Productizing and Bundling Ariba's Sourcing Services

In their continuous march to productize many of their services capabilities, Ariba has taken the lead in the market in terms of how it bundles and packages sourcing consulting services. Please note that this statement is not a judgment call on how their services capabilities stack up to others -- that's the subject of a different post entirely -- but on their overall packaging and the product management support they have behind their services offerings. During their analyst day, Ariba told us that they had a number of driving principles behind the development of a new set of prepackaged services. In their words, some of these are to:

- Ensure services integrate with technology and are aligned with Ariba's technology roadmap

- Provide affordable services for both large and smaller companies and addressing the most common market needs

- Prepackage capabilities, where appropriate for simple pricing, scoping and contracting

- Continue to provide core program design, management and execution

- Continue to support customer enablement

With these guiding principles to help determine bundling and product strategy, Ariba announced a number of new services bundles to us which are currently available in North America and Europe. These new services bundles combine Ariba's shared services capabilities (i.e., the sourcing factory) with more traditional consulting. And perhaps most important, they are offered with simplified and pre-defined pricing, scoping and contracting (though the pricing was not shared with us during the day). So what are these packages, you ask? In short, they include:

Jumpstart (which includes a sourcing fundamentals workshops as well as project coaching)

Accelerate New User Adoption (which includes category assessments, a sourcing fundamentals workshop, sourcing playbook, project coaching, souring software classroom training)

Realize Immediate Cost Savings (includes a category assessment, FullSource, event engineering)

Build Team Capabilities (which includes FullSource, sourcing project mastery, category templates, project coaching)

Achieve Process and Reporting Control (includes sourcing software classroom training, process design and deployment, template design and deployment, advanced reporting design and deployment)

Ensure Smooth User Upgrade (includes event engineering and a "what is new workshop")

If I were more thorough, I'd include a glossary of terms defining the various features of each package, although most are self explanatory. Overall, I've got to say that I was impressed with was the thought and process behind the bundling of these capabilities. Ariba's services offerings have come such a long way from the days when FreeMarkets had over 500 employees, but only a single person in product management. I'll be the first to admit that clever product management will only get an organization so far, but at least on this one level, Ariba is at an advantage in the market. The rest, obviously, comes down to sales, execution, and service delivery and quality.

Jason Busch

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