Providers join up to offer tailored solution for SMEs

1 November 2001
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01 November 2001 | Robin Parker

Mid-market companies put off by the cost of business-to-business e-commerce are the target of a specially tailored e-procurement solution.

The product, Buyer-in-a-box, contains the latest version of Ariba Buyer, adapted for small and medium-sized enterprises, hardware from Dell and a range of set-up services from consultancy Xoomworks.

The three companies claim the joint venture cuts cost and risk for buyers. For Ariba and Dell, squeezing their margins allows them to enter the highly sought-after mid-market in a competitive way.

Steve Jackson, chief operating officer at Xoomworks, said: "It contains more than many companies will need, but Buyer-in-a-box provides a comprehensive package for them to hit the ground running with their e-procurement."

Once it is implemented, users can customise it at very little extra cost, he added.

Jackson said research carried out this year found that many mid-market companies have been put off buying e-procurement systems by poorly defined or over-hyped claims of return on investment. Three-quarters of the 350 firms surveyed had not invested in the technology.

The Buyer-in-a-box offering focuses initially on IT purchasing to speed up the process. "It's a big spend and users can procure IT over the Ariba system within weeks," said Jackson. "As soon as businesses have bought into the idea, they can start to use it for other spend areas."



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