The SAP / Ariba vision – Pierre Mitchell takes a look

This week we’re focusing heavily on supplier networks, a bit of a technical subject for me, but if you’re a SAP or Ariba user, or interested in P2P or networks generally, I urge you to read this article by my Spend Matters US colleague Pierre Mitchell here.

It starts with a really excellent in its analysis of why SAP bought Ariba, and where they’re going.

“And what is the Ariba Network? It’s a set of electronically-enabled commerce services focused on discovery, connectivity, and collaboration. The first two are straightforward and haven’t really changed since Ariba acquired Tradex nearly 15 years ago for $1.9 billion in order to, per the 1999 press release, “create the industry’s first best-of-breed global B2B e-commerce platform.” Sounds familiar, no? But, the difference now is that the promise is starting to get fulfilled, and the vision has expanded to try to capitalize on the B2C successes like Facebook and Amazon and translate them from the Social Network to the Business Network”.

But it gets really interesting when Pierre looks at the future vision and the pros and cons of the platform / ecosystem vision that SAP/Ariba have, particularly around the question of how open that ecosystem (supplier network)  is now and is likely to be in the future.

He then covers some questions he picked up from participants at the recent SAP Sapphire event. There is a strong focus here on the way the firm are defining the SAP product set as on-premise solutions whilst if you want “cloud based”, it’s Ariba products for you. Anyway, here are some of those questions.

·         What does the Ariba set of applications mean to my existing SAP on premise application investments?

·         Will the Ariba applications eventually replace the SAP on premise applications? If so, which and when?

·         Which network integration scenarios can I support with SAP on-premise applications as opposed to Ariba’s cloud solutions?

·         Why does my choice of application hosting (on-premise vs. hosted) force me to pick one of these two application suites?

·         Can I mix and match the modules from the different suites to work together? Which ones and how?

·         Can I purchase a standalone cloud based application without having to buy a membership fee to the network?

·         Will there be continued investment in both the application suites, the integration of the respective suites to the network, and their ability to integrate to each other?

Anyway, please do read the full piece if you have any interest in these matters, and I guarantee you will find it thought provoking and useful.

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