Ariba Inc. today introduced its Ariba Enterprise Sourcing application that disperses purchasing across an enterprise and moves the business-to-business platform provider into direct procurement.
Enterprise Sourcing allows any professional buyer–not just those specifically trained to do so–to access supplier management tools and commodity templates to source suppliers, negotiate contracts, analyze what they are spending, and conduct online e-procurement, according to Ariba officials.
A major upgrade to Aribas buy-side offerings, Enterprise Sourcing does what its predecessor did in terms of enabling buyers to automate the sourcing process online. It diverges from previous Ariba software in two ways–it provides out-of-the-box integration with the Ariba Buyer platform, which offers procurement execution functionality like contract management; and it offers connectivity with The Ariba Commerce Services Network, or CSN, which provides access to a large base of suppliers.
Ariba, of Sunnyvale, Calif., has come under fire in the past for having limited direct procurement functionality, which left scant room for companies to perform critical functions like collaboration or strategic sourcing.
The new Enterprise Sourcing app looks to answer that problem with collaborative capabilities that allow buyers to conduct templatized sourcing events in multiple stages–including request for information and request for quotes–using Q&A message boards and bid wizards to communicate with suppliers.
Buyers can also define what data to capture about each supplier and pump that information into a private supplier database or the Ariba CSN to search for qualified suppliers. Once a buyer negotiates the terms of a contract, it is automatically created in Ariba Buyer.
Ariba is offering for the first time its sourcing application on a CD, rather than as a service, so companies can roll out Enterprise Sourcing on a companywide basis behind their firewall. A hosting service is also available.
Ariba Enterprise Sourcing will be available at the end of this month. Officials declined to discuss pricing.