Supplier Information Management with Aravo

Aravo is a provider of an on-demand Supplier Information Management solution based in San Francisco with the goal of enabling business to rapidly onramp all of their suppliers and corresponding information. During my last trip to San Francisco, I was fortunate enough to be able to sit down with them and talk about what makes their solution unique.

Aravo focuses on what they call the Supplier Information Lifecycle that starts with the initial engagement, proceeds through supplier selection, and continues through supplier relationship management. Aravo contends that most systems do a poor job of supplier information management and that good, centralized, supplier information management is essential
to process efficiency, error prevention, rapid supplier on-boarding, compliance, and good, actionable decision support. For the most part, I have to agree.

I’m a big believer in Supplier Relationship Management, since I believe this is the foundation for innovation, performance, and risk management. Furthermore, when you get right down to it, you can’t have good SRM if you don’t know your supplier – and that involves knowing who they are, where they are, what they do, who to contact when things go wrong, what their financials are, etc., etc., etc. To do this effectively requires good centralized data management. Furthermore, without good, centralized data management, each individual in your organization who requires such data will have to spend time searching for it when she needs it, and updating it in her own applications when she finds it is out of date, leading to a lot of lost productivity over the course of a year when you add up how much time people spend just searching for and updating supplier information.

This is where Aravo’s solution comes in. They have a suite of tools that supports a slew of data formats and a suite of tools that supports a slew of common ERP, eSourcing, and eProcurement applications. Furthermore, their J2EE-based web-services stack makes it easy for them to integrate many different systems that use many different data formats. This allows them to do true integration of all of your supplier data – and do it across your enterprise. They can suck it in from each and every system you use, and when it is updated, push it back. Furthermore, not only can everyone in your organization use the same supplier information system, but each individual can choose to retrieve just the data that they need when they need it.

Aravo also has a few other advantages compared to other supplier enablement solutions. Recognizing that every supplier has different levels of e-competency and that every buyer has differing levels of supplier information needs, Aravo has invested time in developing multiple supplier views, each with different levels of detail. Furthermore, recognizing that some buyers might prefer to have third parties manage their supplier on-boarding and data maintenance issues, the system also permits definition of third parties with different levels of data management permissions. Finally, they support role-based dashboards that allow each user to keep track of their enablement projects and determine how many suppliers are in the system, how many suppliers have their information up-to-date, and how many more suppliers need to be enabled.