Ariba Takes Steps to Make Software Multinational

Ariba Inc. this week released an updated version of its Ariba Buyer electronic-procurement software. Version 7.0 supports seven languages and multiple currencies, including the euro.

Analysts described the multinational functionality as absolutely vital for the Mountain View, Calif.-based software maker to sell to large Global 2000 companies, which increasingly are looking to source goods worldwide.

Global Software Execution

"Right now, rollouts [of Ariba's software] are based primarily in the U.S. This will definitely add to their ability to execute globally," said Carl Lenz, an analyst at Gartner Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn.

Tom Conarty, CIO at Bethlehem Steel Corp. in Bethlehem, Pa., said the US$4 billion company will tap the multilanguage version of the software to electronically purchase raw materials from suppliers worldwide.

Users at Bethlehem's corporate headquarters are now using a previous version of Ariba's software to electronically buy indirect goods and maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) goods.

Approved purchase items and suppliers are listed in the company's electronic catalog, which employees reach over a corporate intranet.

During the next three months, Conarty said, the software will be deployed to all of Bethlehem's business units, which will then start buying direct goods online as well.

"The initial forays with Ariba [companywide] will be in the areas of indirect and MRO procurement. After that, we'll move into direct procurement," Conarty said. "From a supply base, this is where we can get into a global situation with buys of coal, coke and other raw materials."

Conarty noted that savings will accrue from streamlining the purchasing processes for direct and indirect goods, although he had no specific cost-savings figures.

Ariba officials said other features in Buyer Version 7.0 include a simpler, more intuitive user interface and an option that enables a company to deploy a single instance of the procurement software in a central location but lets company users worldwide tap into the system in their preferred languages.

Ariba said its user base comprises more than 200 global companies, including Chevron Corp., Texaco Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., where some 20,000 employees use the software.

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