Financial software vendor Coda, which was sold by Baan last month, has launched an e-procurement module aimed at linking front-office applications with the back-office financial engine.
The module is scheduled for phased release between June and September, and the first product will manage the requisitions that start the order process generated from e-procurement systems. It allows the user to publish online tenders, solicit quotations, raise and submit requisitions, and make online purchase authorisations.
The second product will be the online ordering and goods receiving functions, and the third will provide the ability to tie the transactions together, with commitment accounting being the early accounting focus. This last function is seen as critical in those environments where the procurement spend is either project based or tied to strict budgeting requirements. Coda reports having three customers in beta test today.
Jeremy Roche, Coda's president of research and development, said: "This module is part of a developing suite that today is focused on the buy side of the transaction."
The applications are engineered around a Java applications server, with an XML layer to provide data integration. This is part of a long-term strategy to move the Coda applications onto an internet architecture.
Coda is seeing interest from customers that need to integrate to other procurement systems. "We are talking about integrating this to Ariba and Infobank on behalf of a customer at the moment," said Roche, adding that a number of partnering opportunities have arisen since Science Systems acquired Coda, but that these are in the investigative stage at the moment.
The new module is not competitive to existing solutions, because it is aimed at managing the accounting functions that sit behind a procurement package of the kind Ariba or CommerceOne sells.
Another Coda initiative centres on creating private trading exchanges for its existing customers. "Some industries don't want to let their users loose on portals. They want a private catalogue posting mechanism so that transactions can be managed," said Dave Turner, Coda's international marketing manager.
Coda's announcement of an e-procurement module could hardly have been better timed. Although the company has a solid reputation in the enterprise level financial software market, its recent history has been so closely tied to that of Baan's that its development effort was almost lost.
Today, Coda has a clean financial sheet bolstered by £11.5m left over from the acquisition funds which Science Systems raised in a share placing that was five times over subscribed.
Asked to comment on Coda's ability to move forward in a market that analysts see as unfashionable, Roche said: "There's always room for innovation where that removes integration pain. We've been careful to ensure we develop with openness in mind, and are more than covering costs from revenues generated."
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