Ariba PunchOut: What you need to know

By CorexpandCX on September 16, 2011

Ariba is the maker of an eprocurement system that many large companies, organizations, governments, and universities use to manage their spend management and purchasing processes.

Some organizations, such as Fortune 500 companies or large government entities, purchases their goods and services exclusively through these systems. That means that if you want to do business with them as a vendor or supplier, you must have the ability to connect to their system through either a “hosted” or “PunchOut catalog”.

Because most buyers prefer PunchOut catalogs due to the more user-friendly buying experience, it makes sense to make your offerings PunchOut ready (PunchOut enabled). That is, if doing business with multiple large clients makes good business sense for you.

What is a PunchOut catalog?

A PunchOut Catalog is an ecommerce solution for presenting and managing your products within a buyer’s eprocurement system.  The term, “punchout” is derived from the action the system takes to access your online catalog.

Using protocols defined by eprocurement systems like Ariba, Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft, SciQuest (and others), you create an online catalog specific to each organization.  The buyer can then browse their eprocurement system and find a link to your punchout catalog. When they select it , they “punch out” to your PunchOut catalog site that has products and prices unique to them.

Punchout catalogs are also referred to as CXML PunchOuts, punchout websites, punchout sites, and punchout enabled online catalogs.

Ariba buyers prefer punchout catalogs

How does PunchOut eCommerce work?
PunchOut eCommerce


5 Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Your PunchOut Catalogs

      1. Not all clients who use Ariba accept punchout catalogs. But, due to recent advances and improvements to the technology and increasing education and awareness, this is changing rapidly.  If you have approached prospects or clients in the past who rejected the idea, check with them again to see if they now accept PunchOut catalogs.
      2. Once you’re PunchOut enabled, be sure to promote your new capabilities.  For new prospects, you can include that information in RFQs, RFPs, and bids. For current customers who use eprocurement, tell your buyer representatives that you can make it easier for them to buy your products from within their system.
      3. The greatest advantage of your PunchOut catalog is your ability to customize the experience to your customers needs. Although your client is using Ariba as a tool, they’re still buying directly from you according to your specific agreement.Therefore, when it comes to a technology partner, CoreXpand offers the best solutions to ensure you have the flexibility and adaptability to meet your customers’ needs.Here’s how CoreXpand’s PunchOut CX, the world’s first and only multi-purpose PunchOut system, gives you and your customers what they need:
        • You need the ability to adjust/control the pricing for each customer specific PunchOut catalog you have. This is particularly important for contract compliance, as well as your customers’ satisfaction and peace of mind.
        • That same capability also applies to the products you offer in each punchout catalog (for contract compliance). Many agreements or contracts won’t require your entire product catalog. So you can quickly and easily adapt your catalogs to suit each customer.
        • Finally you also want to have the flexibility to adjust the look and feel of the user experience, as well as the functionality. You can design your PunchOut catalog layout (categories, user functions, etc.) so that it fits the buyers’ preferred processes and work flows (not just what you think makes sense).
      4. There are three types of connection levels to Ariba:
        • Hosted Catalog (also known as a vendor catalog or CIF catalog)
          A CIF catalog (catalog interchange format), is an uploaded catalog to the Ariba system that lists the basic information about your products. This appears in eprocurement systems like Ariba a plain, line item catalog. CIF or hosted catalogs are much more labor intensive to update, such as when an item is discontinued or a price changes.Also, you can’t control how your products are presented (pictures, detailed descriptions, etc.), or market to the buyers with special promotions or featured items.
        • Level 1 Ariba PunchOut (also known as a cxml punchout)
          A cxml punchout catalog is the basic form of a PunchOut catalog as describe above in the “how does PunchOut eCommerce work?” graphic above. There is backend communication between the your PunchOut Catalog and the eprocurement system that processes an order quickly, easily, and accurately. When the buyer searches their system for a  product, your link to your PunchOut Catalog shows up.
        • Level 2 Ariba PunchOut
          Level 2 Punchout for Ariba is a combination of a CIF catalog and a cxml PunchOut catalog.  It allows your buyer to search their eprocurement system and see line item results and then link out to your the Punchout Catalog when they want to see more.  This is the preferred method by most buyers using Ariba.
      5. The fifth and final tip… don’t put it off. In today’s competitive market, technology is making more of a difference than ever in vendor or supplier success. Buyers no longer want to waste time finding what they need. The vendors that can supply a customized solution as an added value to their products are going to keep the loyal customers.As a supplier you have to be proactive and reach out to your prospects and customers. Not  sure where to start? You can get a free PunchOut analysis with a seasoned PunchOut expert. These conversation will help you identify how to best use this capability in your specific situation.


How does CoreXpand’s system help you master PunchOut ecommerce ?

Each punchout you create is specific to your client. Some of your buyers may use Ariba. Others may use SAP or PeopleSoft.  The CoreXpand Adaptable Commerce Engine (ACE) technology behind PunchOutCX allows you to enter your ecommerce data in once and then generate as many different PunchOut catalogs – with as many different protocols – as you want.

PunchOutCX also let’s you change/update the products, pricing and functionality according to each customers specific requirements.

This makes is easier to manage and faster to implement each time you need to create a PunchOut connection.


Ariba Punchout Catalog

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