The companies said they plan to combine services to allow customers using Ariba-built marketplaces to manage transactions--from ordering to payment processing and the shipping of goods. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Ariba executives said the company will provide what it calls Ariba Logistics and Fulfillment Services, which will allow buyers and suppliers using marketplaces built on Ariba software to track transactions, calculate costs, and manage the transportation and delivery of merchandise.
In the race to win customers, business-to-business software makers are pressed to offer more than software, according to analysts. They say online marketplace providers need to offer a variety of services to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market.
"This extends our access to a wider network of shippers and carriers," said Jon Corshen, vice president of product marketing at Ariba. "It also allows our customers to add their logistical needs with their transaction in real time."
The services are expected to be available to customers next quarter on a transaction-fee basis.
In recent months, efforts in the business e-commerce market have involved building online marketplaces or trading exchanges for specific industries. Companies selling specialized software and offering online exchanges, such as Ariba and its rival, Commerce One, say they promise to dramatically cut the cost of doing business by helping companies move their existing supply chains--which include partners and suppliers--to the Internet.
Laurie Orlove, an analyst at Forrester Research, said the partnership is a good move by Ariba because it bulks up its marketplace offerings.
"One of the problems with marketplaces in general is they are four walled marketplaces, meaning they only handle trading," Orlove said "They are missing additional features, like logistics and transaction tracking, which are needed in order for the marketplace to be an end-to-end," system.