Ariba held the "LIVE Miami" 2000 event in Miami, Florida to showcase some
notable successes and new announcements. One of the most significant was
the completion of the first phase of the roadmap for the IBM/i2/Ariba
alliance (see B2Big
Deal for IBM, Ariba, and i2). Claiming that the effort required 300
developers for a period of two and a half months, the alliance announced
that the baseline components of Ariba's B2B Commerce Platform and i2's
TradeMatrix solution have been made interoperable with IBM's hardware
platforms, its middleware, and its Application Framework methodology.
also announced "a start-to-finish methodology for implementing the Ariba
B2B Commerce Platform." Dubbed AribaLive the package helps partners and
customers manage the implementation of the Ariba platform, and also provides
an extensive knowledge base. According to Scott Mulder, program manager
for AribaLive, "by leveraging the AribaLive Web-based deployment management
system, we can share a new liquidity concept with our partners, gather
feedback, polish and pilot the new approach, and get it to the field in
a matter of days."
has obtained a number of new customers, of which the most significant
among the recent announcements was Transora, a global B2B eMarketplace
for the consumer food products and services industry. Transora selected
the Ariba B2B Commerce Platform and i2'sTradeMatrix solutions for its
worldwide food, beverage, and consumer products marketplace.
Unquestionably the best news for Ariba was the progress on the alliance
with IBM and i2. Supply chain integration has become a significant piece
of Ariba's overall strategy. With i2's tremendous strength in its industry
Technologies at the Front of the Supply Chain) this will be a major
source of revenue for Ariba. On the other hand, it will also represent
a major drain on resources; these are not out-of-the-box installations.
We therefore expect to see Ariba pulling back to some degree from marketplace
projects that do not involve a supply chain component. Projects of that
nature brought in by their IBM Global Services partners will inevitably
take precedence. Of course, Ariba is hoping to have the majority of those
projects handled by systems integrators or by the customers themselves,
and the AribaLive package is a step in that direction. But to some extent
we think that Ariba will be ceding some of the pure-marketplace sales
to Commerce One.
Both Ariba and Commerce One remain obvious choices for e-procurement and
marketplace solutions, but the trick for the user is determining which
company makes the best match. A company of any size whose major interest
is in a buy-side procurement solution will find other vendors anxious
for the business. One of these is now SAP, of course. TEC believes that
Ariba will not part with its own buy-side software as easily as Commerce
One did, both because Ariba doesn't have a partnership that is likely
to produce and market a replacement and because the company remains emotionally
attached to that part of its business.
SAP's first shot at e-business, mySAP, fizzled, we expect the new approach
to succeed and to carry Commerce One along with it. How much Commerce
One will become tied to SAP to the exclusion of other markets is hard
to tell. In a chicken-and-egg way it may depend on how tight potential
customers perceive the linkage to be. We continue (see Commerce
One: Everything but Profits) to predict some kind of fissioning in
Commerce One, such as a formal separation between the marketplace and
procurement sides of the business.
overall there is no obvious winner in the sweepstakes. Customers for whom
a sophisticated supply chain solution is the overriding concern will lean
toward Ariba, just as current SAP users will lean toward Commerce One.
But the complexities of these solutions, and the overall similarities
between the capabilities of the two companies, dictate that users conduct
very careful evaluations of both before making a decision.