ByDoug Bartholomew Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) is jumping into the market for logistics software with both feet. The software giant's interBiz unit has launched interBiz Logistics Solution for e-commerce, aimed at third-party logistics (3PL) providers and wholesale distributors. The idea, say interBiz executives, is to deliver the systems functionality needed by professional logistics firms and wholesale distributors to support the back-end activities of e-commerce. "Typically these third-party logistics companies have had to create their own systems -- they haven't had a solution available to them until now," says Ross Mackie, director of marketing for supply-chain products at interBiz, based in Islandia, N.Y. "In many cases they don't own the inventory they're holding, and they need the capability built into the software to be able to hold and track two or more clients' inventory in one location, and to allocate costs accordingly." The interBiz Logistics suite includes not only transaction processing capability, but also a set of key performance indicators to help companies using the software to monitor the health of the business online. "We've built capabilities into the product to allow companies to take a more proactive approach to managing the business," adds Rod Gifford, product manager for the interBiz Logistics Solution. One 3PL that is installing the interBiz Logistics package and expects to be up and running with it before year-end is start-up Integrated Business Logistics Inc. "We looked for software to support the business, and CA was the only one we found that provided an integrated back-end solution to support e-commerce," says Steve Jennings, CEO and president of the Scottsdale, Ariz. start-up. Finally, CA interBiz is looking for a few good logistics firms to try out a cutting-edge wrinkle in the software. Using CA's groundbreaking "neugent" technology -- smart software that learns from data patterns -- interBiz has enabled the software to make predictions based on its findings. Thus, if a distributor or logistics provider finds that a certain manufacturing client has a previously unnoticed or undetected shipping problem or bottleneck, the software will alert the company as to when it is likely to recur. "This capability allows the distributor to secure his place in the supply chain by adding value," says Gifford. "We're looking for clients to be innovators to use this product in the distribution industry." CA uses the neugent technology in its Unicenter network administration system product to predict failures of computer servers on a network.