It used to be that a global product and service exchange was viewed as a game changing innovation. Now it's more likely to be seen as another relic of the dot-com era looking for ways to reposition itself to ensure its survival.
The latest example is Global Exchange Services (GXS), which has acquired logistics software and services specialist Celarix for an undisclosed sum. GXS,the one-time IT services and connectivity arm of GE, has been pursuing a different direction in the past few months, and the Celarix acquisition fits into the big picture, says CEO Harvey Seegers. "Business-to-business is evolving from value-added networks to transaction delivery networks—real-time exchange of information for collaboration and decision-making."
Although GXS is still known for its connectivity and document exchange functionality, Seegers sees the company moving into something newer and broader: "We're involved in business process automation," he says. Thus, GXS has been pursuing a strategy in which it is considering acquisition targets not based on a specific functionality but rather, Seegers says. according to "what we think the biggest customer pain points are."
GXS clearly sees Celarix as addressing an important pain point: logistics visibility. Celarix offers what Seegers calls "track and trace," but it also markets software for shipment optimization.