Ariba Inc. is going to great lengths to get more mileage out of its e-commerce platform.
At its Sell Side of B2B Conference in San Antonio next week, the company will announce its Supplier Hub Alliance. This will enable Ariba, of Mountain View, Calif., to refer suppliers that want to tap into their buyers Ariba-powered e-procurement systems to sell-side software developers that know how such data integration is done.
The first three members of the alliance are Trigo Technologies Inc., Martquest Inc. and Microsoft Corp.s bCentral operation.
The time appears to be right for enticing more suppliers into business-to-business e-commerce. Some suppliers fear that their products will be reduced to mere commodities if they are put on exchanges or that they wont be able to recover integration costs.
Momentx Corp., of Dallas, knows that it must get sellers, as well as buyers, to hook into its Inc2inc.com food and beverage e-marketplace. It reminds the buyers it signs up that they have the leverage when dealing with suppliers: If suppliers dont want to take steps to join the e-marketplace, then the buyers should take their business elsewhere.
"At the end of the day, the buyer has the check. If the supplier wants the business, theyre going to have to do business the way the buyer wants to do it," said Jeff Makohon, vice president of solutions at Momentx.
Inc2inc.com has included XML (Extensible Markup Language)-based data input and output mechanisms using webMethods Inc. technology to ensure that it can easily connect to supply-side applications.
Software vendors like newcomer Trigo, of Brisbane, Calif., are betting that suppliers want to interact with their e-commerce sales channels in the same way that they interact with their traditional direct sales and distributor channels, but with more efficiency.
To achieve this, the company provides a hosted service through its Trigo Enterprise Platform, which resides in a data center between the supplier and whichever e-marketplaces and e-procurement systems the buyers use.
The system can automatically interpret data coming from the buy side and transform it to be comprehensible to suppliers back-end systems. It also provides several suites of applications that let the suppliers create buyer-specific catalogs, track and manage contracts, and analyze channel activity. Alerts inform sales and customer service personnel of channel conflicts.
The hosted Trigo Enterprise Platform service will be available Feb. 1.
Another startup, Martquest, of Santa Clara, Calif., this week will introduce the company and its product, eChannel Manager. The hosted sell-side software is designed to reduce costs, give suppliers a reach into more electronic selling opportunities and enhance customer intimacy.
eChannel Manager also includes software for creating customizable catalogs, automating business processes, integrating with back-end enterprise applications and performing business analysis.
Microsofts bCentral portal offers small and medium-size businesses the capability to connect once and then interact with many marketplaces.