The electronic data interchange concept that many bankers have been struggling with for years may get a challenge or a boost-depending on one's point of view-from an alliance taking shape in Silicon Valley.

Ariba Technologies Inc., a fast-moving young company with a highly touted system for automating corporate purchasing functions, has hooked up with several other organizations to create what it calls "the first open end-to-end enterprise solution that integrates and automates all the processes" from order request to payment.

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