Open Ratings Expands Its Scope

Uses acquisitions to expand predictive performance offering

Boston  January 9, 2002  Open Ratings this week announced an expanded strategy and product suite, as well as two new acquisitions.

The provider, which offers solutions for rating and predicting supplier performance, rolled out EPImpact (Enterprise Performance Impact), software that includes components for sharing supplier performance and other purchasing- and sourcing-related information across the enterprise and for tracking a company's overall strategy and rating business unit compliance with that strategy.

The components are called, respectively, BPImpact (Buyer Performance Impact) and SPImpact (Strategic Performance Impact).

Open Ratings says that the new solution leverages the providers predictive analytical capabilities to allow companies to proactively manage and mitigate risk and total cost of ownership amongst their internal and external suppliers. "EPImpact supports an inherent corporate desire to cut costs and mitigate risk, both internally and externally, to as great an extent as possible," said Stan Smith, president and CEO of Open Ratings.

The expanded product offering is a direct result of two acquisitions. Open Ratings announced this week that it had acquired key assets and intellectual property from two companies, Woburn, Mass.-based Tradeffect, a strategic sourcing software provider, and Gentia UK & PLC, during the fourth quarter of 2001. Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Open Ratings picked up Tradeffect's software, known as IMPACT, and other intellectual property. IMPACT provided functional enhancements to Open Ratings' EPImpact. Specifically, as part of the BPImpact offering, the Tradeffect solution helps procurement professionals manage the sharing of knowledge about suppliers, materials/commodities, company policies and sourcing strategies across the enterprise. This information can assist supply chain organizations in addressing cost reduction, new product introduction, outsourcing, risk management, and performance enhancement objectives, according to the solution provider.

"Customers utilizing our software were consistently asking us how they could accrue the benefits of predictive supplier management," said Smith. "The acquisition of Tradeffect's software allows us to not only help our customers identify reductions in total cost of ownership and risk mitigation opportunities in their supply bases, but how they should go about achieving the benefits associated with doing so."

Customers already utilizing BPImpact include Ingram Micro, Kayem Foods and Pitney Bowes.

"BPImpact will allow us greater visibility into the sourcing practices of our supply chain, giving us greater control and leverage with our suppliers," said Ray Hill, vice president for product supply at Pitney Bowes.

Meanwhile, Gentia's product set, including its Balanced Scorecard application, became part of SPImpact. Open Ratings said that the Gentia software provides a seamless, integrated view of an organization's strategy, the performance of all business units/divisions against that strategy and a detailed analysis of the metrics surrounding the strategy, with the end result being a set of historical and predictive analytics for senior executive decision-making.

"The acquisition of Gentia's market-leading software allows us to not only expand the power and functionality of BPImpact, but our concept of predictive performance management to a company's internal suppliers and strategic objectives as well," Smith said.

Customers currently utilizing SPImpact include Motorola, Fortis, Volvo, Swiss RE and Credit Suisse First Boston.

"The transparency provided by the Open Ratings SPImpact solution with regard to profitability, both on the customer and product level, will enhance our capability to focus on the best opportunities to sell our products," said Fritz Klein, a managing director at Credit Suisse First Boston. "SPImpact combines the vision of today's information needs with a pragmatic approach that allows companies to better understand their performance by monitoring activities that drive product and organizational profitability."

As part of these acquisitions, Open Ratings will expand its U.S.-based operations, taking advantage of an established international sales and support network, along with development offices, outside of London and Tel Aviv.