Remedy Plots A Course To Travel And Expense Capabilities

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Remedy Plots A Course To Travel And Expense Capabilities
D. Geller - June 14, 2000

Event Summary

Remedy Corporation is partnering with Necho Systems Corporation to integrate Necho's NavigatER travel and expense software with the Remedy Purchasing@Work product. Remedy had originally promised to release a T&E product in Q4 of 1999 but no product announcement materialized.

Under the terms of the agreement Necho will integrate NavigatER with Purchasing@Work to provide users with a common launch and sign-on and a consistent interface for approvals and reporting. NavigatER is a client-side Java solution that supports procurement and T&E cards, foreign tax and VAT reporting, security features that include the use of SSL (secure socket layer) protocols and proprietary database encryption, and a rich language for defining and validating workflow rules.

Remedy has extensive experience with workflow-based products (see Remedy Corporation: Poised for a Comeback?), ranging from its traditional help desk product through its most recent employee self-service products such as Purchasing@Work and Remedy SetUp@WorkTM.

Market Impact

Like a recent partnership announcement by Concur (see An E-Commerce Company That Can Pay The Bills), this partnership represents a step in the development of fully featured employee self-service platforms. So long as these platforms present unified experiences to their users they represent a real value to the corporations that use them. Inclusion of a T&E product will only strengthen Remedy's product offering and competitive position.

We expect that over the next 18 months the companies competing in this space will evolve to a position of largely overlapping capabilities, as the market defines the "must have" products and features. Travel and expense reporting is almost certainly to make this list, so Remedy's addition of NavigatER to its product suite is the right move at the right time.

If the trend typified by this announcement might have unexpected side effects, we'd suggest that Ariba is the company most in need of paying attention to it. Ariba, while hardly a charity case, should be feeling pressure from below in two directions. First, from companies like Remedy, which can provide e-procurement solutions that are bundled with other important products, such as T&E reporting and asset management. Second, from a growing fleet of vendors of tools for building and supporting marketplaces and exchanges; in the latter group must now be counted IBM (IBM's Marketplace Solutions: Is Ariba Not Enough?). At the same time, Ariba faces in Commerce One a strong competitor in the arena for large marketplaces and exchanges. One viable strategy for Ariba would be to extend itself downward by building or buying a more fully functional employee self-service product suite. If that happens, though, we're fairly sure that Remedy will not be the takeover target.

User Recommendations

Many companies looking for an e-procurement solution will also benefit from a T&E product such as NavigatER. When investigating whether the Remedy and Necho partnership represents a good solution for your needs, consider these two factors in addition to your functional needs.

  1. Will NavigatER's Java-based solution work for you? There seem to be a small number of cases where client-side Java solutions cause problems. These are probably in organizations with low levels of browser standardization. To be safe, perform an audit of the browser (and platform) solutions currently in your company and ensure that the product suite is compatible with all of them.

  2. Is the degree of consistency between these two products sufficient for your users? Remedy has always been smart about user interface issues, building all of its applications on a common tool base and interface style. A product partnership such as this one with Necho represents a deviation from that practice, as exemplified by the careful statement that the two products will offer "common launch and sign-on and a consistent interface for approvals and reporting."

We think it wise for you to pay extra attention to the degree to which these products provide common administrative and user interfaces. Should you feel that there are discrepancies you must consider the help-desk costs of supporting two different styles. On the other hand, if you find that your users will see the two products as blending seamlessly - or decide that user interface differences will not cause confusion - that will be a strong incentive to choose this suite as your corporate solution. Do you involve corporate help desk staff in decisions like this? If not, this decision might be a good place to start.

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