When it comes to staying ahead of the technology curve, Hewlett-Packard (HP) has always been a pioneer. With this same spirit of innovation, the KeyChain project approached the integration of HP's direct materials procurement system. KeyChain, HP's private trading exchange or e-marketplace for procuring direct manufacturing materials across all business units, was designed to streamline procurement with three goals: decrease the cost of supply, increase assurance that manufacturing material needs are met and create better trading partner relationships.

The strategic intent behind KeyChain is to optimize internal and external systems and to improve process automation in a consistent way across multiple business units. Because the KeyChain initiative centers on connecting business units systematically via the Web, it required normalizing business processes across all of the separate business units. HP's four vertical business units (Imaging and Printing, Personal Systems, Enterprise Solutions, and Services) are responsible for interacting with HP customers. HP Global Operations is responsible for managing processes such as supply chain and product data management across these different business units in a uniform manner.

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