Aravo’s New Executive Chairman — Tim Albinson on Supplier Management’s Future (Part 3)

Please click here (Part 1 and Part 2) for the first installments in this interview series with Aravo, as well as an update on Aravo's recent commercial performance.

Previously, we asked Tim what he saw coming around the next corner for the supplier management market. This is the second part of this response to the question.

"Next, I see a distinct need for a way to bridge legacy transactional systems (and their supporting crippled trading networks) with the relationship based social network models we have seen grow so successfully in the past few years.," he suggests. "There is little added value in the automation of transaction exchanges, but huge potential in managing the real relationships and supporting core information across trading partners. No company is just a buyer or a supplier, but of course both. Existing paradigms impose one or the other of these identities on the participants. This must change to reflect all of the business relationships inherent across simultaneous buying and selling."

One of the big questions that many have when it comes to the supplier management market is whether it can survive and thrive on a stand-alone basis. I was curious to ask Tim his opinion on the topic, including whether we might see supplier management combine with other offerings (e.g., transactional supplier networks, P2P, etc.) to create something much larger.

He responded: "I believe that there are a number of intersections that have begun in the marketplace. Customers are constantly looking for more value at lower cost as the complexity of their businesses and the related processes continues to increase. This demands relentless innovation, not just in functionality, but in the way that we as an industry go to market and build combined value-added solutions. Look to see not just combinations of solution types, but of content and services as well. In a few years the landscape will be completely changed."

Given this intersection and changing landscape, I pushed Tim to talk briefly about the "many-to-many" model for supplier connectivity and management that many are starting to talk about. Unfortunately, I did not get much from him on the subject. "On this front I need to keep hush hush for now," he responded. "I don't want to steal our own thunder! Suffice to say we have many exciting things in the works that will be unveiled to the world quite soon." Clearly Aravo has quite a bit up its sleeve. But certainly so do their competitors, from the Aribas, SAPs and Oracles of the world to other similarly focused competitors such as Achilles, CVM Solutions, D&B, Hiperos, Ivalua, Rollstream, SciQuest (AECsoft) and Xcitec.

So what is next for Tim personally? Here's how we ended our discussion: "I plan to continue doing what I love -- building a great business and and surrounding myself with smart, fun, passionate people. I just get to do it from the Executive Chairman seat now and focus on strategic growth opportunities while Mike Saracini focuses on driving execution and operational excellence in our day-to-day operations."

Spend Matters would like to thank Tim Albinson for offering his views on the history of Aravo and the past, present and future of the supplier management market.

Jason Busch

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