Spend Matters US Team Report From SAP Ariba Live

A couple of weeks ago, our colleagues from Spend Matters US attended SAP Ariba Live in Las Vegas. Nancy and I couldn’t make it unfortunately (never been to Vegas). Anyway, luckily Jason and the gang did not follow the “what goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas” mantra and produced several articles covering the event which we thought were worth summarising. Just follow the links to read more about any of these topics.

The first article from Jason Busch gave some context to the event and talks about the “Influencer” Strategy Session, prior to the main conference “in which various Ariba team members overviewed the different areas of investment across the solution portfolio, including some of the building blocks of future product releases”. Artificial intelligence and direct material procurement are two key themes coming out of these discussions, according to Jason.

In their first article from the main event, the team cover the opening remarks from SAP Ariba President Alex Atzberger, and gave a reminder that for all the growth of upstart  firms like Coupa, SAP Ariba is still huge and very successful!  There were 3,200 attendees at LIVE this year (up from 2,500), the firm is up to 4,000 employees.  Oh yes, and “Software is dead” — CD software, that is. The end-of-life is coming for the last 75 Ariba on-premise customers. 2020 is the planned end date. And 497 customers went live last year.  More on that introduction here – there is some interesting material about Ariba’s current activities and plans too.

Another Day One session saw Atzberger and a number of colleagues presenting an update on SAP Ariba’s operations, products and strategy. “The discussions were interspersed with customer stories from procurement executives at Johnson & Johnson, BASF and Nielsen. Also, Resilinc CEO Bindiya Vakil made a brief appearance to talk about her firm and the evolution of supply risk management”. Lots of interesting content here on risk management in particular.

This next session and article is vital for any current SAP Ariba customers; a keynote presentation at the event featured an overview of the 2017 Ariba Network roadmap, during which the SAP Ariba team provided a quick (demonstration) overview of the multiple areas it is investing in that will be delivered throughout the year. You can read the two-part summary of that here and here.  We like the sound of the “LinkedIn style” supplier profile pages … and did you know the Ariba Network has 2.5 million suppliers registered?

Is SAP Ariba embracing supplier diversity, Jason asks here, as the firm announced a new partnership with ConnXeus, “one of the last remaining independent supplier delivery vendors with any scale”.  Jason also talks to Rod Robinson, founder of ConnXus. As Jason says “Kudos to SAP Ariba, as well, for partnering with a firm that not only is making a difference but also brings much needed perspective and expertise on the future of supplier diversity as an integral part of sourcing and procurement — not separate from it”.

This is great – at the event, Dr. Matthias Dohrn, CPO at BASF, outlined his organization’s approach to supplier management using SAP Ariba. “He began his talk by sharing one of the best equations we’ve ever heard to refute the notion that technology alone benefits procurement: PP + NT = EPP.  Specifically, poor processes (PP) + new tech (NT) = expensive poor processes (EPP)!”  The full discussion is  available here.

One for all our readers in South America (?) – SAP Ariba and (largely consumer focused marketplace) Mercado Libre announced Tuesday a partnership in support of regional tail spend and spot buying initiatives for corporate procurement organizations. TI sounds like and odd move but Jason and Xavier Olivera explain why it might just make sense.

Then there is a very good three-part interview with Dr. Marcell Volmer, who as SAP’s own Chief Procurement officer has an interesting perspective on running a global Ariba cloud implementation  - eating your own dog food as it were! (He is now Chief Digital Officer at the firm). You can read that here, here and here.

Plenty of material there, essential reading for SAP Ariba clients and with much that might be useful to others too.

 

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