RightWorks aims to exploit e-biz

By Bob Brown, Network World |  Business

RightWorks Corp. President Jeff Carr has big plans for the San Jose, California provider of e-procurement and business exchange software, which later this month plans to air Version 7.0 of its software and later this year might even brave the IPO (initial public offering) waters if they get any friendlier. Carr and the rest of the team leading RightWorks' 400-person operation also aim to make the company one of the top two or three players in what he describes as a wide-open e-business software market. Carr spoke recently with Network World Executive News Editor Bob Brown.

NWW: Ariba Inc. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Keith Krach recently told me that his company doesn't see much of RightWorks in the field. Are you surprised he'd say that?

Carr: His sales organization clearly knows who we are. One of the things this [observation] points out is that Ariba, Oracle Corp., Commerce One Inc. and i2 Technologies Inc. all tend to migrate to the extreme high end of the marketplace. While we would not mind winning one or two of the big, high-publicity global exchanges, we're focused on the rest of the market -- private exchanges and, to some extent, the small and medium enterprise marketplace . . . Those big public exchange deals just suck the life force out of you in terms of resources.

NWW: What's your take on the state of the public e-marketplace industry?

Carr: These public marketplaces have dozens of challenges. Covisint [the automotive industry exchange], for example, is still looking for a CEO. When you pull businesses together that have traditionally competed, they want to share some data, but in terms of getting real traction in many cases, they're just up against a major uphill climb. Some will be successful just by sheer force of will. Meanwhile, a lot of companies that join these exchanges are still looking to build one or more private exchanges.

NWW: And that's where RightWorks comes in?

Carr: Any time we see an announcement of a public marketplace, we do two things. We go to each member of that exchange and look for an opportunity for a private marketplace that we could help them get up in a matter of months so they could show internal management a quick set of results. The other thing we do is approach the industry players that have not joined the public exchanges.

NWW: How does RightWorks' business break down?

Carr: We're at a 60 percent/40 percent zone in terms of business from e-procurement inside the firewall vs. marketplace/exchange/outside-the-firewall type of opportunities. That's a shift from 60 percent/40 percent the other way from last summer. We've also migrated much more to the Global 2000 from the dot-coms and market makers.

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