Simplexis in the Schools???

  • Written By: A. Turner
  • Published: April 3 2000


Event Summary

On March 8, 2000, in an attempt to save U.S. schools $10 billion by 2005, has launched an online B2B marketplace for school purchasing. The pilot program commenced March 1 in the Glendale (California) Unified School District.

More than 100 school districts that spend an estimated $3 billion annually for goods and services have lined up to use Over the next several weeks, more than a dozen public school districts with annual purchases totaling roughly $400 million will join in the pilot program. Completely free to schools, the system may save participants an estimated 10-15 percent of their procurement budget while providing news, content, and community for all involved in the business of education.

Founded by former U.S. Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander and four Harvard business school graduates, offers a hosted e-commerce solution for core applications.

Thanks to an alliance with application service provider Corio, Inc., deployed a customized version of Commerce One's BuySite in 40 days. chose to outsource all installation, setup, and maintenance of Commerce One's hosted BuySite e-procurement application 6.0 to Corio.

Corio's solution allows to give customers a custom e-procurement solution without any installation on customer premises. In addition, offers related content, news, and services; providing school business officials a "one stop solution" for the business of education.

Market Impact

With Business to Business commerce estimated to hit the "trillion" mark by 2003, it's easy to see why companies are offering solutions. With private efforts like Staples, Office Depot, and Office Max; Government purchasing initiatives; and the creation of exchanges by Ariba, CommerceOne, Chemdex (to name a few); it is only logical the education marketplace benefit too.'s blend of Commerce One's solution with Corio makes for an attractive offering. By keeping the threshold of entry low (free??), Mr. Alexandar's group stands to attract considerable attention. If the pilot is successful, look for similar offerings to appear almost overnight .

User Recommendations

For schools wishing to streamline and improve purchasing, there is little, or nothing, to lose by exploring's offer. Should it prove effective, these educational institutions may find hidden benefits. We suggest schools use their participation as a teaching model for students. Concepts of digital transactions, the economics of mass purchase power, digital exchanges, and Internet commerce are only a few of the valuable topics the solution offers.

Also a point worth investigating is's business model. If the company is offering free access to the tools for commerce, how do they make money? Will users pay a little extra each time an item is purchased, or will they be inundated with advertisements? Or both? We recommend understanding's revenue model before signing any contract.


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