The U.S. Department of Defense on Thursday said it has selected software integration maker webMethods to help expand its EMall electronic marketplace by connecting with more vendors as well as with commercial marketplaces used by corporations.
Under the agreement, webMethods technology will be used as on-and-off ramps to the three-year-old electronic marketplace as well as to other marketplaces.
"This is allowing EMall to give its customer base much broader access to commercial goods than they had before," said Jeff Schwartzman, business development manager for the webMethods Public Sector Group.
WebMethods and the Defense Department declined to disclose the amount of the deal. The EMall project also uses Ariba technology to form a commercial-looking marketplace and allow users to connect to Ariba's online trading network, Commerce Services Network.
"We partnered with Ariba so we could get access through their technology to other Web sites where product presentation is important," said Gabrielle Zimmerman, EMall's deputy program manager. "We chose webMethods because they're a leader in the industry for making sure different Web sites can talk to each other and work well with each other." The EMall allows authorized U.S. government employees to purchase software, hardware, photographic and lighting supplies, food supplies, clothing, cleaning and maintenance supplies, reutilized department equipment, batteries, nautical items, packing materials, repair parts and other items online.
The project with webMethods also will allow it to expand to the vast number of commercial online vendors and marketplaces that companies such as Staples operate, as well as industry marketplaces such as the aerospace exchange Exostar.
Online marketplaces are intended to eliminate the need for paper as well as save employees time by eliminating the need for phone calls, purchase orders and faxes.
In addition, the technology will enable users to search for goods through the department's other marketplaces such as the planned A-Mart, the U.S. Army's marketplace. Users also will be able to search through the department's vast network of depots and warehouses for goods the government already may own.
"The objective is to serve as both a marketplace and a portal," Zimmerman said.
The Defense Department has 2 million stock numbers representing various items in its warehouses, she said.
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