Similar to the Ariba LIVE conference last year, one of the main themes at the Ariba LIVE 2013 conference was again that Ariba, now an SAP company, is making it easier than ever for companies to connect to the Ariba Network and collaborate. Accordingly, Ariba and Dell Boomi announced that they are teaming up to deliver pre-packaged integration as a service offering for selling organizations.
Designed to simplify and speed up integration to the Ariba Network, the Ariba Integration Connector, powered by Dell Boomi Integration Packs, aims to enable companies to collaborate more efficiently. The first available connector, which integrates with Intuit QuickBooks, was officially unveiled at Ariba LIVE 2013. Additional connectors to enable sellers who own Microsoft Dynamics GP and Sage 50 (a.k.a., Sage Peachtree) to integrate with the Ariba Network are planned to be released later this year.
Pearson, a global education company, has selected Cameleon Software’s Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solution as part of a business transformation initiative aimed at enhancing the customer experience. Anticipating the growing need for customized and personalized services, as well as the shift from paper to digital content, Pearson adapted its business processes to the market changes and, as part of its strategy, implemented a CPQ solution. Read the rest of this entry »
In its early days in the 1990s during the first wave of trading exchanges (anyone still remember the crash and burn of Commerce One?), SciQuest used to help manage procurement and inventory management for reagents, those substances or compounds that are added to a system in order to bring about a chemical reaction (or are added to see if a reaction occurs). SciQuest’s Enterprise Reagent Manager (ERM) is a procurement-focused chemical inventory solution used by seven of the world’s top ten life science organizations and leading higher education institutions.
SciQuest has since quite expanded its industry savvy and spend management functional footprint to now be a leading provider of cloud-based business automation solutions. Staying true to its roots, SciQuest and eMolecules just announced a partnership to make eMolecules’ catalog of in-stock molecular building blocks available within SciQuest’s ERM platform. As a result, ERM users can now directly purchase in-stock molecular building blocks via eMolecules’ market-leading database.
SciQuest, a leading public provider of cloud-based business automation solutions, has announced the next major version of its spend management product suite. The latest version includes a redesigned user interface (UI) with consumer-like features and experiences similar to popular Web sites such as Amazon, Facebook, and LinkedIn. In short, SciQuest is bringing a consumer-like experience to business-to-business (B2B) shopping. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the major announcement sets at the recently held joint SAPPHIRE NOW and SAP TechEd event in Madrid, Spain, November 13-16, 2012, was about SAP’s plans to infuse SAP innovations into the world’s most powerful business network, Ariba Network. Through the recent combination of SAP and Ariba, close to 1 million companies are now connected to the Ariba Network—more than any other trading network. The introduction of SAP innovations in social, mobile, and cloud and the in-memory technology of the SAP HANA platform should logically drive global business-to-business (B2B) collaboration and achieve even higher levels of efficiency in sales, procurement, invoice, and payment processes as well as insights through the business network.
E2open is a provider of cloud-based software solutions enabling enterprises to procure, manufacture, sell, and distribute products more efficiently through collaborative execution across global trading networks. Brand owners can use E2open solutions to gain visibility into and control over their trading networks through the real-time information, integrated business processes, and advanced analytics that E2open provides. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1 of this blog series analyzed the positive impressions from my attendance of the AribaLIVE 2012 user event. Still, while it might appear that Ariba is firing on all cylinders, as is typically the case, Ariba is not all things to all people and no company is without issues. Thus this post will discuss some challenges and related rooms for improvement.
A recent blog post talked about my attendance of the AribaLIVE 2012 user event and outlined the main premise of the event: Ariba has become a public cloud commerce network provider first and foremost, while also offering additional related spend management software as required. The vendor is striving to become a business-to-business (B2B) commerce version of Amazon.com and eBay to enable painless transactions by providing a behind-the-scene universal business translator. For more details, see the keynote presentation by Ariba’s president Kevin Costello.
This is what cloud commerce is all about: leveraging the power of a network to make business commerce as easy as personal commerce. And this is the direction that Ariba will continue to take. The vendor has gone all out to expand the Ariba Network (and the cloud-based solutions delivered within it) and extend its position as the world’s largest and most global business network. And these moves are apparently paying off.
