Ariba Remains Serious about Sourcing

While munching a Chipotle Burrito today at lunch, I read this press release from Ariba, noting new enhancements to their sourcing solutions. According to the press release, "this [version] features advanced RFX, real-time optimization, and auction capabilities that enable companies to source even the most complex categories of spend smarter and faster than ever before. And on-demand access to a wide variety of sourcing and category experts helps to generate sustainable bottom-line results." Personally, I'm pleased that nearly two years following the FreeMarkets acquisition / merger announcement, that the firm continues to invest heavily in the sourcing arena (which is where FreeMarkets was 100% focused). Based on the potential savings that sourcing can generate, I'm a firm believer that sourcing should still be the number one Spend Management priority for most procurement organizations, and this announcement supports the trend toward continued investment in the area. Of course Ariba is not alone in this market anymore. They face stiff competition in the sourcing software space from vendors including Emptoris, Frictionless, Verticalnet, Procuri and Iasta. And in the services world, AT Kearney, Accenture, Deloitte, and McKinsey represent formidable foes as well (and ATK is also a provider of limited sourcing software, as well). Let's hope that Ariba's drive to lead the market forces other vendors to continue to innovate, creating new levels of savings opportunities for organizations, and keeping the Granddaddy of the sector on its toes.

Jason Busch

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