Commerce One, Oracle Offer Sourcing Apps

Oracle and Commerce One both have announced new strategic sourcing solutions that identify opportunities based on criteria other than price alone.

Oracle Corp. and Commerce One Inc. have joined the growing number of enterprise application providers offering enhanced sourcing software.

Both companies this week announced new strategic sourcing solutions that identify opportunities based on criteria other than price alone.

Oracle Sourcing solution offers auction and bid functionality, request for proposal and quote, offer and counter offer support and multi-attribute supplier scoring. On the supplier-facing side, Oracle Sourcing offers real-time graphical monitoring, online discussions and rules-based bidding.

A multi-attribute analysis capability defines what attributes are important to individual companies, defines how those attributes are weighted and performs and overall analysis.

Collaboration comes in the form of online communication. Buyers are able to share the results of supplier scorecards with specified suppliers. During the negotiation phase, product requirements can be published online, giving suppliers the opportunity to counter with specific products or services. Once the sourcing decision is made, buyers can publish a purchase order or contract online, to the supplier, according to Oracle officials, in Redwood Shores, Calif.

Once the sourcing identification-to-contract process is complete, the Oracle app allows buyers to monitor contracts on an ongoing basis.

Oracle Sourcing is a continuation of the companys Oracle 11i we-Business Suite, and integrates with other 11i apps, including procurement, planning and design execution systems. This integration gears the newest app towards direct procurement.

Oracle Sourcing is available now as packaged software and is also offered as an online service at Pricing is based on an annual transaction volume, with a minimum price tag set at $100,000, according to officials.

Meanwhile, Commerce Ones new software takes on sourcing at the business process level. Commerce One Source, due this month, is powered by an integrated business process engine that enables the creation of business process flows tailored to support industries, companies and individual supplier relationships, according to officials.

Features of Commerce One Source include requests for information, proposal and quote, which allows buyers to build complex bid packages. A negotiation engine provides structured one-on-one negotiation capabilities.

A quotation analysis tool supports "what if" scenarios and allows supplier comparison, while a Performance Management module provides tools for rating, categorizing, analyzing and tracking suppliers.

Because the sourcing application is built on the Commerce One e-commerce platform -- an integration and e-commerce platform that links and orchestrates enterprise legacy applications and interaction with trading partners -- a reverse-auction tool can support both strategic and ad-hoc sourcing, according to officials at Commerce One, in Pleasanton, Calif.

A Contract Management application that encompasses the lifecycle of supplier contracts is schedule for availability in next quarter.

Oracle and Commerce One are playing catch up with PeopleSoft Inc. and Ariba Inc.

Ariba, which desperately needed to make a move towards direct procurement to stay on par with competitors, in September announced a new emphasis on spend management, which the company defines as one place a chief purchasing officer can go to access his or her companys spend data.

Aribas Spend Management Suite of software is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2002. The components of that suite will include planning, analysis, sourcing, contract management, e-procurement, supplier enablement and supplier relationship management, according to officials.

PeopleSoft, for its part, in late October announced plans to release the next version of its strategic sourcing product, 8.4, in the first quarter of next year.

Like Oracle and Ariba, PeopleSofts sourcing app includes analytics to evaluate performance of a companys suppliers, as well as the ability to collaborate with suppliers online.

The business analytics embedded in PeopleSoft 8.4 allow companies to evaluate suppliers performance, based on user-defined criteria like cost, quality and delivery. The leg-up that PeopleSoft had is easy integration with its financial and inventory-planning modules for performing spend analysis and checking inventory levels.