Oracle Raises E-Procurement Stakes

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2001-06-11

With e-procurement competitors Ariba Inc. and Commerce One Inc. stumbling over earnings reports, Oracle Corp. is pressing its advantage by offering a fast implementation of its software for e-procurement of indirect goods.

Oracle will announce this week its Procure-to-Pay in 30 Days service, a hosted solution for streamlining the entire procurement process in a month.

Procure-to-Pay, due at the end of the month, offers a full range of purchasing options, including catalogs, requisitioning, purchasing, invoicing, receiving, payments, electronic banking, automatic cash reconciliation and reporting. It is integrated with two financial institutions, which will handle the end-to-end settlement and reconciliation.

The caveat is that the catalogs advertised actually represent an integration with only one vendor, Atlanta-based professional sourcing company WorldCrest. Integration with additional catalogs requires more money and additional implementation time, according to Oracle officials, who added that the company plans to add more catalog offerings.

Paul Box, who installed Oracle procurement software at Compaq Computer Corp. before the 30-day program was offered, said the fact that the program is limited to a single supplier should not raise concerns.

WorldCrest is "basically [weaving] together a handful of companies in a virtual consortium to influence pricing for companies that sign up. If I understand the vision, companies would have access to that [strategic pricing] through Oracle, and on the back end is WorldCrest," said Box, director of corporate procurement at Compaq, in Houston. "Because so much of what we buy in the indirect space is considered nonstrategic, we can be supplier agnostic."

Compaq is considering adding a punch-out from its procurement system to Oracle and WorldCrest.

An Oracle Procure-to-Pay customer must have an Oracle back- office system to achieve the 30-day implementation. The only touch point with the back-office system is a general ledger feed, said officials at Oracle, in Redwood Shores, Calif.

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