My Thoughts on the Ariba – Procuri – Emptoris Circus: Extended Edition

This post has been updated in My Thoughts on the Ariba – Procuri – Emptoris Circus: Ultimate Edition. The reader is strongly urged to check out that post instead.

Ariba‘s buying Procuri! The gorilla-marketing vultures of Emptoris are trying to capitalize on it! It’s so unexciting and uninnovative that I’d rather have Keith Jackson‘s job and stop-watch how long the evaporation and ultra-violet breakdown processes actually take when a thin sheet of latex changes from a liquid to solid state.

That being said, it seems last week’s post on the subject, which captured summaries of the conversations that may have taken place in the Ariba Executive suite before the first offer, the Procuri Boardroom when the offer was seriously being considered, and the Emptoris marketing cage when word was leaked that a tentative agreement was reached, may have been one of my most popular.

Thus, for those of you who missed it, or enjoyed it so much that you yearn to read it again, I am (re)posting an extended version below.

Opening: The ‘Riba brothers and sister are on center stage, the Goodfeathers behind them off to the viewer’s left, and Pinky & the Brain behind them off to the viewer’s right. Rita, Runt, Slappy, and Minerva are at the back, behind the ‘Riba brothers and sisters.

It’s time for sourcing-maniacs
And we’re zany to the max
So just sit back and relax
You’ll laugh ’til you collapse
We’re sourcing-maniacs!

[Wakko & Yakko]
Come join the ‘Riba Brothers
And the ‘Riba Sister, Dot
[Wakko, Yakko, & Dot]
Just for fun we run around the corp’rate parking lot
They lock us in the boardroom whenever we get caught
But we break loose and then vamoose
And now you know the plot!

[Everyone but Wakko, Yakko, & Dot]
We’re sourcing-maniacs!
Dot is cute and Yakko yaks
Wakko packs away the snacks
While accountants pay the tax
We’re sourcing-maniacs!

[Everyone but Pinky & the Brain]
There’s Pinky and the Brain who want to rule the sourcing-verse
[Everyone but the Goodfeathers]
Goodfeathers flock together;
[Everyone but Slappy]
  Slappy whacks ’em with her purse
[Everyone but Rita & Runt]
Rita lectures Runt,
[Everyone but Minerva]
  Minvera sings a verse
The writer flipped; we have no script
Why bother to rehearse?

We’re sourcing-maniacs!
We have pay-to-play contracts
We’re zany to the max
There’s baloney in our slacks

We’re sourcing-manie,
Totally insaney,

These are the facts!

Prologue: Rita and Runt are wandering the streets of San Francisco down by the Embarcadero in their search for a new home late last fall. It’s night, and they are going unnoticed.

A breeze blows a page onto Runt’s nose. Runt reads the first line.
Runt: “MasterCard, Ariba Partner for Corporate, Purchasing Card Programs”. Rita, what’s Ariba?
Rita: Ariba is a big software company down in Sunnyvale, Runt.
Runt: Software, what’s software?
Rita: You know what a computer is, don’t you?
Runt: A big box that makes pictures like a TV, right?
Rita: That’s right. And software is what makes it make pictures. But a computer can do more than that, Runt.
Runt: Really, like what?
Rita: Some people use it to send letters …
Runt: How do they get the paper in there?
Rita: Not real letters, e-letters!
Runt: e-letters, you mean they make letters out of E’s? How do they do that?
Rita: No, no, silly. Electronic-letters. The letters are sent using signals between computers, kinda like the signals that are sent from TV stations to TVs, that are interpreted by the software and displayed as written words.
Runt: That’s neat.
Rita: Yes it is Runt. Yes it is.
Runt: So what else do people use these computers for?
Rita: Some use them in the home to write e-letters, search for information, listen to music, and watch videos. But some use them at work to do their jobs.
Runt: Really?
Rita: Yes, and Ariba makes software that some people use in their jobs to buy things their company needs.
Runt: So, they’re partnering with Mastercard means they’re doing good, right?
Rita: Maybe. Why do you ask?
Runt: Wondering if they could give us a home.
Rita: Well, they’re a company Runt. Companies don’t generally keep pets, the people who work at them do.
Runt: But if they’re doing good, then that would mean the people working at them would be doing good … and be happy. Maybe happy enough to give us a home, right?
Rita: Maybe, but remember how I told you that people measure a company’s performance based on its stock price.
Runt: D’uh, yeah.
Rita: Well, their stock price hasn’t been doing very good. It’s a little better than it was a year ago at this time, but it was almost twice as much two years ago.
Runt: So, our chances of finding a home there aren’t very good.
Rita: I don’t know, Runt. I don’t know. We could wander down to Sunnyvale and see for ourselves though. It’s getting cold at nights in the city now.

