Procurement Gets Collaboration Boost

Trio enhances procurement applications to enable better collaboration along supply chains.

Ariba Inc., PeopleSoft inc. and B2eMarkets Inc. are enhancing their respective procurement applications to enable better collaboration along supply chains.

The applications will be able to open up communication with suppliers, enhance collaboration inside and outside the firewall, and get a better grip on costs by consolidating spending, the developers said.

Ariba, of Sunnyvale, Calif., this fall will ship the second generation of its Spend Management suite, which will come with enhanced, team-based collaboration capabilities. The suite will enable users to collaborate on processes outside the firewall—for example, sharing CAD documents and other data important to the production process via a secure network. This will let a company include engineers as well as suppliers in the sourcing process.

To further Aribas business-to-business collaboration capabilities, officials said they will look to partner with PLM (product life-cycle management) software makers such as Parametric Technology Corp., Agile Software Inc. and MatrixOne Inc.

For communications inside the firewall, Ariba is also enriching the softwares capabilities beyond simple message boards. Version 2.0 will add scalability, such as the ability to run the software across multiple CPUs to handle the increased volume of data flow that such a system would create. The update also will improve catalog searches and provide more analysis functions.

Ariba President and CEO Bob Calderoni is expected to promote the upcoming enhancements at the companys Ariba Live customer conference in Anaheim, Calif., this week.

"I dont see any reason why the spend management business cant be as big as the ERP [enterprise resource planning] business," Calderoni said last week. "Every company can realize tremendous benefits from spend management. In every company, there is an unmet need to manage spend and save money, and we can do this while coexisting with supply chain systems and ERP systems."

Procurement managers will have more choice for this kind of software. PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif., next week will roll out supplier relationship management capabilities in two products: Strategic Sourcing and Trading Partner Management.

The TPM software enables companies to manage trading partners by analyzing their performance metrics. This analysis can lead to better purchasing decisions, officials said. TPM simplifies registration and engagement of suppliers in a B2B network by providing a central place to facilitate and execute collaboration. Enterprises can use TPM to identify target partners and invite them to collaborate.

B2eMarkets, of Rockville, Md., traditionally a sourcing software company, this summer will roll out Version 7i of its namesake suite. That product will let companies collaborate internally and externally and provide a contract data management module enabling companies to upgrade their strategies and post revisions to stakeholders.

Since pharmaceuticals maker AstraZeneca plc. licensed Aribas Spend Management suite, Director of e-Procurement Sarmento Silva has been in the center of AsraZenecas money-saving initiatives. "We are investing heavily in our capabilities to re-engineer purchasing," said Silva, in Wilmington, Del. "Over the next 18 months, we will be rolling out to internal stakeholders, allowing engineers to use the tools and allowing end users to use the tool, resulting in [a] better buy for the organization, legitimizing the tool and legitimizing purchasing."

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