Earlier versions of the ORMS already automated procurement of routine office and industrial supplies, capital equipment, and services.
"We started with a plan to attack all those areas, build all those applications on a common infrastructure and a common user interface," said David Rome, Ariba's vice president of marketing. The software, designed for buyers, not suppliers, lets companies manage all their nonproduction goods and services in a single application.
In addition, the new version's infrastructure is now based on eXtensible Mark-up Language (XML), which is emerging as a key protocol for Internet commerce.
"We believe XML will be the way applications talk to each other when a buy-side application like Ariba talks to sell-side software," Rome said. The new version also adds automatic purchasing card reconciliation.
Online procurement has become a hot area in business-to-business e-commerce because it reduces paperwork and forces employees to buy from approved suppliers at negotiated contract prices. Among companies targeting the market are Commerce One, Netscape Communications, Trade'Ex, Open Market, Interworld, and Trilogy.
Designed for large enterprises, pricing on Ariba's new version begins at $750,000.