More on Hellios (re-published!)

(We published this - or a very similar post -  on Jan 24th but I suspect in the transition to our new site, it got lost somewhere! So I'm re-publishing it - it originally came after this piece but before the interview with Colin Maund that we published this week... anyway, just for completeness, here it is again).

Our exclusive yesterday featured Hellios, the new Supplier Information firm led by Colin Maund, the ex CEO and Chairman of Achilles. We mentioned their claim that their “service is available through world class specialist software, already used to credential more than 400,000 suppliers to some of the world’s most respected companies”.

So where is this software coming from – Hellios is a start-up so surely they haven’t credentialed 400,000 suppliers themselves? No, they haven’t . Rather, Hellios will use technology and data from Aravo, the leading US based supplier information firm. Here’s how Hellios describes the link-up.

“As part of Hellios’ complete end-to-end supplier management services, Aravo’s award-winning SaaS solution provides the foundation for managing enterprise-wide supplier enablement and administration. Aravo delivers a single control point for all supplier information so that every application, business unit and region can access a single source of supplier truth. Using Aravo, Hellios’ business and regulatory experts qualify, verify, certify and onboard suppliers quickly and efficiently, keeping ahead of supply chain demands, while providing web-based supplier self-service in the local language to put the administrative responsibility where it belongs…on suppliers”.

Aravo are a significant business, based in San Francisco, with offices in Chicago, Dallas, Portland, Monterey, Mexico and Ahmedabad, India. They’re backed with “ over $50 million in investment from Cisco Systems, and Big Sky Partners”. They launched their first SIM solution in 2004, and have blue-chip clients in the SIM and SLM (supplier lifecycle management) space.

Where Aravo have been weaker perhaps (compared to Achilles for example) is in the services layer that potentially sits above the data and information provision. So it is all very well getting lots of information  about your supply base – but what are you going to do about it? How does it actually help you develop “local content”? What does it mean in terms of identifying your most serious supply chain risks?

Aravo are also relatively low profile outside the USA. Whilst they have some non-US clients, and  indeed global customers (such as Cisco Solutions and GE), that they support in other countries, their focus is predominantly in the US.

So, the Hellios proposition looks like well established and successful Aravo “back end” technology and data, alongside a customer facing proposition which will include services and wider support. That will be  driven by Maund, who understands very well what clients want in terms of SIM and how to develop appropriate services.  He also got excellent contacts in a number of major industries.

All very interesting – and in part three we’ll feature our actual conversation with Colin Maund from last week.  Maund is a deceptive character. He started his career a civil servant and still does some personal work in the public procurement policy arena, which he loves (one reason he and I get on well – we can have very anoraky conversations about Alcatel and the impact of social value regulations on public buyers...)

He also does a very convincing, slightly eccentric, traditional Englishman act – when actually he is highly international in his outlook, abseiled down the Shard recently for charity, and is as sharp as nails when it comes to business - a man of action in several senses. So tune in to part 3 to see what he has to say about Hellios, Supplier Information Management and life in general.

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