Ariba Inc. and i2 Technologies Inc. are attempting to make their respective business-to-business systems easier to use and more robust by breaking down the inherent silos of information.
Ariba is readying an analytics dashboard for its Spend Management products that pulls together various data feeds dealing with corporate purchasing to enable better planning of corporate spending.
Separately, i2 last week released Version 5.2 of its namesake supply chain automation suite, which offers for the first time a common user interface and common data model across the suites modules.
Ariba, of Sunnyvale, Calif., will release within five months the analytics dashboard, which will streamline what Ariba officials said is the 80 percent of unplanned business spending that goes on in corporate America and is not managed by purchasing departments.
With the dashboard, "the [chief financial officer] can see opportunities for supplier consolidation," said Ariba CEO Bob Calderoni.
It will also identify possible opportunities for volume purchasing by pointing out situations where the same product is bought by many departments.
Also on Aribas development road map are work force, invoicing and contract manager modules, which are slated to ship between December and March.
Meanwhile, i2 5.2 presents better reporting across modules that provide customer relationship management, supplier relationship management and supply chain management capabilities, officials said. Observers said the Dallas company needed to do this to integrate the products it gained over the last 18 months in the acquisitions of RightWorks Corp., Aspect Development Inc. and Trade Services Corp.
i2 also unveiled a Jump Start Package program that guarantees implementations of specific supply chain automation functionality in 90 days. The first two packages are Jump Start Factory Planner and Jump Start Strategic Sourcing. Over the next several months, i2 will release packages for demand planning and catalog management.
Rob McClellan said i2 is making the right moves by providing the common UI and data model. The upgrade reduces the number of transformation and data interfaces and adds more methods for transmitting data in real time via Extensible Markup Language, said McClellan, global e-marketing manager at TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, a subsidiary of Adidas-Salomon AG.
"Even with all the templates i2 has, integration is always the most difficult part," said McClellan, in Carlsbad, Calif.
Additional reporting by John S. McCright