In winning contracts over competitors such as Oracle Corp., Ariba draws strongly on success stories and testimonials from existing customers, Frankola said. Some industry analysts have been favorably impressed by the results of Aribas merger with FreeMarkets, completed in June 2004 for $493 million."The merger is ahead of plan, and the company is targeting the higher areas of procurement category growth in strategic sourcing and spend management," wrote AMR Research analysts Lora Cecere and Mary Melton, in a report published last November.Frankola said at the conference this week that he expects Aribas services revenues to be temporarily flat, as the company integrates services from FreeMarkets. He also noted that, earlier this year, Ariba agreed to pay $37 million to ePlus, after a jury found that certain features in Ariba Buyer, Ariba Marketplace and Ariba Category Procurement violated software patents held by ePlus. Click here to read more about the ePlus lawsuit. "[But] the overall picture [for Ariba] is one of wealth and stability," according to Aribas CFO. Going forward, he said, Ariba will work toward better integration of its own procurement offerings, to help give customers more flexibility in choosing the software and services they want via an "on demand" model. For example, a customer might determine that it doesnt need help with business processes or sourcing, and that it "only wants auctions," Frankola said. Another customer, on the other hand, might find that "travel is not strategic" to it and opt to "outsource [the travel] commodity" to Ariba instead, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news and analysis of enterprise supply chains.