Spend Matters Grills Barry Padgett, New SAP Ariba Supremo

Lat week my colleague and Spend Matters founder Jason Busch interviewed Barry Padgett, who recently  took over as president of SAP Ariba in January, replacing Alex Atzberger, who has moved on within the SAP empire.  (I hoped to join the session but couldn't make it in the end unfortunately.) Padgett joined SAP on their acquisition of Concur, where he previously worked, and he talked with Busch about priorities for SAP Ariba in 2018, what customer areas he is targeting and the biggest lessons he has learned about creating a platform business.

It’s well worth a read, certainly if you are an Ariba customer or prospective customer, or just interested in where procurement technology is going in 2018. We recommend you read the whole article, but we’ll pull out a couple of highlights here too. It was interesting for instance to see Padgettt’s take on the opportunity to develop the supply side of the equation as well as the buy side.

“I like to think of the fact that we’ve got 3 million potential CRM customers on the supply side. When you think about Salesforce, they’ve got 180,000 CRM customers. What could we do if we started to really focus on the supply side and make sure that they’re every bit as important as folks on the buy side and you treat them as a community - they all have a vested interest in making sure there’s transparency and there’s efficiency and there’s cost savings and there’s value”.

But there were specific points for the procurement user too – and an interesting point that by moving strongly into the mid-market space, as the firm has done recently, that is going to lead to benefits for all users.

“We’re a really good cloud company right now, but the further down the market we go, it’s going to force us to be great because large-market customers benefit from you being good in the small-business space, because large-market customers want some of the same things, right? They want delightful user experiences. They want simple setup. They want standard deployments. They want self-service tools …”

There is more on “platform as a service” and other directional insight in the interview – and on this side of the Atlantic, we’re pleased to say that Spend Matters UK/Europe will be working again with SAP Ariba in 2018, following the very enjoyable pub debate we collaborated on last year.

That will include our coverage of their major client event, SAP Ariba Live, in Amsterdam on 23rd / 25th April, and you might have noticed the banner on this page which links though to more information about the event, or just click here. We went to the same event in Prague last year and it genuinely was very impressive. So this is an essential event really for any current or prospective  client of the firm.

And who knows, there might even be another pub debate to come too – stay tuned for more on that! I just cannot believe it is six months since the last one.

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