The Sourcing Maniacs 2008 Vendor Tour Part I: Aravo

[Wakko, Yakko, & Dot] We are the 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
[Dot] And the ‘Riba Sister, Dot
[Wakko, Yakko, & Dot] Just for fun we ran around the corp’rate parking lot
They locked us in the boardroom whenever we got caught
But let us loose from the caboose
And now you know the plot!

When we last heard from the Sourcing Maniacs, shortly after the acquisition of Procuri by Ariba, Chicken Boo had just fired all three of them. Confused and hungry, the ‘Ribas began marching northward from the Ariba corporate headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA, on their grand adventure to find a new job. They vowed to visit every sourcing company from Aravo to Zycus, if necessary, in their quest to find a new company to whom they could provide their maniacal insight. I’m sorry to report that, unlike Pinky and the Brain (who have been quiet for quite some time now), the Sourcing Maniacs are still unemployed, but I’m happy to report that they are willing to share with the readers of this blog some of the insights they acquired in their 2008 Vendor Tour. So sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Yakko We went to see Aravo
The wizards of 2Sustain
Dot We went with lots of gustavo
As far as we could ascertain
Wakko We heard that they were masters of SIM
so we challenged them to a duel
But it turns out SIM’s short for “Supplier Information Management”
Not SIM City
   and again I played the fool!
Yakko So we asked for an explanation
Of why we needed SIM
Wakko And what it could do
That we couldn’t do with Vim
Dot And then sat down to listen
Wakko Which we do so rar-i-ly
Dot As Aravo’s chaps, all dressed in chaps
Spun a tale of data transparency
Yakko This is Yakko’s summary of the Aravo story, edited by the doctor

In the beginning there was the web. It was a wild, wild frontier where data could roam free. A virtual gold-mine, enterprise software companies staked their claim and started to build ranches to corral the data. Some of these companies, like Peoplesoft, Oracle, and SAP were successful in their efforts. Furthermore, not only could they corral the data, but they could send it through pipes from buyers to suppliers. Business-to-Business was born.

Things were good in the beginning, but then the data started to mix, and like Fibonacci’s rabbits, it started to multiply out of control! More and more systems were installed to try and manage the data, but all this did was help the data spread like wildfire until, like the tribbles, it had overtaken every nook and cranny of every enterprise. Although this was a boon for BI systems that needed massive amounts of data to justify their existence, it was a bane to overworked IT administrators who couldn’t swap the backup tapes fast enough. It was an even bigger headache for supply chain professionals who couldn’t get a complete picture of what was being supplied by whom, or when it was coming. This deeply impacted their ability to strategically shape the supply chain.

This wasn’t too bad in the beginning, when oil was cheap, prices were dropping, and the boom look liked it would never end, but then the globalization backlash reared its ugly head. Oil and commodity prices went through the roof, financial markets started crashing, and quality issues became rampant as contaminated toothpaste, salmonella spinach, and lead-paint toys hit stores nationwide. Was your supplier still around? Would it be around tomorrow? Was its quality control adequate? Was it still the right supplier for you? All of these questions became front and center, and couldn’t be answered without insight into all of the relvant data surrounding the supplier … data that, traditionally, was spread across multiple systems inside and outside the enterprise.

Enter SIM. A SIM platform collects all of your data from all of your systems in one place, and lets you view, query, and manage all of your data on a single supplier from a single screen. How much business did you do? What did you buy? Where was it shipped from? Where did it go to? What QA processes were employed? And is the supplier current with their certifications and licenses? All of these questions can quickly and easily be answered with a SIM platform. And more importantly, it can be used as the foundation for supplier improvement and sustainability initiatives, because all of the data needed to launch and track such initiatives is at your fingertips.

Yakko So all your data in one place
Wakko Helps keep the egg off your face
Dot And helps you make a solid plan
Of who to keep and who to can
Yakko It’s pretty cool, but I have to say
Dot Their wordiness gets in the way
Wakko From a thought that should be as simple and pure
As combining your PB&J spend when you procure!
Dot SIM’s just meta-data management
with a flexible UI
Yakko It shouldn’t be that difficult
Wakko or pie in the sky
Dot But you need the right framework
baked in at the core
Yakko Otherwise you’ll never realize
Wakko that it’s not just meta-data, it’s more.

And Aravo was just the first stop on the Sourcing Maniacs’ journey. Stay tuned for more!