After a hiatus of several years, the stars and planets were again aligned for me to be able to attend the AribaLIVE conference in early April 2012. And boy, what a difference several years can make! The last time I attended, in the mid-2000s, Ariba was behind its worst times of the early 2000s and the dotcom ”boom and crash.” For those that are not sure what I am talking about, in the early 2000s, Ariba had quite over-invested in its resource-heavy and inflexible client-server supplier exchanges and was bleeding cash.
The turnaround started when the company decided to focus on spend management software and know-how (sourcing, contract management, spend analysis, invoice automation, etc.), rather than on merely providing the “plumbing” for procurement transactions between trading partners. While the financial performance and posture of Ariba were noticeably improved by the mid-2000s, the company was still criticized by some market observers as being too conservative and focusing on traditional solutions.
Part 1 of this blog series talked about my very first attendance of BigIdeas, BigMachines’ annual user conference that takes place in the fall in Chicago. I wasn’t the only one that attended BigIdeas 2011 for the first time, as in May 2011 the company’s financial backers brought in David Bonnette, a seasoned Oracle executive in the customer relationship management (CRM) realm, as the new president. Mr. Bonnette has since gradually replaced the company’s founder and former CEO Godard Abel.
The highlights of Bonnette’s keynote presentation were that BigMachines has recently moved towards acting as an established company with more structured processes rather than as a slightly disorganized rapidly growing startup. Predictable results for both the vendor and its customers should come from more simplified and prepackaged offerings, and the upcoming BigMachines 12 release was previewed.
The fall of 2011 marked Theo Epstein’s move from Boston Red Sox to Chicago Cubs, whose fans have been yearning for a championship ring for well over 100 years and are fervently hoping that Theo’s curse-breaking success as the general manager in Boston will be repeated in the desolate Cubs nation. Well, 2011 also marked a much less important detail: after having to regretfully decline a few previous times, I was finally able to clear my calendar and attend BigMachines’ annual user conference dubbed BigIdeas, also in Chicago as the company’s base.
I have to confess that the attendance has changed my perceptions of the upbeat cloud software vendor somewhat. Namely, every time when we would meet in the past (most often at past salesforce.com’s Dreamforce and Oracle Open World events) the company’s staff struck me as too formal and somewhat standoffish. My earlier opinions on the vendor can be seen in this blog post from 2010 here.
Many recent TEC articles have talked about quote-to-order (Q2O) or configure, price, quote (CPQ) solutions that facilitate business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sales, thus helping companies sell more products and services faster. A number of thriving vendors provide on-demand product configurator, pricing and quoting, proposal generator, and B2B eCommerce (self-service portals, product catalogs, etc.) software solutions. These Web-based offerings facilitate sales across their customers’ diverse channels by streamlining their sales processes, from opportunity to order.
Using Q2O/CPQ solutions, dispersed sales teams and channels can quickly configure products, generate quotes, proposals and contracts, manage complex pricing, and manage orders. Most recently, I’ve reported on Cameleon Software’s bullish posture. The company was visibly present at salesforce.com’s annual Dreamforce 2010 user conference expo floor, making hay out if its Apple iPhone- and iPad-enabled sales application and integration to the Salesforce Chatter cloud collaboration product.
Part 1 of this blog series talked about my recent reunion with Cameleon Software (formerly Access Commerce) a provider of on-demand and on-premises configure, price, and quote (CPQ)/quote-to-order (Q2O) solutions. Prior to analyzing the recent events at Cameleon, Part 1 first established the need and market drivers for such software solutions.
I then analyzed how Cameleon helps product managers and marketers during the design phase of new product and service offerings, with the focus on being amenable to business (vs. power IT) users in these departments. Part 2 continues with the analyses of how Cameleon helps the sales process (often via multiple channels) and a discussion of recent developments at Cameleon.
In this fast-moving world, use of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Cloud Computing has grown rapidly owing to its straightforward subscription-based pricing model and relatively quick deployment. Nowhere has that been more evident than in the niche quote-to-order (Q2O) or configure, price & quote (CPQ) market segment. Indeed, BigMachines, FPX (formerly Firepond), Webcom, and Experlogix continue to report notable on-demand software subscription and accounts growth even during these economically depressed days.
The landscape of the supply chain has changed drastically over the past five years. It went from local to global in manufacturing, procurement, sourcing, logistics, and customers. As such, there are some major challenges in the supply chain network: Read the rest of this entry »