped package and will run independently, though naturally it interfaces fully with OrderWare. The basic version is priced at $50,000 "per deployment" - there may be more than one deployment on different platforms for the same client, Varcoe says. This version supports XML, SQL and flat files, with other formats added according to need.

Genie is now working on applications involving UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) and ebXML (e-business XML) standards. UDDI allows a business to "publish" electronically specifications for interaction of its business applications with those of other parties and for those to be "discovered" automatically by an intending buyer or supplier, so a trading connection can be set up without human aid. Genie chief technological officer Peter Garden describes it as "the dial-tone of e-commerce". EbXML aids this by describing the appropriate format for data to be sent in.

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