MarketMile launches spend management service

Online procurement company MarketMile has launched a new spend management service designed to provide companies with the crucial visibility needed to streamline corporate spending, company officials announced Tuesday. In addition, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company founded by American Express Co. is changing its name to Ketera Technologies Inc.

The new service will include spend analysis, sourcing, and supplier enablement modules to provide companies with the resources to negotiate improved contracts with suppliers to effectively control spending. The new solution will round out Ketera's existing procurement and payment offerings.

"The Ketera spend management solution provides a comprehensive solution for spend management at a low cost of ownership," said Brian Desmond, Ketera's director of marketing. "Many enterprise spend management solutions become bogged down ... because companies assume they need to do all the point-to-point integration possible."

Ketera Spend Analysis is designed to allow companies to analyze their baseline spending, with Ketera Sourcing helping enterprises to get the best prices on goods and services by negotiating terms and rates with preferred suppliers. The sourcing service provides a hosted tool set for reverse auctions and the request for quote processes.

Finally, Ketera Network Connect helps companies increase their return on investment from e-procurement by providing a comprehensive suite of services to enable and maintain their suppliers as part of "behind the firewall" e-procurement systems, such as Ariba Buyer, Oracle iProcure, and SAP Enterprise Buyer. The service is designed to link a company's e-procurement application to a network-hosted catalog of the company's suppliers using real-time XML adapters. As a result, suppliers can be rapidly enabled for online commerce even if they have never before interacted with an e-procurement system, Desmond said.

"We provide the project management resources that are needed to help suppliers get enabled, to set up their back-end systems [and] back-end processes," he said. "The buyer doesn't have to invest in hiring new people to address that problem. We guarantee we will enable two suppliers per week, per customer."

Just as Salesforce.com has challenged Oracle and Siebel in the CRM space with its online CRM offering, Ketera is ready to shake up the spend management space, said Tim Minahan, an analyst with the Aberdeen Group, a consultancy based in Boston.

The offering comes at a time when companies are wary of big technology investments; by combining proven procurement automation and enabling services in a flexible and tailored services solution, Ketera overcomes many of the cost, resource, and skill limitations that have hindered many company spend management programs, he added.

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