Ariba Brings Procurement, Contract Management Solutions To Midmarket - InformationWeek

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9/28/2010
02:36 AM
Jake Widman
Jake Widman
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Ariba Brings Procurement, Contract Management Solutions To Midmarket

The new StartSourcing and StartContracts offerings aim to make Ariba's "Commerce Cloud" suite of enterprise-oriented B2B solutions available to small and midsize businesses.

The new StartSourcing and StartContracts offerings aim to make Ariba's "Commerce Cloud" suite of enterprise-oriented B2B solutions available to small and midsize businesses.Ariba's Commerce Cloud comprises applications that let large companies manage their spending, finances, and sales in the cloud. The company also hosts the Ariba Network, a trading community boasting more than 300,000 member businesses worldwide. Among the tools the company offers companies on the buying side are those that help find sources for the products they need and manage the associated contracts.

Those two functions are what the two new "Start" solutions are intended to bring to smaller businesses. StartSourcing, the procurement option, provides tools for creating an RFX, managing auctions and bids, and handling communications -- including multilingual -- among buyers and sellers. StartSourcing also gives companies access to Ariba Discovery for finding members of the Ariba Network. Ariba claims that businesses using StartSourcing can cut their sourcing times in half and realize a 15 percent savings in administrative costs.

StartContracts lets businesses set up an online contract repository for all its business agreements and make them searchable across the organization. StartContracts also sends notifications of when contracts are about to expire or reach other milestones. In addition to cutting costs (by more than 30 percent, the company claims), using StartContracts can also increase renewal rates and make it easier to bring contracts into compliance.

Because StartSourcing and StartContracts are cloud-based, they can be up and running "in days," according to Ariba. They don't offer as many features as their enterprise-level cousins: for example, the "professional" sourcing solution offers more advanced RFX creation tools, document management functions, and custom reports; while the professional contracts solution offers Microsoft Word integration and optional electronic signatures. Most of all, the Start solutions are limited to five users.

A 3- or 6-month trial subscription to either StartSourcing or StartContracts costs $199/user/month. That may sound expensive, but Ariba claims that many companies recoup their investment in a single auction run with the sourcing module.

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