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Ariba, Siebel make e-commerce push

Ariba and Siebel Systems plan to deliver a unified platform for suppliers that will help them sell goods and services online and then track the wealth of information gathered during those sales.

Kim Girard
Kim Girard has written about business and technology for more than a decade, as an editor at CNET News.com, senior writer at Business 2.0 magazine and online writer at Red Herring. As a freelancer, she's written for publications including Fast Company, CIO and Berkeley's Haas School of Business. She also assisted Business Week's Peter Burrows with his 2003 book Backfire, which covered the travails of controversial Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. An avid cook, she's blogged about the joy of cheap wine and thinks about food most days in ways some find obsessive.
Kim Girard
2 min read
Ariba and Siebel Systems today said they plan to deliver a unified platform for suppliers that will help them sell goods and services online and then track the wealth of information gathered during those sales.

Siebel makes software that tracks a company's sales and customer support. Ariba's software enables companies to buy and sell everything from technology equipment to printing services to machine tool parts online. Using the software, an employee can create a purchase request, route that request to the correct person through an approval cycle, place orders, and make electronic payments.

Like its main rival Commerce One, Ariba is moving quickly to open its network and build alliances with many business software makers as possible. The idea is to add as many new users as possible to the network-- under the notion that more buyers and sellers will bring more clout.

"[These companies] have to really be married to anybody," said Laurie Orlove, an analyst at Forrester Research, who adds that integration is useless unless the customer wants it.

To date, Siebel and Ariba haven't announced any joint customers under their new intiative.

By linking the two companies' systems, suppliers will be able to use Siebel's software to build e-commerce sites that include product catalogs and online price quotes. Because the two platforms are integrated, suppliers will be able to register their Web sites on the Ariba Network platform, making their catalogs available to millions of potential buyers.

Orders taken will be transferred into Ariba's electronic purchasing system, where they will be routed for approval. The two companies said they will use cXML (Commerce Extensible Markup Language), an open standard for business to business e-commerce to communicate across the two selling platforms.

Once the order is placed, information will be passed automatically to Siebel's sales, marketing, and customer service system, where the information can be used to track a customer's purchasing history, plan sales promotions, or improve customer service, the companies said.

The companies said their software should be fully integrated by the first quarter of next year.