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IBM, Ariba gearing B2B software toward suppliers

The companies tomorrow will announce a new bundled suite of products and services aimed at helping midsized suppliers conduct business transactions over online marketplaces.

    Computing giant IBM and software maker Ariba tomorrow will announce a new bundled suite of products and services aimed at helping midsized suppliers conduct business transactions over online marketplaces.

    The companies intend to offer one-stop shopping to suppliers looking to quickly develop a Web site that automatically connects to their partners, buyers and several marketplaces that participate on the Ariba network.

    Dubbed the "IBM Start Now E-commerce Solution for Ariba SupplierLive," the offering includes IBM hardware, middleware software, services and support coupled with a direct connection to Ariba's network of online marketplaces. Cisco Systems will provide the networking equipment products.

    The offering will also be made available through reseller channels of IBM and Cisco, the companies said. Pricing was not disclosed.

    The products are also centered around IBM's WebSphere line of Internet products. WebSphere allows companies to integrate enterprise applications and process electronic transactions over the Web.

    The joint product is the first in a series that will be delivered by the two companies. The IBM Start Now program is designed to help IBM business partners quickly implement their e-commerce products and services for their customers. IBM said it is working with OnLink and Profile Systems to provide additional Start Now bundled suites focused on online order accuracy and data collection, respectively.

    Meanwhile, through its Ariba SupplierLive program, the software maker is aiming to help suppliers quickly conduct business with their trading partners by offering them a preconfigured set of tools and services, allowing them to connect with buyers and marketplaces on its network.

    In March, IBM and Ariba signed a partnership to provide a wide range of services to companies that wanted to take their business online. At the time, Big Blue also took an equity stake in Ariba.

    Like several technology providers in recent months, IBM and Ariba have been busy tackling the lucrative market of business e-commerce, primarily by developing massive online marketplaces. For the most part, online marketplaces help link businesses with their suppliers and partners and aim to reduce internal purchasing costs and the paperwork involved by moving the process to the Web.

    Leading research firms expect the business e-commerce market to be worth between $2.7 trillion and $7.3 trillion by 2004, up from about $131 billion in 1999.