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IBM and E-procurement specialist MarketMile LLC are teaming to make it easier for small and midsize businesses to access electronic procurement services. IBM will add MarketMile's procurement portal to its Leveraged Procurement Service offerings, until now aimed mostly at large enterprises.
MarketMile, a private company funded in part by American Express Co., offers hosted, customized versions of Ariba Inc.'s electronic procurement application. Users can order everything from office supplies to maintenance and repair services from vendors that participate in the MarketMile network. MarketMile will also help integrate a company's existing trading partners into the network.
MarketMile's network includes more than 60 suppliers of business-to business software and services. Beyond dealing directly with their own suppliers, companies can also save money by participating in bulk purchasing programs with other businesses. American Express Corporate Management Services clients can also integrate their applications into the system to automate tasks such as purchasing and account reconciliation.
IBM officials readily concede that the small and midsize business market represents key territory for the growth-challenged company. Says Peter Rowley, general manager of IBM Global Business Partners, "It's a must-win battle."