22 May 2003 | Robin Parker
Ariba is to help users manage their spending on service contracts with the latest additions to its spend management software.
The outlay on non-commodity contracts accounts for about 60 per cent of all expenditure put through Ariba's Spend Management software, according to data compiled for the vendor's programme by CAPS Research.
The expanded solution aims to improve compliance and visibility of spend on a broad range of services such as IT and business consulting, facilities management, travel and marketing.
Features include support for non-purchase-order-based buying processes and line-item reconciliation against contracts.
It also provides support for various pricing options such as recurring fixed-fee, bundled materials and services and multi-attribute pricing.
Existing tools such as Ariba Buyer, Enterprise Sourcing, Category Management and Travel and Expense modules have all been upgraded.
Many of the applications were designed in collaboration with oil giant Chevron Texaco, which teamed up with Ariba to help improve its spend visibility and reduce off-contract buying for the procurement of oilfield pipeline maintenance and drilling rig services.
John Watton, Ariba UK's marketing director, said services was a growing area of spend being put through its systems, as companies that had made quick wins on basic commodities tried to make their more complex purchases more efficient.
"Whereas before we had plain requisition applications, now we are helping users to be more specific about how they procure services. Contracts are managed and maintained beyond the basic key metric," he said.
"With our personnel module Ariba Workforce, users define against a skills database, then track and record timesheets for temporary labour."
New customers signed in the past quarter include the Manchester Airport Group and National Grid Transco, which is seeking to consolidate its spend after its two founding power companies' merged.
Ariba's latest launch comes ahead of the release of a new supplier performance management tool next month.