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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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."
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.