Online Sellers Look For Ways To Integrate With Buyers - InformationWeek

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Online Sellers Look For Ways To Integrate With Buyers

Sigma-Aldrich Corp., a research-chemicals maker in St. Louis, is facing a problem that more and more business-to-business suppliers are seeing: How can they integrate their system with buy-side applications being installed by their customers?

With many of its large and midsize customers buying Internet procurement systems from such vendors as Ariba Inc. and Commerce One Inc., Sigma-Aldrich must find a way to address the needs of multiple customers without incurring high costs itself.

"We have something like 60,000 customers. If we have to go one by one and everyone is different, we'll die," says Larry Blazevich, CIO of Sigma-Aldrich. "

To solve the problem, Blazevich has signed on with Haht Software Inc. to use Haht Sellside Links, interface software that uses the Extensible Markup Language and other technologies to link users' back-end or legacy systems to buyers' procurement setups. To create connections between the systems, Haht has partnered with buy-side application makers Ariba, Commerce One, and mySAP.com, a division of SAP.

The Sellside Links interface is installed on a supplier's premises. Along with it, Haht provides updated application connections as buyers adopt new or updated purchasing applications, says Rowland Archer, president and CEO of Haht.

Sellside Links, which is available now, is expected to be joined by July by Sellside Exchange, as a hosted, fee-based "sellers' marketplace." Through Sellside Exchange, Haht will host a supplier's information, providing translation to buyers' applications. Haht is considering adding the ability to tell subscribers about transactions that are being conducted by themselves and their competitors on the site.

Blazevich says he isn't convinced yet of the immediate importance of marketplaces or sharing information from them. He's more concerned with interfacing with his customers.

The base price for Haht Sellside Links for Windows NT, HP-UX, and Solaris is $5,000, and varies depending on the number of exchanges and applications involved.

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