Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ariba, Dell Boomi to unveil collaboration enhancements for networked economy at Ariba LIVE conference

Collaboration will take center stage next week when Ariba, an SAP company, holds its Ariba LIVE conference in Washington, DC. In an effort to fuel greater collaboration between companies through new capabilities and network-derived intelligence, Ariba will announce an enhanced set of tools, as well as a joint offering with Dell Boomi.

Leading the list of enhanced Ariba tools are:
  • Ariba Spot Buy. With the integration of Ariba Procure-to-Pay and Ariba Discovery, buyers can quickly discover and qualify new sources of supply for one-off, time-sensitive, or hard-to-find purchases.
  • Ariba Recommendations. Through new services that push network-derived intelligence and community-generated content directly into the context of specific business processes and use cases, companies can make more informed decisions at the point of transaction or activity. “Suppliers You May Like,” for example, helps guide buyers to qualified suppliers based on a host of inputs, including buyer requirements, supplier capabilities and performance ratings, and how often other buyers on the network have awarded business to them.
“Just as consumers tap into personal networks like Facebook, Twitter and to connect with friends and family, share and shop, companies are leveraging digital networks to more efficiently engage with their trading partners and collaborate across the entire commerce process,” said Sanish Mondkar, Ariba Chief Product Officer. “This new, more social and connected way of operating is redefining the way business is done. But it demands a new set of tools and processes that are only possible at scale in a truly networked environment. Ariba is delivering these tools today.”

Spot buys – or unplanned purchases of unique items -- account for more than 40 percent of a company’s total spend. Spot buys are challenging because they require quick turnaround, and buyers generally lack efficient or effective methods to source them. [Disclosure: Ariba and Dell are sponsors of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Selective leveraging

According to independent research firm The Hackett Group, “by selectively leveraging software tools in areas like supplier discovery and online bidding, organizations can reduce the time it takes to find the right suppliers from weeks to days or even hours and drive cost reductions of between two percent and five percent on average.”

Nearly one million selling organizations across more than 20,000 product categories are connected to the Ariba Network. And they have access to the more than 13 million leads worth over $5 billion that are posted each year by more than half of the Global 2000 who are connected to the network as well.
Organizations can reduce the time it takes to find the right suppliers from weeks to days or even hours.

New features added to Ariba Discovery allow selling organizations to get the right messages to the right audience and convert these leads into sales.
  • Profile Pitch. Sellers can create highly targeted profiles and messaging based on industry, commodity, territory and other factors to promote themselves to active buyers. 
  • Badges and Social Sharing. Selling organizations can further raise their visibility by adding Ariba badges to their company websites and/or email signatures, defining vanity URLs for their company profiles and sharing their public URLs and postings on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Pre-packaged integration

Ariba and Dell Boomi will announce that they are teaming to deliver pre-packaged integration as a service offerings to help selling organizations drive new levels of efficiency and effectiveness across their operations.

Designed to simplify and speed integration to the Ariba Network, the Ariba Integration Connector, powered by Dell Boomi Integration Packs, enables companies to collaborate more efficiently and drive game-changing improvements in productivity and performance.  The first connector integrates with Intuit QuickBooks. Additional connectors to enable sellers who own Microsoft Dynamics AX, Netsuite and Sage Peachtree solutions to quickly and easily integrate with the Ariba Network are planned to be released later this year.
From the beginning, the Ariba Network has been built to be an open platform to connect all companies.

“From the beginning, the Ariba Network has been built to be an open platform to connect all companies using any system to foster more efficient business-to-business collaboration,” said Tim Minahan, senior vice president, network strategy, Ariba. “With these new connectors, we are making it even easier for sales organizations of all sizes to fully automate their customer transactions and collaborations over the Ariba Network -- directly from their preferred CRM, ERP and accounting systems.”

The Ariba Integration Connector removes the barriers to system-to-network integration by eliminating complexity.  An out-of-the-box solution delivered as a service, the connector provides a fast, easy and affordable way for companies to connect to the Ariba Network -- regardless of the back-end systems they use. The connector currently supports integration with Intuit QuickBooks Desktop 2009-2013, Premier and Enterprise for US, UK, and CA Enterprise and Enterprise Plus.

