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November 3, 1999

Computacenter Takes on Ariba and CommerceOne

By CBR Staff Writer

Computacenter Plc, the UK-based computer reseller and IT services provider, has rebranded its On-Trac IT hardware procurement software in a move to expand its customer base. Together with systems integrator Computasoft Consulting, the two London firms have launched Biomni, business to business online procurement software that enables customers to buy more than Computacenter’s usual technology.

The move will bring Biomni into direct competition with major US internet players Ariba Inc and CommerceOne Inc in the online business to business sales market, but the British firm is confident that it will compete strongly. Biomni’s strength is its user base and it will target Computacenter’s 500 European customers who use On-Trac to buy computer equipment to persuade them to procure food, clothing, and office supplies with its software. It believes this will give it a flying start while Californian rivals, Walnut Creek-based CommerceOne and Sunnyvale-based Ariba, struggle for European customers.

The software comes in three packages, client software Directa that enables customers to browse and buy from suppliers’ catalogs. It is integrated into SAP’s R/3 back-end system, although the company promises to develop standard connnectivity to Oracle Financials, PeopleSoft and Baan enterprise resource planning systems. Suppliers post their catalogs online via the Connecta software, based in Biomni’s London base, while Provida is designed for firms who don’t have ERP systems and can manage their inventories and order books online.

Although Connecta and Provida will be free for suppliers, Biomni will take a fee from the supplier of less than a pound ($1.60) per order, and make money from the client software with license fees of around 100 pounds per seat for enterprise customers with over 3,000 users.

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