Software Vendors Launch Online Marketplaces



Competition in business-to-business marketplaces heated up today, as SAP, Manugistics, and PeopleSoft and its partner Commerce One each unveiled initiatives aimed at expanding their presence in online marketplaces.

SAP says it will play a roll in two online marketplaces. The company will develop, own, and operate a site for chemical and pharmaceutical companies, which is set to begin operating in the first half of next year. SAP has already signed on a number of European participants, including BASF AG and Bayer AG, which are planning to eventually conduct business with most of their suppliers through the site. SAP is working with buyers and sellers to integrate their computing systems to the exchange, which is the first vertical exchange in SAP's mySAP.com Marketplace. In a separate deal, SAP will sell software and services to Neoforma.com, the operator of a trading site where health-care providers can purchase supplies from medical device manufacturers.

Software partners PeopleSoft Inc. and Commerce One Inc. said they will provide supply-chain, procurement, and E-commerce software for a new trading community for the apparel industry being launched by clothing maker Guess Inc. The site, called the Apparel Buying Network, will let apparel manufacturers and their suppliers place their catalogs online and eventually execute purchases and participate in auctions.

Meanwhile, supply-chain software vendor Manugistics Inc. said it will provide the software infrastructure for an online exchange for shippers, freight carriers, and other transportation providers that will enable them to auction excess capacity.

Some analysts say these developments demonstrate that enterprise software vendors are starting to capitalize on the business opportunities of the Internet. "All the ERP vendors missed the window, and they're now beginning to regroup," says Barry Wilderman, an analyst with Meta Group.

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