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Patent Application Publication Mar. 13, 2008 Sheet 1 of 2 US 2008/0065559 Al
Patent Application Publication Mar. 13, 2008 Sheet 2 of 2 US 2008/0065559 Al
GENERATING ADJUSTED BIDS OF
ENTITIES ACCORDING TO A NEW
 Businesses that supply services or goods are often asked by customers to provide competitive bids, such as in an auction bidding context or in a traditional request for price/request for quote (RFP/RFQ) context. From the perspective of the customer, a single bid is submitted by each particular business, which bid may be adjusted as several rounds of bidding occur. Although a single external bid is presented by a particular business to the customer in each round of bidding, it is noted that a business may have multiple business entities that provide corresponding component bids that make up the external bid. As the external bid is adjusted, the component bids of the individual business entities are impacted.
 Traditionally, a "bottom-up" technique is used in which a business prepares its external bid based on summing component bids from the various business entities of the business. Thus, if the external bid is lowered, then each business entity of the enterprise has to prepare a new component bid. This bottom-up approach is relatively slow as the approach involves mostly manual work. Therefore, the conventional "bottom-up" approach cannot be used in a fast-paced on-line bidding environment in which a particular business may have to revise its external bids (and the component bids associated with the various business entities of the business) within a relatively short amount of time (hours or even minutes).
 Also, because of the manual nature of using conventional approaches of adjusting component bids based on a revised external bid, the adjustments are usually errorprone. Errors can result from mistakes in data entry and in calculations. In addition, in some cases, adjustments of component bids due to a lowered external bid may cause component bids for at least some of the business entities to be too low.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 Some embodiments of the invention are described with respect to the following figures:  FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an example system that incorporates a bid software tool, in accordance with an embodiment; and
 FIG. 2 is a flow diagram of a process performed by the bid software tool of FIG. 1, in accordance with an embodiment.
 In accordance with some embodiments of the invention, a bid software tool is provided for performing a "top-down" process of adjusting bid amounts that takes into account initial margins and minimum margins of multiple business entities associated with an enterprise. As an external bid presented by the enterprise to a customer (or supplier) is revised, the component bids of the business entities associated with the enterprise are adjusted by the bid software tool, where the adjustment of the component bids takes into account the initial and minimum margins of the business entities. The initial margins allow the bid software tool to calculate cost (or price) information for each business entity,
and the minimum margins allow the bid software tool to ensure that revised bid components do not fall below margins expected by respective business entities (minimum margins). The recalculation of component bids associated with the business entities can be performed relatively quickly, which is useful in bid environments, such as on-line bidding environments, where enterprises are expected to quickly adjust their bids (sometimes in a matter of minutes or seconds).
 An enterprise refers to any organization that is capable of submitting bids to an external entity (customer or supplier). Examples of an enterprise include businesses, educational facilities, government agencies, and so forth. A business entity associated with the enterprise refers to a particular unit, division, or other segment of the enterprise (or to a third party vendor of the enterprise). For example, in the business context, an enterprise may have a printer division that sells printers, a computer division that sells computers, and so forth. Each business entity can in turn have multiple sub-entities, which in turn may have lower sub-entities. In other words, an enterprise may have a hierarchical organizational structure made up of numerous entities at different levels in the hierarchy. In this discussion, the term "business entity" refers to any business entity in that hierarchy. Also, although reference is made to a "business entity," note that the term applies equally to units or divisions of educational facilities, government agencies, and so forth. More simply, the term "entity" of an enterprise may be interchangeably used with the term "business entity." Also, the term "entity" or "business entity" is intended to cover either an entity within the enterprise or an entity outside the enterprise (such as a third-party vendor of goods or services).
 A bid amount presented by an enterprise to a customer or a supplier is referred to as an external bid amount. In one scenario, the external bid amount can be provided by the enterprise to a customer to which the enterprise wishes to provide goods and/or services. In this scenario, the enterprise may be competing with other enterprises for the business of the customer in a bidding environment.
 In another scenario, the external bid amount can be provided by the enterprise to a supplier that is supplying goods and/or services to the enterprise. The enterprise can be submitting the external bid amount to the supplier for a group of several goods and/or services.  A bid amount can be a bid price, a bid cost, or some other value that is used by the customer (or supplier) to select from among competitor enterprises (or to otherwise determine whether or not the customer or supplier is willing to work with the enterprise). In the context of bidding to a customer, a bid amount can refer to a price (as an example) that the enterprise wants to charge the customer for goods and/or services provided by the enterprise to the customer. In the context of bidding to a supplier, a bid amount can refer to a price (as an example) that the enterprise is willing to pay the supplier for goods and/or services. A component bid amount refers to a bid amount provided by a business entity associated with the enterprise, where an aggregate (e.g., sum) of the component bid amounts make up the external bid amount. A "margin" can refer to a margin percentage that is based on dividing profit by revenue. Alternatively, "mar