BCE Emergis acquires Canadian software developer

In a bid to strengthen its B2B online exchange portfolio, Montreal-based BCE Emergis said it is buying an Oakville, Ont.-based procurement specialist.

A subsidiary of Toronto Internet services provider Cyberplex Inc., ProCure.com is a software developer that allows suppliers to connect to e-marketplaces without having to undergo extensive back-end systems or process changes. Its roster of customers already includes Canada Post, Dell Canada and Ericsson Canada.

According to Emergis, the technology and expertise acquired from ProCure.com will enrich the release of its procurement gateway, the BCE Emergis Enabled Marketplace 2.0 solution, announced in May.

Jordan Kendall, a Toronto-based analyst with Forrester Research Inc., said today’s e-marketplaces usually run on unique systems designed by buyers that require extensive customization for suppliers. “Proprietary interface is the single biggest barrier for online B2B development,” he said. Kendall added that the more customized the e-marketplace software, the more expensive it is for new suppliers to join the online trading circle – providing an effective deterrent to join in the first place – and worsens an environment currently dominated by buyers.

Sylvia Morin, a spokesperson with BCE, said ProCure.com has a different vision. “ProCure.com had an interesting tech platform that was very supplier-centric,” she said. “What ProCure.com was developing was to really serve a supplier’s needs.”

“It’s acts kind of like a hub that moves data around,” said Dean Hopkins, president and CEO of Cyberplex, which was what BCE was looking for. “Most of their solutions were based on the Ariba platform,” said Hopkins. “They realised that they needed to extend their platform to handle different marketplace platforms.” Hopkins said BCE has the financial backing and strategy to make ProCure.com a success.

The deal, in which BCE has picked up all 43 of ProCure.com’s employees and assets for $5.86 million, was completed on July 6.

BCE Emergis in Montreal is at http://www.emergis.com. Cyberplex Inc. in Toronto is at http://www.cyberplex.com. ProCure.com is at http://www.procure.com. Forrester Research Inc. is at http://www.forrester.com.