Ariba Supplier Network Alternatives: Ketera/Rearden (Part 4)

This post is part of a Spend Matters series looking at Ariba Supplier Network alternatives. We will cover each Ariba supplier network alternative beginning with each provider's basic background in the area and then their solution approach and Ariba/third party systems integration. Finally, we will provide our own summary and analysis of the provider's overall capabilities.

See previous posts in this series here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

From a discounting perspective, Ketera's Network offers various capabilities including negotiated supplier discounts, virtual card accounts and payables auctioning. Ketera's payables auctioning approach extends the dynamic discounting paradigm leveraging what they suggest is a model focused on "bringing multiple payables, varying DPO's and multiple suppliers together to bid on an available pool of cash." This sounds like Pollenware to Spend Matters, but we have not seen it for ourselves. To help procurement, treasury and finance organizations pick the optimal discounting approach(es), Ketera also offers a set of advisory services.

Ketera Networks is capable of accepting electronic transactions from a range of behind-the-firewall systems across document/order types (e.g., forecast, release, auto-replenishment, invoice, etc.) From a supplier self-service perspective, Ketera offers a core supplier portal that can automate a range of supplier interactions including self-service profile administration, visibility to purchasing transactions and history, and the ability to initiate an inquiry or transactions such as an order acknowledgement, advanced shipping notice, or invoice. Ketera also told Spend Matters that "suppliers also have the ability to manage their catalogs for individual buyers or to publish them publicly to the entire Network community. Full bi–directional online/e-mail/mobile communication capabilities deliver requests or questions to buyers and provide notices and alerts for buyer assigned tasks."

When it comes to eProcurement and P2P systems integration, Ketera has integrated its network "numerous times" with SAP SRM, Oracle iProcurement, PeopleSoft and Ariba Buyer. In Ariba-specific situations, Ketera has integrated with Ariba Buyer as both the transaction engine for PO delivery, invoicing, matching and reporting and as a content and catalog provider delivering cleansing and catalog upload/hosting capability, including the ability to directly pass a shopping cart back to Ariba Buyer. Ketera told Spend Matters that given their open network approach, they could also integrate "cleanly with non-Ariba P2P solutions and offers the same fee reduction advantages." We would suggest readers consider, however, that potential Ketera network users should be aware that Ariba SaaS P2P requires the use of the Ariba network and that unless Ketera also allows for the entire data-exchange process (in Ariba CD situations), that Ariba can trigger full network fees (e.g., in the case of PO exchange, even if an invoice passes over the Ketera network, Ariba still charges its fees to suppliers).

Outside of the network transactional enablement, Ketera's modular approach enables different use-case scenarios based on customer-specific situations. As an example, organizations have used Ketera's catalog content management solution (including supplier self-service) for catalog management while keeping other eProcurement solutions in place (e.g., SAP SRM, Ariba Buyer, etc.)

In our final post in this series, we will discuss the Ketera user experience and our summary recommendations for the Ketera network.

- Jason Busch

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