New Release For Ariba’s Software

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New Release For Ariba's Software
D. Geller - September 19, 2000

Event Summary

Ariba, Inc. announced general availability of its buy-side software. The new release, Ariba Buyer 7.0, emphasizes internationalization and interoperability. Ariba Buyer was previously called Ariba ORMS.

Leading the list of new features is globalization. The software is available in eight languages and supports and converts multiple currencies. International companies can operate in several different currencies and use third-party programs to calculate local taxes.

The new release is also said to improve integration with other business processes such as ERP systems. Ariba made a joint announcement with Tibco Software that Ariba Buyer 7.0 supports what are called Ariba Integration Packs, based on Tibco's ActiveEnterprise product. Tibco's business infrastructure products are bundled with the new release as part of a multi-year agreement. The partnership with Tibco was first announced late last year (see Ariba to Leave Integration to Specialists).

Ariba also stresses that the new release has a number of usability improvements, including enhancements to the search and reporting functions.

Market Impact

Ariba and Commerce One are beginning to develop look-alike buy-side applications. With this announcement Ariba catches up with Commerce One's BuySite 6.0, especially in internationalization and interoperability. And that level of convergence is where we think this high-end e-procurement market is going to settle. Although we see Commerce One stronger in building a network of marketplaces and Ariba stronger on the buyer side, both companies are in it for the long haul, and their basic software offerings will become more and more similar over the next few years.

The realities of the market are that MRO buying is being overshadowed by vertical marketplaces and supply chains as the driver that determines which buy-side software choices a company might have. Ariba recognizes this by making it possible for Ariba Buyer users to connect to other marketplaces. This is another trend that must accelerate, since many companies are being forced to participate in different marketplaces by different suppliers or customers.

User Recommendations

Clearly a user who was shying away from Ariba because of the lack of some of these features can now take a second look. But in general there's no real change in options here. Larger enterprises will for the most part be choosing between Ariba and Commerce One for buy-side solutions. The choice will increasingly depend on the advantages of belonging to one marketplace over the other rather than on differences in the software.

Smaller companies have more choices, as a number of vendors offer powerful buy-side solutions that connect to either Ariba's or Commerce One's marketplace network. Of course, the smaller companies will frequently find their choices restricted as their larger trading partners build automated supply chains and effectively lock them into a buy-side vendor.

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