Ariba Inc.

Robert Calderoni

In today’s competitive business environment, in which the costs of succeeding and the pressure to improve the bottom line continually increase, companies must find ways to reap the most value from every dollar spent on services, direct materials, and indirect goods to improve their profits, mitigate risk, and gain competitive advantage.

“Spend management” is the fastest, most efficient way to address this critical challenge. Ariba, Inc., headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., invented the concept and is the leading global provider of solutions that drive spend management.

Ariba was founded by seven executives who wanted to automate the purchase of common supplies and services. In 1996 they incorporated as Ariba, Inc., and soon had a prototype product. Licensing deals with major corporations, including Cisco Systems, Advanced Micro Devices, and Octel, quickly followed. Ariba’s first product, now known as Ariba Buyer, was shipped in 1997.

Much of 1998 was devoted to recruiting expert personnel and to improving Ariba Buyer. Then, in 1999, the company entered the business-to-business marketplace with a supplier network. After going public that year, Ariba established strategic alliances to provide e-payment services, logistics commerce services, and software for creating communities of online buyers and sellers. In 2000 the company shipped two new products—Ariba Dynamic Trade and Ariba Marketplace—and acquired, which led to the launch of Ariba Sourcing. With thesecapabilities, and the company’s July 1, 2004, merger with FreeMarkets, Inc., which brought commodity and category specialists to the table, Ariba revolutionized the way global business is done.

With Robert Calderoni at the helm, Ariba delivers superior spend management results to more than 550 customers around the globe. Ariba’s solutions are used to source more than $450 million in goods and services each day, process a purchase order every two seconds, manage purchase transaction volumes twice the size of eBay, and manage more than $170 billion in procurement annually.

Combining speed, sustainability, coverage, and flexibility, Ariba drives exceptional enterprise-wide savings and operational efficiency via seven spend management solutions:
• Ariba Spend Visibility, which enables decision makers to identify, quantify, and prioritize all opportunities throughout the purchasing life cycle
• Ariba Sourcing, which enables companies to use the most appropriate strategies for sourcing all categories of spend
• Ariba Contract Management, which lets companies unlock the value of their contracts portfolios through business process improvement and automation
• Ariba Procurement and Expense Management, which enables companies to leverage their organization for bett er spend compliance
• Ariba Invoice and Payment, which automates paper-intensive activities for accurate, streamlined electronic invoicing and payment
• Ariba Supplier Management, which supports supplier discovery, evaluation, and relationship management
• Ariba Supplier Network, the world’s largest open trading network, through which buyers and suppliers collaborate and transact business in real time

These spend management solutions provide much more than enterprise resource planning, or ERP. While ERP is about procuring, spend management provides a proactive strategy for taking advantage of opportunities for significant savings and greatly increased efficiencies.

Ariba’s solutions, as well as its deployment models—Software as a Service, on-premise, hosted, and outsourced—allow customers to adopt the right solution to meet their unique needs. Ariba’s unmatched domain expertise enables businesses of all sizes to achieve operational excellence in today’s dynamic global environment.

This history was written in 2008 by the Silicon Valley Historical Association.

Ariba Inc. website