The Ariba Network in 2018: Volume, Trending and Vision

So far today at SAP Ariba Live, The Ariba Supplier Network has been on full display. Barry Padgett, SAP Ariba’s recently appointed president, appears to be putting the network front and center in his organization’s overall strategy and vision. This marks a strategic evolution from Alex Atzberger’s focus on core SAP Ariba application enhancement as a primary objective, at least as Spend Matters sees it.

At Live, Padgett is thinking big. He has talked in terms of “opening up” the network dramatically from API and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) perspectives, far beyond what SAP Ariba has done to date.

But first, here’s an update by the numbers on the Ariba Network as reported at Live today:

  • More than 160 net-new customers in 2017 use the Ariba Network (via SAP Ariba applications)
  • The Ariba Network has 52 business collaboration document types today (supporting indirect, services and direct transaction types)
  • The Ariba network supports a range of SAP Ariba applications, including supplier management, risk management, strategic sourcing, direct materials sourcing, supply chain, buying, and invoicing and financial supply chain management
  • Guided buying: more than 35 customers in active deployment, 1 million users live, more than 25,000 logins and 6,000-plus orders per day, and $8 billion in spend guided so far
  • Network volume: between $1.6 trillion and $1.7 in trillion in annualized volume representing 22% year-over-year growth
  • Spot-buy growth: 50 million items available, and regional partnerships continue (e.g., Mercateo in EMEA and Mercado Libre in Central and South America)
  • Direct spend enablement: support for increasing industry-specific scenarios, including those in consumer-packaged goods, retail, high tech and manufacturing
  • More than 100 functional enhancements in 2017, including significant enhancements in ASN flexibility and enablement, service orders/field ticketing, invoicing (e.g., a new AI-based PDF upload capability in early deployment with GA expected in Q2 2018)

These numbers show how the Ariba Network is being used tactically today. But as Padgett hinted at during a session with technology analysts, the vision is to have the network drive a platform ecosystem. A real one. One in which so much value is generated that customers — both buyers and suppliers — “will want to bring outside transactions to it,” even those originating on Coupa, Amazon Business, SAP Fieldglass or other applications, networks and marketplaces.

That’s a big step. Really, a giant leap.

But if future instantiations of the Ariba Network can go far beyond transactional enablement and bring new types of sourcing (and sales) intelligence, treasury, compliance and tax benefits that are being hinted at by some at Live, it may not be as far off as some believe.

What do you think?

Curious about how SAP Ariba performs relative to peers on a comparative solution basis in the spend analytics, sourcing, supplier management, contract management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay areas individually or together — and how the network supports these solutions? Check out Spend Matters Q4 2017 SolutionMap 

Based on more than 35 technology vendor participants, 750 functional benchmarks and 350 customer peer reviews, SolutionMap offers a persona-driven view of of procurement technology solutions. Updated quarterly, the Spend Matters Q1 2018 SolutionMap update will be released in March 2018.

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