Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ariba steps up cloud efforts with StartContracts, on-demand contract management for SMBs

Ariba, the spend and procurement management solutions provider, hopes small- to mid-sized businesses will take their enthusiasm for cloud computing to the business processes around contract management.

Ariba’s latest solution, StartContracts, works to do just that. An on-demand solution, StartContracts combines technology and best practice processes to help organizations manage buy and sell side agreements with greater speed and lower costs. The solution also promises to mitigate risk, drive compliance and increase revenue, says Ariba. [Disclosure: Ariba is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Those are tall promises, but ones that Steve Markle, senior director of Solutions Management at Ariba, is willing to stand by. As he sees it, effective contract management is a “critical lever” that companies can pull to find contract information, optimize profits, and identify risks and opportunities quickly.

Here’s what you get with this new software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution:
  • Create a central, online contract repository

  • Specify important fields and terms within agreements to be monitored

  • Manage contracts across the organization using robust free-text search and reporting capabilities

  • Establish task-driven reminders based on important dates and milestones to drive use and compliance

  • Go paperless and sign agreements electronically

  • Optional electronic signature capabilities streamline and make contract execution more affordable and more secure.
Ariba is billing StartContracts as affordable, enterprise-class software that is delivered on demand. Markle went so far as to say that the solution makes possible capabilities that were once only affordable for large enterprises. How affordable? The company is offering an introductory price of $199 a month.

Like a lot of cloud services, this may take hold in SMBs, but migrate into departments and then more of the enterprise core. And, as with most SaaS and cloud services, contract management as a service can quickly become a dynamic process ingredient for more transformative efficiencies. I expect that the analytics from these pure services-composed processes will also prove quite powerful.
BriefingsDirect contributor Jennifer LeClaire provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jleclaire and http://www.jenniferleclaire.com.
You may also be interested in: