Investing in Procurement -- How to "Play" the Sector Beyond Ariba (Part 1: SciQuest) -- I, like many observers of the procurement marketplace, eagerly await Ariba's (NASDAQ: ARBA) earnings each quarter, looking upon them as one gauge of broader marketplace traction and technology adoption. The Spend Matters team will offer our own view on Ariba's earnings late next week after they're released (we suspect if Ariba is representative of the broader market this quarter, that they'll do just fine, as the general adoption we're seeing is showing no signs of abating, and our recent reference ch... (Part 2 and Part 3)
Ariba's Q3 Fiscal 2011 Results: The Numbers and Beyond (Part 1: The Basics and E-Invoicing) -- Yesterday, Ariba reported its Fiscal Q3 2011 results and it's no surprise to many that the procurement vendor keeps chugging along. Wall Street appears pleased, at least from the reports we've seen already today. As reported by management, revenue continues to climb. Specifically, quarterly revenues hit $121.9 million up from $83 million the previous year (owning both to organic growth and, most important, the Quadrem acquisition). Subscription software revenue (the "good" stuff, at least as Wall Stre... (Part 2 and Part 3)
SAP/Crossgate Targets Ariba in Crosshairs: Will the Best-Run Businesses Run on the SAP Network? -- Earlier this week, SAP announced it was acquiring Crossgate, a key piece of the supplier network puzzle that the ERP giant is trying to piece together in an attempt to dominate the space between buyers and suppliers rather than just delivering workflow, compliance and decision support applications to purchasing managers and frontline buyers that sit behind the enterprise firewall. In many ways, the announcement represents a surprising shot across the bow of the Ariba network boat, but it's unclear whether or not the move will accelerate the pace at which SAP is getting large Ariba customers to defect in both the eProcurement and invoicing areas. Later today, we'll investigate this specific topic in more detail, so check back.
Suppliers: Don't Waste Money On Ariba Discovery/Other Networks Unless You Can Play the Game (Part 1) -- Among those in the industry who follow supplier networks and online marketplaces offering a capability for buyers to discover or search for suppliers, it's well known that the majority of suppliers who end up paying fees for a service don't end up recouping the investment -- or if they do on a hard dollar basis, the amount of time and effort expended in RFP chasing is not really worth it compared to developing relationships in other ways. Yet suppliers can put the odds in their favor if they know how to play the system to their advantage, taking full advantage (and then some, in certain cases) of the benefits of online marketplaces. I recently reached out to one of the venerable marketplace leaders, MFG.com's Mitch Free, to ask him (via Twitter, so the responses had to be short), what he thought. (Part 2)
Ariba's Q4 2011 Results -- Do They Matter to Gauge Overall Market Growth Any More? (Part 1) -- As much as we may quibble about Ariba's network pricing model, our main curiosity with the best-known procurement vendor in the past year has centered on how its general rate of solution enhancement is moving at a slow comparative pace -- sometimes at a very slow comparative pace (e.g., despite promises and a new commitment to CD customers on Buyer for the past year, the "cloud" P2P offering is still further ahead when it comes to a range of new features). In a series of posts looking at Ariba's quarter and why we believe that Ariba is no longer a proxy for the very solid growth happening in the broader Spend Management market, we'll explore these and related topics in more detail. First, let's start with another example to set the stage. (Part 2,Part 3 and Part 4)
Ariba's 180 on Consultancy Partnering -- But Past Scorched Earth Policies Have a Long Memory -- We've had several calls and meetings this year with sourcing and supply chain consultancies that fall under the larger strategy/operations and Big 5 type firms that used to partner with Ariba in the past. These organizations have been keen to understand if the overtures that Ariba is making to them are for real (i.e., that Ariba is actually keen to refer business in exchange for a relative low-cost quid-pro-quo in licensing and using Ariba technology). In a recent press release highlighting their progress at bringing boutique sourcing and operations firms like Transpac Access (run by two former FreeMarkets executives), Paladin Associates and Archstone (now Hackett) into the partner fold, Ariba touted success stories from the consultative trenches. But how much of it is Spend Management hot air vs. a true retrenchment and change in partnering strategy?
-- Brianna Tonner