Earlier today at LIVE San Francisco, Ariba announced a number of new enhancements to its On Demand solution suite. In the press release, you can read about a number of the features and capabilities that 10S1 adds. I’ve covered a number of these announcements focused on spend visibility and supply risk in recent weeks already (you can read about them here, here and here). But the major news that I’ve not covered yet is Ariba’s new Supplier Information Management (SIM) platform, a tool that claims to accomplish many of the same things that existing SIM players including Aravo, CVM Solutions, Hiperos, AECSoft and others already do.
Ariba claims that their new SIM product and existing performance management solution leverage "a unique combination of technology, expertise and services to help companies quickly identify and assess new sources of supply, rapidly on board approved suppliers, and gain a 360-degree view of supplier information … [giving companies] comprehensive capabilities required to drive continuous corrective actions and improvements across the supply chain as well as best-practices and templates to ensure proper supplier selection, measurement, risk and performance management.”
What’s my take? I’ve been briefed on the product, but I’ve not seen it in action yet, so I’m going to withhold final judgment until seeing how it compares to others. However, from what I’ve asked about already and the responses I’ve gotten, it would appear that Ariba has thought through a number of the nuances involved in the SIM area. These include: exception-based management when querying suppliers, supplier self-service, allowing suppliers to divide surveys and tasks internally between parties, supplier profile management (e.g., information, certifications, financial/banking details, etc.), reporting, vendor master integration (push/pull), etc.
One of Ariba’s claimed differentiators relative to its SIM competitors is that supplier information is now directly integrated into other Ariba On Demand solutions. The fact it leverages a common supplier data model enables deeper integration with other of Ariba’s solutions than any other provider offering these capabilities. For example, within Ariba Sourcing, you can now right click to see supplier profile information about a supplier from the SIM module versus having to click around within the application to get the same data let alone having to launch into another one to get at the details. Stay tuned for further analysis of this solution in the coming weeks after I’ve had the chance to see it in action for myself. But in the meantime, if you're considering a SIM solution from another vendor and you're already an Ariba customer -- or are looking at other Ariba solutions -- I would encourage you to take a look at what Ariba has from a SIM perspective.