Ariba, Inc., which recently launched a cloud-based “matching” service allowing buyers to identify and qualify suppliers from a global community, says the time is right for social networking to control more of the supply chain.
According to spokesmen, “Ariba Discovery” eliminates the hassle of discovering qualified partners and business leads by instantly matching buyer requirements to supplier capabilities. Fully-integrated with Ariba’s “ Sourcing On Demand,” it puts more than 500,000 selling organizations in touch with “Global 2000” buyers that are in active purchasing cycles.
“It’s a virtual dating game for the supply chain,” a spokesman told SCMR.
To enhance the value of the service to buyers and sellers alike, Ariba has teamed with leading companies such as American Express OPEN and IBM.
“Online business-to-business marketplaces are a great way for small businesses to seek business with larger enterprises,” said Rob Ganjon, Vice President, American Express OPEN. “Ariba Discovery is a lead generating platform, which means small businesses are connecting with key decision makers and purchasing agents in the right place at the right time.”
While the service is not positioned against any one specific competitor, SCMR was told that it will represent an enhancement to the contract management niche.
“There’s a rather narrow footprint in that space now,” said Sundar Kamakshisundaram, head of Ariba’s solutions marketing division. “Small- to medium-size businesses will find this offering attractive, as it gives them a scalable contract management tool.”
Buyers can post RFPs or RFIs and have them automatically matched with sellers who meet their requirements. They can gain access to community-based references and ratings to judge seller capabilities and performance. Furthermore, said the company, buyer can gain visibility into e-commerce capabilities and performance with other buying organizations to determine experience level and fit.
Sellers, meanwhile, can Reduce the time and expense associated with finding new business and managing relationships.
“As a mid-range company with finite resources, it’s difficult to get our arms around a national audience and canvas Fortune 1000 companies,” said Greg Bosserman Vice President, Business/Program Development, Support Services of America (SSA). “Ariba Discovery enables us to do this and has helped us to maximize our resources to the point that we anticipate that in two years, we could bid on several times the amount of business we do today.”