IBM Acquires Emptoris Supply Chain Procurement Cloud Service

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-12-15 Print this article Print

Emptoris automates the increasingly complex buying, bidding and accounting process for enterprise procurement teams and does it with a global perspective.

IBM on Dec. 15 added another new element to its enterprise cloud service menu when it acquired supply chain procurement software provider Emptoris. Terms of the deal were not released.

Emptoris, based in Burlington, Mass., automates the increasingly complex buying, bidding and accounting process for enterprise procurement teams and does it with a global perspective. This includes variances in languages, currency and other cultural factors.

IBM has been on a buying binge lately in the cloud-service sector. Earlier this month, the IT giant annexed San Mateo, Calif.-based DemandTec, which helps retailers set optimal pricing for their products, and Ireland-based Curam Software, which enables welfare and unemployment agencies to manage the programs they administer.

Big Blue is augmenting its cloud services options in order to expand its Smarter Cities initiative to increase efficiencies in local and state government IT systems.

Twelve-year-old Emptoris has about 350 customers globally from industries that include retail, financial services and health care. It employs about 725 people globally.

'Complex' May Be Understatement

The term "complex" is probably an understatement when it comes to the administration of high-end enterprise procurement procedures.

"Companies might run as many as 10,000 to 20,000 auction or purchasing events, in which they put in all their RFQs [requests for quotes] and RFIs [requests for information] out onto the Web," President and CEO Patrick Quirk told eWEEK. "They have their suppliers around the world answer those RFPs [requests for proposals] and provide pricing information.

"These can be very complicated; sometimes they may have 10,000 line items-including legal, contract, business terms, you name it. We supply optimizers to help determine the best suppliers to buy from, how to spread your risk, how to buy from multiple countries, then award those bids and track them digitally in contracts."

Emptoris is a way to buy globally but act locally when procuring items, Quirk said. "For most companies, that's 50 percent of their cost, for their supply base," Quirk said. "So managing that supply base is extremely important."

IBM said the acquisition is expected to close in Q1 2012. 

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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