REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 6, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of the Microsoft® Solution for Supplier Enablement, an integrated technology solution that provides powerful business results by enabling suppliers to connect to any customer’s e-procurement system or marketplace in a cost-effective way. Suppliers of all sizes will benefit from reduced operational costs while gaining access to new revenue opportunities. Further, this new solution is built to maximize suppliers’ existing IT investments, reducing integration work and allowing suppliers to achieve faster return on investment.
“We have worked closely with a wide range of suppliers to understand the issues they face and ways they would like to optimize their businesses. Based on this feedback, we created a comprehensive solution that provides rich functionality, end-to-end customer support and enterprise-level reliability at a cost that makes it feasible for any size supplier to implement,”
said Chris Atkinson, vice president of .NET Enterprise Solutions at Microsoft.
“The Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement provides a compelling new choice for business-to-business selling — with a broader set of suppliers now able to realize the benefits of conducting business electronically.”
Early adopters of the Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement, such as MarkMaster, BidVest Group Ltd. and TCS Corporate Services, are already experiencing impressive business results including increased sales, lower operational expenses and improved customer satisfaction.
Improving Operational Efficiency and Gaining Access to New Revenue Opportunities
MarkMaster, the leading rubber stamp manufacturer in the United States, found it faced processing up to 6,000 paper orders a day. This method of processing was costing the company both time and money. By automating this portion of its business using the Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement, MarkMaster has achieved impressive business results.
“Our new solution reduces the overhead and potential for errors caused by our old, paper-based order process by 90 percent and reduces our internal order entry staff requirements by 50 percent, which should reduce our overall customer service costs by more than 30 percent,”
said Kevin Govin, COO of MarkMaster.
“The solution also gave us the ability to rapidly connect to a vast array of customers previously unavailable to us. We’re expecting that this capability alone should increase our sales by over 35 percent.”
Effectively Selling to Business Customers Across All Electronic Sales Channels
In today’s environment, suppliers face customers who want to do business through multiple online channels. Before the Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement, managing multiple systems to support different customers was an overwhelming task for suppliers. BidVest, a conglomerate with revenues of over $5 billion (U.S.) annually, chose the Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement over other technology solutions because of its flexible feature set, including open connectivity to multiple e-procurement applications.
“Since each of our customers conducts business in a unique way, it was important for us to be able to rapidly deploy a single technology solution that could satisfy all these individual customer needs and could come to market in a reasonable time frame. The Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement was able to meet these challenges,”
said Philip Katz, managing director of mymarket.com for BidVest Group Ltd.
“The solution completely integrates our many supplier catalogs into our single customer portal, ‘mymarket.com’ and automates our ordering processes, which were previously done manually.”
Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement Offers Suppliers a Competitive Advantage
Suppliers attempting to sell electronically today face a number of challenges, including differentiating themselves from competitors, maintaining rich customer relationships and displaying their unique business value proposition. TCS Corporate Services, a re-manufacturer of office products servicing Fortune 1000 clients, found itself facing all of these challenges.
“By implementing the Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement, we were able to easily create unique catalogs and personalized content for each of our customers. We also provide our customers with a way to directly interact with our Web site and custom configure their orders. We’ve seen our customer satisfaction levels increase dramatically due to these capabilities,”
said Jeff Odom, president of TCS Corporate Services.
“Our customers value the additional benefits of working with TCS as a supplier running on this solution.”
Integrating With Existing IT Infrastructure
For many companies, integrating new systems with existing applications and infrastructure requires months and can run well into seven figures. The Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement is designed to lower the cost of integration with existing technologies such as ERP, CRM and catalog management systems. Combining the strengths of the Microsoft .NET Enterprise Servers, including BizTalk™ Server 2000, Commerce Server 2000, SQL Server™
2000 and BizTalk Accelerator for Suppliers, with public Internet standards such as XML, the Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement offers robust capabilities to solve the integration challenges suppliers face in today’s business-to-business environment.
In addition, the solution comes with comprehensive architectural guidance and complete solution support, so the implementation effort is significantly reduced. MarkMaster, TCS and other early adopter customers implemented their complete solution in less than 45 days, allowing them to see a return on their investment quickly.
Broad Industry Support
Microsoft works closely with leading global systems integrators, including Accenture, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Compaq Global Services, to serve the needs of enterprise customers. The B2B integration solution offered by Accenture brings the Microsoft solution together with Accenture’s B2B/CRM strategy and technical knowledge to deliver a packaged approach with fast business case and solution assessments for customers. The Quick Connect for Suppliers offered by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young combines its business strategy consulting and technical implementation expertise with the Microsoft solution to address buyer-to-supplier integration issues. Compaq offers a suite of services and solutions for the Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement, including the Supplier Enablement Startup Package, which consists of hardware, software and services to get suppliers up and running quickly and easily. Several regional systems integrators, including Covalent Works, Cactus CCI Internet and ePartners, have also created unique solution offerings to help customers.
To provide integration with leading e-procurement and marketplace applications, Microsoft has strong relationships with independent software vendors, including Ariba Inc., Clarus Corp. and Commerce One Inc.
Other industry partners offer complementary technology to support the Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement. These include Data Return Corp., Dell Computer Corp., DIGEX Inc., RioLabs Inc. and SAQQARA Systems Inc. Data Return and Digex, managed service providers, offer a hosted version of the Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement. Dell offers prepackaged hardware, software and services for quick supplier connectivity. RioLabs provides rapid, cost-effective integration to additional back-end systems. SAQQARA provides catalog cleansing tools and services.
More information about the Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/solutions/msse/ .
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