Sanjay Almeida, Chief Product OfficerTwenty years ago, procurement was a manual function driven largely by phone calls, faxes and handshakes. Come into play the internet and SAP Ariba, and the landscape assumes a whole new way of functioning—not only controlling costs and risk but also increasing the operational performance by automating key tasks. SAP Ariba realized that businesses could enjoy stronger connections and better visibility by reaching beyond their four walls into a space where they could work more easily with their trading partners, which led to the creation of Ariba Network. It is an online trading platform through which buyers and sellers can discover, connect and collaborate on everything from sourcing and orders through invoice and payment. Over the last two decades, SAP Ariba has grown from a procurement software company to the largest cloud-based commerce network in the world today, with buyers and suppliers from more than two million businesses and 190 countries. “Think of us as the Facebook for business. Every day, billions of consumers around the world use the site to manage their personal connections,” remarks Sanjay Almeida, Chief Product Officer, SAP Ariba.
When buyers connect to Ariba Network, they connect to millions of suppliers across direct and indirect expense categories and can manage everything from sourcing to business-to-business payments and financing in a few simple clicks. They can collaborate electronically with suppliers on each transaction, and ensure that data is flowing securely between their ERP system, purchasing process and suppliers to effectively manage both their costs and risk, all while ensuring the long-term health of their supply chain. On the other hand, suppliers can connect with profitable customers and efficiently scale existing relationships—simplifying sales cycles, improving cash control, and managing their working capital more effectively. “The result is a dynamic, digital marketplace, where more than $2.5 billion in commerce gets done every day,” extols Almeida.
‘’No company is an island. In today’s global economy, businesses need to work with thousands of suppliers, partners, and customers across supply chains that have become increasingly complex,’’ elucidates Almeida.
We want our customers’ procurement, fulfillment, and financial supply chain management processes to be simple and smart, and with our innovations, we make that a reality
With the integration of SAP S/4 HANA and SAP Ariba, businesses can simplify the scenario, connecting with all of their partners and managing all of their procurement activities in one place, covering all categories of spend—direct, indirect and services. “They can share forecasts and sales to facilitate better planning. They can gain visibility into potential risks and mitigate them before they cause any disruptions. Ultimately, Ariba Network manages end-to-end supply chain orchestration from planning to delivery, fully integrated with SAP’s planning solutions,” remarks Almeida. And with SAP S/4 HANA at the core, businesses can master massive amounts of data digitally in real time and make critical business decisions through instant insights and predictive analytics.
Some of the innovations SAP Ariba brought to market recently include Guided Buying, which offers a contextual experience that automatically leads users to the goods and services they need to do their jobs, and then guides them through executing purchases in compliance with their company policies and processes. Or Spot Buy, which provides them with the technology, content, and expertise they need to gain greater visibility into their spending and fuel the compliance needed to get unplanned buys under control.
As another key innovation factor, the SAP Ariba Chief Product Officer accentuates the open and extensible platform from SAP Ariba, which enables customers and partners to enrich business processes using a comprehensive set of open APIs – including them in driving innovation. ‘’We want our customers’ procurement, fulfillment, and financial supply chain management processes to be simple and smart, and with our innovations, we make that a reality,’’ concludes Almeida.