Eleven Technology and iAnywhere Manage Data Requirements Explosion in the Field

If you think dealing with burgeoning data volumes inside the enterprise is a challenge, spend a day with the folks on the front line.

"The data requirements in the field are exploding," says Brian Hodgson, VP of marketing at Eleven Technology, "and the need to synchronize information between your field reps' hand-held devices and corporate has become a critical issue."

Eleven Technology specializes in handheld solutions for the consumer packaged good industry. CPG companies provide everything from food and beverages to consumer electronics, from apparel and footwear to household goods. Eleven's handheld software is used by field reps in sales, delivery, route sales, merchandising and retail execution. The company counts among its customers Pepsi and Procter and Gamble.

The data explosion for these types of companies comes in the form of multiplying stores, expanding consumer options and countless SKUs; barrages of promotions competing for consumer attention; and constantly shrinking product life cycles and time-to-shelf requirements.

Eleven’s products—two handheld software applications called Eleven DSD and Eleven Retail Execution—are built specifically for CPG field teams. The apps are designed to increase speed-to-shelf for new product introductions, to ensure retail execution and trade promotion compliance, and to drive reductions in out-of-stock and distribution void conditions at the shelf.

"Our customers are working with much more granular data," Hodgson explains, "things like SKU-specific, out-of-stock conditions; measuring new product cut-in; and sophisticated pricing promotions. The underlying database needs to be high-performance and extremely scalable."

It was database considerations that first drew Eleven to mobile-and-embedded DB maker iAnywhere Solutions. iAnywhere, a subsidiary of Sybase, also offers mobile management and security solutions and mobile middleware. The company's "Always Available" computing model supports online and offline access to information and applications.

Eleven has integrated iAnywhere’s SQL Anywhere Studio's UltraLite handheld database, MobiLink enterprise synchronization technology and Afaria frontline management software into its DSD and Retail Execution software. And the two companies recently announced their partnership to continue developing "next-generation" handheld solutions for the CPG industry.

According to iAnywhere product manager Liam Cavanagh, the combined Eleven and iAnywhere solutions for sales, delivery and retail merchandising are currently live in production, and have been integrated into major back-end ERP and CRM systems such as Siebel, Oracle and SAP.

Another thing the two companies have in common: Both were early supporters of the new Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 platform. A number of iAnywhere products support the platform, including Afaria, Answers Anywhere, AvantGo, M-Business Anywhere, Mobile Sales and Mobile Pharma, Pylon, and SQL Anywhere Studio. For its part, Eleven was one of the first companies to develop on the Microsoft Compact Framework. Gates demoed an Eleven app when he unveiled the framework at a user conference.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].