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Enhanced Penn Marketplace: January 5

Ben Buys logoAn enhanced version of the Penn Marketplace, the University's online buying exchange, will be available to all users of the BEN Buys purchasing system on Monday, January 5, 2004. The Marketplace will have a new look and offer new features such as "individual" and "University" favorites lists, new "quick order" functionality, enhanced search tools, and online configuration capability for researchers who would like to locate products containing specific chemical structures.

The enhanced Marketplace will feature a significantly larger number of items. More than 3 million products and services from over 70 of the most commonly used University suppliers will be available to provide traditional hosted content or new "punch-out" functionality enabling users to link (or "punch out") to specific Penn contract supplier web sites to shop. Dell, CDW Government, and Newark InOne are among the suppliers with sites to which it will be possible to "punch out."  

A complete list of participating Penn Marketplace suppliers is available in the Purchasing Services web site at

Purchasing During the Upgrade: The Penn Marketplace will be unavailable between December 31 and January 4, 2004.  Note:  Due to the New Year's holiday, BEN Financials will also be unavailable on January 1.  On December 31, January 2, and January 3, users will be able to satisfy their procurement requirements by "free-forming" their orders within BEN Buys. Departments should order critical items prior to the break to ensure that they do not run out. However, Purchasing Services staff will be available during the break to assist faculty and staff as required.  Winter break coverage days and hours are posted on the Purchasing Services web site at

User Preparations: In preparation for the launch of the enhanced Penn Marketplace, all BEN Buys users must:

  • Complete mandatory online training by December 18 in order to access the Penn Marketplace on January 5, 2004.  The turnaround time to re-enable Marketplace access next year (once the training requirement has been satisfied) cannot be guaranteed for users who do not complete the online training by the December 18 deadline.
  • Use one of the following web browsers to complete the training:  Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0 SP1 for Windows, Internet Explorer (IE) 5.x for Macintosh, or Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0 SP1 with Virtual PC (also for Macintosh). 
  • Have new versions of JInitiator and MarkView software installed on their computers by December 22.
  • Have ChemDraw software installed by December 22 if interested in developing chemical compound requirements online and searching for products containing them in the Penn Marketplace.

Users who have not heard from their Local Support Providers (LSPs) by now about installing the required software on their computers, should contact their LSPs right away. 

Important: Unless the new version of JInitiator is installed, certain components of BEN Financials, including the Purchasing and General Ledger applications, will not work after December 20.

In addition, please be advised that:

  • In order to use BEN Financials and Penn Marketplace, one of the versions of Internet Explorer (IE) listed above is required; Netscape will no longer work. 
  • Windows ME and Windows 98 platforms will no longer be supported for BEN Financials or the Penn Marketplace as of January 2004.
  • Support for Windows NT will end on June 30, 2004.

More information:  on the enhance Penn  Marketplace can be found at:

--Kenneth Campbell, Comptroller
--Robert Michel, Director, Purchasing Services
--Jeanne Curtis, Executive Director, ISC,
Administrative Information Technologies



  Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 16, December 16, 2003