[Rita and Runt]
Hi-ho! Hi-ho!
Off to Sunnyvale we go!
We’ll chase our tails!
And wear our veils!
[Rita and Runt]
Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho!

[Rita and Runt]
We’ll walk along the ‘Fornia coast
Search the trash cans for a roast
Try not to run into a ghost
[Rita and Runt]
Sing the songs that we like most
Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho!

[Rita and Runt]
We’ll find Ariba, yes we will
Maybe it’s beyond that hill
It would be nice just to stay still
And find a place to eat our fill
Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho! Hi-ho!

Scene 1: The Ariba Executive Suite. Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are sitting solemn and anxious around a big table late last year.

Yakko: Our stock price is dropping!
Wakko: Our profits in danger of stopping!
Dot:   And our boss is very unhappy with us.
Yakko: We need a new idea.
Wakko: But we’ve already tried IKEA!
Dot:    And that kid who used to ride the spiffy short bus!
Yakko: If we don’t do something fast …
Wakko: We might run out of gas …
Dot:    Or at least champagne shooters!
Yakko: We need to make innovation!
Wakko: We need to take back the sourcing nation!
Dot:   We need to go to … Hooters!
Yakko:  Yes, those are lovely owls!
Wakko:  Lets give them our towels!
Dot:    And then order in Chinese.
Yakko:  I’m a bit grumbly …
Wakko:  And I’m a bit humbly …
Dot:    And I like to swing in the breeze!
Yakko:  Maybe we should get some fresh air!
Wakko:  The air is stale around my chair!
Dot:    And our food is at the door!
Yakko:  I’ll pay for it!
Wakko:  Pay … that’s it … we need to pay for it!
Dot:    What do we have to pay for?
Yakko:  Something .. we’re here for something …
Wakko:  That’s right … something …
Dot:    Yes … we need … to raise … profits!
Yakko:  But we have no ideas …
Wakko:  And we can’t sell IKEA …
Dot:    And the big guy’s taking fits …
Yakko:  So why don’t we just buy some!
Wakko:  Yes, it will be so much fun!
Dot:    And we might even get some cash out of it too!
Yakko:  But we have lots of software …
Wakko:  Yes! It’s right over there …
Dot:    And we’ve even got a network to woo!
Yakko:  But we don’t have every single buyer!
Wakko:  It could be because our prices are higher!
Dot:    Or because our competition has more SaaS!
Yakko:  So let’s just buy ’em!
Wakko:  Then we’ll have show’d ’em!
Dot:    With a good swift boot to the *ss!
Yakko:  We’ll get all the revenues!
Wakko:  In all the glorious green hues!
Dot:    And maybe even the mid-market too!
Yakko:  So, who do we buy?
Wakko:  Who’s on-demand with the biggest slice of pie?
Dot:    Covered in anchovie stew!
Yakko:  I know! Procuri!
Wakko:  They’re always in a hurry!
Dot:    To take deals from us!
Yakko:  Then we’ll have the buyers!
Wakko:  And our revenues will be higher!
Dot:    And our boss will finally give us the short bus!

Interlude 1: Lights shift to Minerva on Stage Right. She starts to sing.

Ariba’s got the blues
So they’re making an offer
To buy out competition
With coins from the coffer

It’s the same old story
Innovate or buy
Reclaim lost glory
A bigger slice of pie

Scene 2: The Procuri Boardroom … a few months ago. The Goodfeathers have just entered.

Squit: As far back as I can remember …
Pesto: Do you think you amuse me with your rambling? Do You!
Bobby: You talkin’ to me? YOU TALKIN’ TO ME?
Squit: I’m not talkin’ to you!
Pesto: Dat’s it!
   Thwok! (Pesto conks Squit.)
Pesto: Now why are we here?
Bobby: We have to make a decision.
Squit: Are we gonna off someone? Are we? Are we?
Pesto: I hope so! I want to cap some ‘caps!
Bobby: No … we’re not capping anyone. We’re here to talk about a deal.
Squit: Why?
Pesto: I still want to pop off a few!
Bobby: Guys! Guys! We’re not in that business anymore! Remember! Those days are behind us! Way behind us! Over a decade ago. Well before Procuri.
Squit: I know, I know. But I’m bored.
Pesto: And I’m anxious!
Bobby: Yes … so let’s get down to business.
Squit: What are we here for today?
Pesto: The usual briefings?
Bobby: No, someone made us an offer.
Squit: An offer?
Pesto: An offer?
Bobby: Yes, an offer … for Procuri.
Squit: How much?
Pesto: How soon?
Bobby: A fairly large amount … in the near future.
Squit: What’s the multiple?
Pesto: Is it what we’d hoped for?
Bobby: Not what we’d hope for … but not bad either. I think we should consider it. We’ve been in this particular game a long time … and I think it’s time that we move on.

