EDI Pioneer Adds Another Web-Based Service to Repertoire

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Though list industry adoption of electronic data interchange has been lackluster, that hasn't stopped a major EDI proponent from developing a related technology that he says is more accessible to list professionals.

DirecX, a Web-based application that goes into beta today, offers a collaborative work space for list brokers and managers at the individual, team and company levels and provides the ability to tap into larger, industry-wide resources, according to the creator of DirecX.

"DirecX is an intersection of all the Web-based tools and data that a list professional uses and needs, all in one work space," said Richard A. Lepoutre, president of Statware Inc., Centerbrook, CT. "The work space is where your personal desktop intersects with the rest of the company and Web resources outside the company."

Mr. Lepoutre founded list brokerage and management company Statlistics and list software development firm Statware in 1983. In 2000, he sold his stake in Statlistics to focus on Statware, which offers two key products to the list industry. PowerLIST is for order entry, invoicing, accounting and reporting while PowerCARD is a data card research tool.

Though Mr. Lepoutre was part of an unsuccessful list industry EDI effort in the early 1990s, Statware in 2004 launched dmEDI, a Web-based technology that lets list brokers, managers and service bureaus communicate and transfer orders, invoices and documents directly in and out of a reciprocating "trading partner" system.

The industry sees the value of EDI, Mr. Lepoutre said, but it requires a substantial commitment of time and resources to adopt such a system. He characterized EDI adoption as a "work in progress."

However, DirecX is much more accessible, he said.

"DmEDI is kind of esoteric stuff," he said, "but DirecX is really tying together what's happening inside of the company and then what's happening outside of that."

For instance, an individual broker can use DirecX to keep track of recommendations, orders, invoices and account information but also can keep track of personal information such as doctor appointments and birthday reminders.

On a team or company level, employees within an organization can share information or schedule meetings that will appear in each member's calendar. DirecX taps the company's internal order and billing system whether it is Statware's PowerLIST or another proprietary system.

For PowerLIST users, of which there are about 60, DirecX is bound into PowerLIST. Non-PowerLIST users need to be dmEDI compliant to a certain level. Statware offers a client implementation guide that includes step-by-step instructions for systems designers and programmers. Statware also has a dedicated Web services technical team available for remote or on-site assistance.

DirecX also lets users bring in information from outside sources such as mIn, SRDS, DM News and other industry resources.

Another feature that will be available through DirecX is the ability to send e-mail blasts and track open rates and click-throughs, Mr. Lepoutre said.

Statware will do some direct mail and e-mail campaigns to the list industry to promote this new product later this month, he said.

DirecX will be available as a subscription-based tool. More information about Statware's offerings can be found at www.statware.net.

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