Commerce One pulls curtain on new apps suite

Commerce One is slated to roll out a suite of collaborative solutions Tuesday designed to automate the strategic sourcing and procurement process while also enabling deep integration between an enterprise and its trading partners.

Commerce One 5.0 is built on the company's collaborative platform, allowing enterprises to implement pieces of the suite -- such as procurement or auctions -- one at a time to achieve a short return on investment, according to company officials.

The new suite combines best-of-breed solutions for automating sourcing and procurement, with a collaborative platform that links applications within the enterprise and makes them accessible to trading partners, said Mark Hoffman, chairman and CEO of Commerce One.

Commerce One 5.0 combines e-commerce buying applications -- Commerce One Buy and Commerce One Source, with the Commerce One Collaborative Platform, a work flow and business process management platform for linking applications to support business processes within and across enterprises. As a result, customers can develop business process flows tailored for their unique enterprise, industry, region, and trading partner requirements, without costly customization, officials said.

The business process management enhancement to the Commerce One platform provides key capabilities sorely lacking in the market, said Pierre Mitchell, research director at AMR Research Inc. in Boston.

However, Commerce One -- which is trying to transform itself from a company that tackles indirect procurement to one that focuses on more strategic direct procurement -- faces a "tough road to hoe," said John Moore, an analyst with ARC Advisory Group, in Dedham, Mass.

"Their claim to fame was in indirect procurement ... in lowering the cost of processing a given purchase order," he said. "When you get into strategic sourcing ... you're dealing with fewer suppliers and much larger contracts. There isn't the need to minimize the purchase order."

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