Have you heard of RightWorks? If you haven’t, you will soon.

The San Jose, CA-based e-procurement vendor is gaining ground, but it must overcome a serious marketing challenge to compete for Global 2000 clients: how to get its product mentioned in the same breath as the two e-procurement juggernauts, Ariba, and Commerce One.

“You can have the best system, but if you can’t market it and get the world to know about it, you are going to give all of the “at bats” to Ariba and Commerce One. There’s a huge marketing challenge there,” said Bruce Richardson, senior vice president of research at AMR Research.

Becoming the number three e-procurement company
“We don’t really see Commerce One as a much of a competitor, because their business model is very different than RightWorks’,” said recently appointed CEO Mary Coleman. “They [Commerce One] are more focused on building out a proprietary global trading network where their business model tends to be more transaction fee-oriented.” RightWorks’ business model is closer to a software company’s, said Coleman.

“I think the challenge for Mary is positioning RightWorks. It is similar to the problem of the number-three car company, the one behind Hertz and Avis,” said Richardson. “Right now, you have Ariba as the leader in the space, followed by Commerce One. You have other companies, such as Clarus, nibbling at different parts of the market. I think the primary challenge for RightWorks is to get mentioned in the same breath as Ariba and Commerce One.”

Heather Ashton, director of electronic business strategies at Hurwitz Group, agreed. “In terms of head-to-head competition, RightWorks needs to bring some unique functionality to the table to win business from Ariba and Commerce One. I think that RightWorks’ concept of global spend-management is in the right direction.”
RightWorks Corporation is a partner company in the Internet Capital Group (ICG) network, providing e-business applications. Founded in 1996, RightWorks is a privately held company backed by ICG and Sequoia Capital. RightWorks has more than 250 employees. Before taking the top spot at RightWorks, Mary Coleman was CEO of the ERP vendor Baan.
Penetrating the Global 2000
“We are focusing on the Global 2000 [companies] and helping the Global 2000 with global-spend management through our procurement software (which can go on everyone’s desk), as well as our ability to help the global enterprise spread from the desktop e-procurement application to running their own private exchange and participating in other public exchanges,” said Coleman.

“The application can help companies manage their total global-spend at the corporate level,” said Coleman. “For example, an organization might negotiate ahead of time a large IT contract for equipment and services, and then be able to pass that down to their subsidiaries so they can take advantage of that better pricing.”

  • RightWorks eProcurement manages the procurement process from requisition to settlement.
  • RightWorks eMarketplace enables companies to personalize and streamline business processes unique to each group within an organization while maintaining centralized analytics.
  • RightWorks Global Commerce Intelligence provides online analytical processing (OLAP) tools to business strategists.
  • RightWorks Universal Content Manager offers a scalable content server that allows users to match Web site content with business requirements.
  • RightWorks Open Commerce Network provides a horizontal, digital exchange and portal that aggregates content and acts as a single point of contact for network participants.
  • RightWorks RightNow enables rapid implementation of RightWorks eBusiness Applications Suite by using a particular methodology.

How does RightWorks technology stack up?
“The technology [of RightWorks] does stack up against Ariba and Commerce One. The problem with functionality in this space is that it is difficult to have a lead because the market is so competitive, and every player wants to have a similar footprint,” said Richardson. “The number one response to us from RightWorks users or partners, especially those that have gone ‘under the hood’ of the product, is the ability to run the same software worldwide.”

Richardson said that two features of the globalization are the ability to run multiple instances of the software, and its multilingual capability.

Ashton noted that RightWorks currently focuses on the internal procurement processes, such as categorizing, spending, and tracking budgets enterprise-wide, whereas Ariba and Commerce One are leaving this area behind and moving towards providing commerce services.