by Sebastian Rupley
There were three SAP installations sitting behind Chevron's firewall when the company started moving in earnest toward business-to-business commerce. As middleware to facilitate transactions, Chevron deployed Ariba's ORMS (Operating Resource Management System), because it integrated tightly with SAP and Chevron's back-office software.
How does a typical Chevron product transaction go? A Chevron procurement employee connects to the ORMS software through a browser. The software, sitting behind Chevron's corporate firewall and on top of the sap systems, includes a customizable XML meta-data layer and message synchronization services to talk with Internet-based catalogs, which offer office supplies and oil rigs alike. An employee fills an electronic shopping basket, and the software sends purchase orders out beyond the firewall to the catalogs. Chevron's suppliers then send filled purchase orders back to the software. The transactions are logged from those purchase orders in SAP.
According to Nick Solinger, Ariba's director of marketing, ORMS is scalable up to 200,000 seats and can process hundreds of thousands of purchase orders a day. For a big company like Chevron to put in place a solution like ORMS can take from 6 to 18 months, although according to Solinger, Dana Corp. completed a live installation in 11 days.
"Suppliers can really cut their costs of goods sold this way," says Clementz, "because they don't need 100 people in pickup trucks carrying briefcases to go do the selling. They can just log on." According to Clementz, Chevron's electronic catalog suppliers are reporting profit improvements ranging from 5 to 30 percent since moving their offerings online.