Ariba Swims Downstream

Electronic procurement giant Ariba Inc. is looking to entice smaller customers with new, hosted offerings.

Electronic procurement giant Ariba Inc. is looking to entice smaller customers with new, hosted offerings.

Speaking Tuesday morning at the Ariba User Group & Advisory Council in Burlingame, Calif., company president Keith Krach outlined details for Aribas pending Internet Business Exchange and ASP-ready procurement application. In addition, Ariba announced the release of ORMS 6, the latest version of its e-procurement app.

The move toward hosted-applications is a new gig for Ariba, which has traditionally focused on Fortune 500 corporations. But with a slew of purchasing startups and procurement portals targeting small- to mid-size businesses in recent months, Ariba has felt pressure to target this budding marketplace.

By beginning an ASP program Ariba now offers all organizations the ability to enjoy the significant benefits of business-to-business e-commerce, says Krach.

The ASP program is anchored by the ORMX procurement app a version of ORMS announced Tuesday that is optimized for the hosted model. ORMX, available immediately, is designed to be a subscription service, and taps into the Ariba network of suppliers.

Biz Exchange Service: Q1 2000

Meanwhile, Aribas Internet Business Exchange service, slated for Q1 2000 availability, is targeted at organizations with numerous medium-size business customers. Essentially, the program is designed to let outfits such as banks, associations, telcos and other vertical market leaders, set up commerce communities with their slew of business customers.

According to Ariba, the business exchange service is slated to include a hosted application with streamlined purchasing, sourcing and other community services. Participating customers will be able to access the hosted application and Aribas supplier network via a Web browser, says Ariba.

New features of ORMS 6 include tighter integration with Aribas supplier network and the deals cut by the procurement vendor. In addition, version 6 includes simultaneous integration with multiple enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and dynamic catalogs, which provide different content views to different employees based on permissions.

Also on Tuesday, Ariba announced an expanded relationship with Microsoft, including its intent to bundle SQL Server 7.0 as a core component of the ORMS app. The deal, however, has not yet been signed. Moreover, Ariba says it is working with Microsoft to integrate Commerce XML (cXML), the standard utilized by Ariba, with BizTalk, a Microsoft-developed communications framework. The goal: to allow tighter connectivity between Ariba Network and BizTalk-based applications.