Ariba taps CascadeWorks on human resources procurement

Ariba and CascadeWorks have teamed up to offer a spend-management solution designed to reduce the cost of procuring temporary workers and consultants, the companies announced Tuesday.

The new Ariba Workforce enterprise software enables buyers to strategically drive more spending to their preferred vendors, work collaboratively with them to streamline contractor selection, and better manage the work agreement process, according to company officials.

While the average Fortune 1000 company spends between 11 percent and 19 percent of its annual purchasing dollars on workforce procurement, the process is often performed manually, said Martin Boyd, Ariba's director of product marketing.

"There's no way for the company as a whole to get a view of what's going on," Boyd said. "Without visibility, they don't even know how much is being spent with preferred providers. By putting into place a more efficient process, hiring managers ... are able to eliminate all sorts of inefficiencies that exist in the process now."

Using Ariba's Buyer e-procurement software as the single point of entry, Ariba Workforce enables timesheets and expenses to be submitted and approved online, allowing vendors to be paid more quickly and buyers to take advantage of existing fast payment incentives, Boyd said. In addition, billing, change orders, volume discounts, and other critical information can be collected and tracked, allowing this area of spending to be effectively managed for the first time.

"Because these processes are so fragmented now ...there's no checks and balances in the system," Boyd said. "[Companies] are subject to millions and millions of dollars of over billing. Someone submits a time sheet and it has overtime and their contract does not support overtime. You end up with projects ... that went 30 to 40 percent over budget."

Although WorkForce is designed to integrate seamlessly into Ariba's spend-management product suite, it is uniquely designed to handle the procurement of human services, as opposed to direct and indirect goods, Boyd said.

"There's a really huge fundamental difference from procuring something from a single, static catalogue ... and trying to buy something as complex as a temporary workforce."

At Autodesk Inc., a San Rafael, Calif.-based company that helps design professionals model and manage their engineering designs, Ariba and CascadeWorks are already integrated, resulting in increased efficiencies and greater visibility, said Lindsay Myers, Autodesk senior buyer. Linking the systems not only allows the company to manage key areas of spending more effectively, it also streamlines a process that was formerly paper-based and time-intensive, she added.

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