Interlude 2: Lights shift to Rita on Stage Left. She starts to sing.

The offer’s been accepted
The goodfeathers have their recompense
But have shareholders been sedated?
And what comes next?

How will industry react?
What will competitors do?
Will anyone take notice?
Will it turn into a media zoo?

Scene 3: The Emptoris Marketing Cage … late Wednesday night. Pinky & the Brain are thinking.

Pinky: Gee, Brain. Ariba’s buying Procuri! Narf! What do we do? Zort?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, try to take over the (sourcing) world!
Pinky: Zoink! But how are we going to do that, Brain? Ariba just hit a home run? Right? Blip!
Brain: FUD!
Pinky: Fud? FUD? Yeah! What’s FUD?
Brain: Fear! Uncertainty! Doubt! We’re going to convince them that Chicken Little was right! That the sky is falling!
Pinky: The sky’s falling? THE SKY’S FALLING!!! HELP!
Brain: Yes, that’s the general idea!
Pinky: We have to take cover! Narf! COVER! Zort!
Pinky! That smarts! WhatchaDothat for, Brain?! Zoink!
Brain: You idiot! The sky’s not falling. We’re just going to convince the dimwitted masses that the sky is falling.
Pinky: So they’ll buy metal umbrellas? I’ve always wanted a shiny metallic umbrella, Brain! Can I have one? Please? Oh Please? Please?
Pinky: Oww! Owowowowow!
Brain: No dipstick! We want them to think that the rug is being pulled out from under them!
Pinky: … but that sounds scary, Brain!
Brain: Yes! And that’s the point! We want them to think that their applications, support, and service are going to disappear over night! They’ll be terrified … and looking for a better answer.
Pinky: An answer? I’d like one of those!
Brain: Yes … and we’ll be that answer! We’ll bombard the media! The only other name they’ll see is ours! We’ll pack it with reassuring messages that only we have an integrated solution! That only we are pure! That only we can support them without a hitch for as long as they need us! And …
Pinky: And …
Brain: That only we’ll give them credit for investments they’ve made in our competitors … that only we will give them up to a year free!
Pinky: I like Free!
Brain: Yes … everyone likes free … but it won’t be … It Won’t Be …
Pinky: So we’ll be – what do you call it … bending the truth again — just like our “one” product is really Zeborg, Intigma, ValueEdge, MindFlow, Dicarta …
  Thwap! Clonk!
Brain: I told you to never speak of that again!
Pinky: Sorry!
Brain: But it will work! It will work! The sheep will panic and run to us! We’ll let them in and count their dollars one million by one million by one million!
Pinky: And then we’ll rule the (sourcing) world? Narf!
Brain: Yes Pinky, then we’ll rule the (sourcing) world!

Epilogue: Lights shift to Slappy at the back of the stage. She places a big red brick in her red purse.

Slappy: Hey writer!
Writer: Yes, Slappy?
Slappy: I have something to say to you.
Writer: Yes, Slappy?
Slappy: Come closer.
Writer: Okay, Slappy?
  Thunk. Slappy slaps the writer in the face with her purse. Hard!
Slappy: That’s for not giving me a part!

Closing: Everyone assembles as a group on center stage.

Yes, we’re the sourcing-maniacs
And we’re zany to the max
We hope you were relaxed
And laughed ’til you collapsed
We’re sourcing-maniacs!

[Wakko & Yakko]
We’re the ‘Riba Brothers
I’m the ‘Riba Sister, Dot
[Wakko, Yakko, Dot]
Just for fun we ran around the corp’rate parking lot
But then got locked in the boardroom after we got caught
But we’ll break loose and then vamoose
It’s our never-ending plot!

We’re sourcing maniacs!
I am cute!
  I like to yak
While Clinton plays the sax
And I’ll collect the tax
We’re sourcing-maniacs!

[Pinky & Brain]
Tonight we will take over the entire sourcing-verse
We’ll always stay together
  I’ll always have my purse
[Rita & Runt]
We had lots of fun
  I sang to you a verse
The writer flipped; we had no script
Why bother to rehearse

We’re sourcing-maniacs!
We have pay-to-play contracts
We’re zany to the max
There’s baloney in our slacks

We’re sourcing-manie,
Totally insaney,

Those are the facts!

“The ‘truthiness’ is, anyone can read the news to you. I promise to feel the news … at you.”
  Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report

P.S. The satirical play above is the last post I’m going to make on this subject. If you’re interested in having this relatively uninteresting and uninnovative piece of news analyzed seven ways from Sunday, please look elsewhere. (Not sure where to look? Just Google. Analyses are everywhere!) This blog is about sourcing innovation, not merger, acquisition, and marketing frenzy. At the end of the day it’s what the solution can do for you, and not who owns it that’s important. Have a good weekend.