The biggest blunder Ariba made in launching its SaaS -- oops, "cloud" -- strategy a few years back was not releasing solutions that lagged the market in a functional capability (Ariba Buyer -- now P2P in a SaaS environment -- quickly caught up to many of the capabilities in the CD version), but rather delivering on an integration strategy that allowed easy migration to its SaaS solutions for enterprise customers. Moreover, many Ariba P2P prospects expressed concern over the limitations of Ariba P2P integration in a SaaS environment in the following areas, among others: multi-ERP integration, integration to custom ERP packages, asset management integration and VMS integration. Yet with a recent partnership announcement with Hubspan, these valid concerns may prove to be an issue of the past.
According to the joint announcement, by "Leveraging Hubspan's cloud-based business integration platform, Ariba will enable companies to seamlessly connect multiple ERP and other backend systems to their partners using the Ariba Commerce Cloud." Ariba further notes, "Hubspan enables integration and interoperability across all major ERP, Supply Chain, and CRM systems, including SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel, Salesforce.com, Baan, and more." Missing from this list are the key areas that previous Ariba Buyer customers and current SaaS prospects require integration within too, but I suspect this will be easily be remedied over time (if integration and operability are not available already).
There have been a surprising number of deals that we've tracked and/or advised on in recent years where Ariba SaaS integration concerns have been a sticking point for potential customers, who have ended up looking elsewhere in a P2P context. If the Hubspan integration helps overcome these concerns, the news could very well give Ariba the boost it needs to more effectively take on what's becoming an increasingly crowded SaaS P2P landscape. Ariba's continued aggressiveness on SaaS pricing combined with stronger multi-system integration capabilities could help them to win business they were previously missing out on.