The connector is available and in use today. To learn more about Ariba’s Connection solutions and the benefits they can deliver to your organization, visit

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Dell's Foglight for Virtualization update extends visibility and management control across more infrastructure

Dell Software this week delivered Foglight for Virtualization, Enterprise Edition to extend the depth and breadth of managing and optimizing server virtualization as well as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and their joint impact on such IT resources as storage.

Building on the formerly named Quest vFoglight Pro virtualization management solution, Dell re-branded vFoglight to Foglight for Virtualization to make it the core platform to the Foglight family. Foglight is not sitting still either. Improvements this year move beyond monitoring support for VMware View VDI, to later support for VMware vCloud Director, OpenStack, and Citrix Xen VDI. [Disclosure: Dell Software and WMware are sponsors of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

The higher value from such ecosystem and heterogeneous management support is the ability for virtualization server and system administrators to comprehensively optimize various flavors of data-center server virtualization, as well as the major VDI types, with added capabilities to track and analyze performance from the application level all the way to the server and storage hardware level. This week's announcements have also shown a spotlight on the recently updated Foglight for Storage Management 2.5.
Dell is showing its commitment to offering a  solution that encompasses all aspects of virtual infrastructure performance monitoring and management.

“With Foglight for Virtualization, Enterprise Edition, Dell is showing its commitment to offering a  solution that encompasses all aspects of virtual infrastructure performance monitoring and management, built on a platform that can scale as the infrastructure grows,” said Steve Rosenberg, general manager for Performance Monitoring, Dell. “This new release expands Foglight’s ability not only to monitor the additional infrastructure area of VDI, but also to correlate metrics from VDI with performance for applications, the virtual layer, the network, and underlying servers and storage.”

Dell Software also last week released a series of BYOD-targeted products and services, which are related to the better VDI management capabilities. That's because many enterprises and mid-market firms that are tasked with moving quickly to BYOD are using VDI to do it.

With the increasing adoption of VMware View in virtualized data centers (including for MSPs), VDI support is fast becoming a mainstay for today’s IT departments and managed service providers. VDI and server virtual machines (VMs) often utilize the same hardware components. Yet, both of these virtualized infrastructures serve different users and have separate requirements and resource demands, explained John Maxwell, vice president of product management for performance monitoring for virtualization, networking,storage and hardware at Dell Software.

Single-source solution 

As a result, VDI and server VMs require dedicated performance monitoring systems. However, these systems must also be connected, because so many underlying resources are often shared. Agent-based Foglight for Virtualization, Enterprise Edition offers virtualization administrators a more single-source solution that not only identifies and fixes performance issues within VMware View, but continues to run all features available in vOPS Server Enterprise with no effect on overall vCenter performance.

Foglight for Storage Management 2.5 has been released as an optional "cartridge" to Foglight for Virtualization. Foglight for Storage Management now offers physical storage performance reporting in addition to virtual reporting, providing customers with complete "VM to physical LUN" visibility. 

Additional enhancements in this release include LUN latency reporting, NPIV support, and the ability for customers to purchase the product either as a stand-alone cartridge, or as an optional cartridge to Foglight for Virtualization.
This new release expands Foglight’s ability to monitor the additional infrastructure area of VDI.

Additionally, Foglight is a unified performance monitoring platform that allows individual product solutions, delivered as sets of pluggable “cartridges,” to run stand-alone or to interoperate. Each individual product delivers best-of-breed functionality to the admin for that area, while simultaneously integrating with other cartridges to deliver true end-to-end monitoring from end-user experience to the underlying storage and server hardware layers, and everything in between, said Maxwell.

Foglight for Virtualization Enterprise Edition 6.8 is available now for a 45-day trial from Pricing starts at $799 per socket. Foglight for Storage Management 2.5 is also available now for a 45-day trial from  Pricing starts at $499 per socket.

Because Foglight is built on a common architecture to support the cartridges, it seems likely that it will move from an on-premises only offering to a SaaS-based version too, especially to support cloud- and MSP-based VDI offerings, and also to manage hybrid VDI implementations.

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