29 November 2001 | Robin Parker
Microsoft has launched its Solution for Supplier Enablement system in a bid to persuade reluctant suppliers to trade online.
The tool enables first or second-tier suppliers to connect to any customer's e-procurement system or marketplace. It can integrate several catalogues into a single customer portal, automate ordering processes and allow buyers to interact directly with supplier websites.
It is supported by many business-to-business vendors including Ariba and Clarus, which said the solution will help customers to implement supplier solutions to streamline their order entry processes. The unwillingness of many firms to trade online has hampered the spread of e-business.
The launch follows Microsoft's joint development with Commerce One of the Gateway for Microsoft BizTalk Framework in May. Commerce One says that more than 600 enterprise and marketplace customers will be able to use the solution through the existing framework.
It also marks an extension of last year's Supplier Accelerator initiative, said Paul Burgum, the company's industry manager for manufacturing and engineering.
"We tried to bring together all the technology and know-how to the market as a complete solution offering to allow the supplier to differentiate themselves with catalogue management."
He added that the solution required a change in conventional thinking on e-procurement. "Suppliers want to communicate with multiple buyers."