TradingPartners Bankruptcy Confirmed – Exploring Customer “Full-Service” E-Sourcing Alternatives

(Editor's Note: Here's a post from Jason Busch, my US colleague, published on Spend Matters US yesterday)

Earlier this morning (Tuesday), Chirag Shah, a former CEO and founder of TradingPartners, posted a comment on Spend Matters confirming our report last week that Trading Partners was bankrupt. Here is what he had to say:

I'm sorry to confirm that TradingPartners is bankrupt after all. As a former CEO of the company and now running a competing company called MarketMaker4, I had attempted to contact the Board of Directors in recent months to explore an acquisition of the business but to no avail. It seems Kennet Venture Capital (who controls the Board these days) has preferred to 'scuttle the ship' rather than sell the company as a 'going concern' to a former board member's competing business. This is an incredibly irresponsible step, which has resulted in the unnecessary loss of many jobs and left customers without access to their information. In the past week, together with my colleagues at MarketMaker4, we have attempted to piece things back together but regrettably certain critical information has been mothballed making the recovery of services to customers very challenging.

Aside from what appears to be politics involved in the winding down or potential sale of the business according to Chirag's comment, the more important question for any customers who may remain (or those who already left and are looking for alternatives) is who else to turn to for sourcing services and related spend analysis technology (for those early users of the TradingPartners Spend Science platform). From our perspective, there are a number of alternatives to TradingPartners for e-sourcing sourcing management and software (including supplier recruitment, training, RFX creation, category templates, event management/hosting, proxy bidding, etc).

Many of the software firms in the sector have comprehensive services practices to support reverse auction and strategic sourcing programs. These include BravoSolution (which has been a beneficiary of the decline of TradingPartners already), Iasta, Zycus, Ariba (through partners) and numerous other providers that can deliver fully managed services overlaid on top of software.

Some of these providers have capabilities that extend significantly past what TradingPartners was capable of. SAP and Oracle also have significantly developed e-sourcing tools and partner ecosystems as well. As Chirag points out, his own new firm, MarketMaker4, is also a suitable replacement. Companies looking for a TradingPartners alternative may also wish to consider a range of new low-cost e-sourcing providers including MarketDojo that offer varying event support services as well.

(Peter Smith adds; Purchasing Auctions are another low cost UK firm; Emptoris /IBM are another option and don't forget Trade Extensions and CombineNet at the complex end where auctions morph into "market informed sourcing").

Spend Matters will continue to report on any information pertaining to TradingPartner's bankruptcy as it becomes available.

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