Company: TIBCOCustomer: SingleSourceITSubmitted by: Write Image LtdDate: August 2000Randy Wilcox, CEO of SingleSourceIT had a vision: simple, one-stop sourcing for the information technology needs of Global 2000 companies.Current IT purchasing processes presented both the challenge and the opportunity for SingleSourceIT. Without an intermediary like SingleSourceIT, a purchase order that includes equipment from several vendors requires buyers to deal with each vendor individually.

For example, a purchase order that includes servers from Compaq, laptops from IBM, and routers from Cisco will generate three separate orders. Each order must be issued, tracked, and fulfilled on the back-end, and as the buyer receives equipment from individual vendors, those shipments must be reconciled with the original requisition.As Wilcox explains, “We wanted to create a series of electronic purchase orders from a single requisition without manually tearing it apart, and later reconcile the multiple shipments to that requisition without manually assembling them.

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“Thus, a key challenge posed by SingleSourceIT to TIBCO Software was the automation of the end-to-end IT procurement process. While SingleSourceIT had domain knowledge of IT supply chain processes, it lacked the technical prowess to implement those business processes in an e-business infrastructure. “We could write our own custom software, but it probably wouldn’t scale and absolutely would not be dynamically extensible,” notes Wilcox. “After a year we’d wind up trashing it because it wouldn’t support our growth.”

The TIBCO Solution

Using TIBCO’s business-to-business (B2B) solutions, SingleSourceIT has created a B2B hub for Global 2000 customers to source, facilitate, fulfill, transact, and reconcile their IT supply chain from a single source.

TIBCO’s solution automates the buyer-seller business processes that SingleSourceIT intermediates. In addition to automating SingleSourceIT’s cross-company business processes, TIBCO’s solution also integrates an array of best-of-breed e-business and back-office applications, and value-added business services such as fulfillment, financing, asset and risk management. Buyers in the SingleSourceIT B2B ecosystem benefit by having a single, web-based point of purchase for all of their IT needs. Sellers benefit by expanding their marketing reach while reducing process costs over the entire IT lifecycle, from order placement to fulfillment and back-end reconciliation.

The TIBCO Value Proposition

Time-To-Revenue: TIBCO enabled SingleSourceIT to take its solution from concept to deployment in just 12 weeks. Rapid time-to-market was a huge advantage of the TIBCO solution.

With its first-mover advantage, SingleSourceIT has set the pace for one-stop IT sourcing.Real-time B2B Integration: TIBCO allows SingleSourceIT to establish a service that stands apart from its B2B competitors. Wilcox explains, “TIBCO is the value-added differentiator that separates us from all of the other B2B eMarketplaces. Our philosophy is that we don’t want to be an exchange, and we don’t want to be a market maker. We want to be a workflow engine that reduces the cost of a transaction, not the cost of the product. The SingleSourceIT value proposition is uninterrupted workflow—from the customer’s front-office system through the supply chain and then back into the customer’s back-office system—for fluid electronic transmission of the order process.

TIBCO lets us provide e-procurement to e-fulfillment and reconciliation.”

Connecting Disparate Systems

A key enabler of B2B integration is the ability to connect disparate enterprise systems and software at customer and partner sites. To this end, SingleSourceIT has used TIBCO’s TIB/Adapters for enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems such as SAP, PeopleSoft, Baan and Oracle, and created new adapters for proprietary legacy systems using TIBCO’s TIB/Adapter SDK (Software Development Kit).

Connecting a World of Divisions

According to Wilcox, a typical SingleSourceIT marketplace participant has an ERP back-office system, a proprietary legacy purchasing system, and a proprietary accounts payable system, all of which support IT buying. Often companies involved in asset management have a third proprietary application.

Even companies that have standardized on a single ERP platform face the problem of real-time integration between these systems. Because SingleSourceIT is based on TIBCO technology, they can support different company divisions running on different systems separately. For example, one SingleSourceIT customer has eleven divisions worldwide.While this customer has standardized on Oracle Financials across all eleven divisions, each division has a slightly different implementation of the software. As a result, the company’s financial systems cannot communicate from one division to the next so there is no way to automatically consolidate IT purchases, information and histories.

However, SingleSourceIT solves this by working with all of the divisions separately thanks to TIBCO.Business Process Automation: Using the TIBCO ActiveEnterprise product suite, SingleSourceIT has the ability to constantly tune business process flows to meet the evolving relationships between buyers and sellers.Scalability and Extensibility: TIBCO’s technology allows SingleSourceIT to easily add new customers, suppliers and business services. Wilcox comments, “SingleSourceIT has already signed twenty plus Fortune 500 accounts. We’ll double that number by August. We go in to these organizations as a pilot to understand their workflow processes.

After we prove our value in the pilot, we bring on more divisions within that organization, penetrating farther into the company as more divisions recognize our value. That recipe is driving explosive growth and our TIBCO infrastructure can handle this growth effortlessly.”


The SingleSourceIT sourcing service comprises solutions from all of TIBCO’s product suites—TIBCO ActiveEnterprise, TIBCO ActiveExchange and TIBCO ActivePortal. Working together, TIBCO’s solutions create a real-time, e-business infrastructure with unsurpassed scalability, flexibility and extensibility.

Future Plans

SingleSourceIT will continue to enhance its value proposition to buyers and sellers by rapidly adding more business services that complement purchase transactions and provide incremental benefits to end-users. While current purchase transactions are RFP/RFQ based, other market-making mechanisms such as auctions can be added in the future.

Whatever the future holds, TIBCO’s B2B infrastructure will support SingleSourceIT’s needs.