Best of Technology Coverage: SAP,, A Promising T&E Solution, and More

From individual “Vendor Snapshots” to overarching viewpoints on where the sector’s technology has been and where we see it going, this is one of our favorite areas to explore here at Spend Matters — and one where we are proud of providing original thought, insightful analyses, and unbiased opinion. Hedge, obfuscate, or pander? Never.

Is the Cloud Disappearing or Darkening at SAP in Procurement? – “SAP is shaking up its cloud business. Or perhaps the cloud is shaking up SAP. Both Vishal Sikka, who championed HANA on the executive board level, and Shawn Price, the president of SAP’s cloud business unit for only a few months, have left. While there are different views on Vishal’s departure from many we’ve spoken to that are closer to SAP than us – although his leaving clearly represents a significant loss for the ERP giant – the rationale behind Price’s rapid exit raises many more questions than it answers. And it tosses into question the fundamental role of network and cloud applications inside SAP.”

Reporting on Fusion 2014 and Concur’s Impressive T&E Solution – Thomas Kase attended Concur’s annual user conference back in May and came back highly impressed with the user experience of the solution. “Must persuade Jason Busch to switch our T&E reporting to Concur,” Thomas writes. “I have nothing but praise for Concur in the design department – is it weird to say that it actually looks fun to do expense reporting with their ExpenseIt tool?” vs. Ariba: The B2B Merchant Experience to Procurement is in for a Storm of Change– “We’ve long thought that Amazon will eventually own the small and medium sized business (SMB) market for eProcurement – one that is littered with the purchasing bones of many a vendor that has tried to enter. For years, Ariba failed to successfully pursue the market, among others. Today, Coupa, Verian, Wax Digital, Puridom, Proactis, and a few others have all had some traction with SMBs for eProcurement. But generally speaking, this market is untapped from a controlled and automated technology buying perspective. Given the past, our money on the provider that wins the market is going to be the one that gets there in a stealthy and different manner.”

SAP and eBay – Opportunity Knocks, But Who’s Really There?– At the SAP Sapphire conference in June, the company announced a seemingly fascinating partnership with eBay. Ariba users will be able not only to search the supplier directory and hosted catalog content within Ariba Spot Buy on the Ariba/SAP Network, but will also be able to search for items on eBay’s marketplace and then add those items to an SAP shopping cart – very similar to punching out to any other type of website. It’s not clear if the eBay site is really acting like a mega supplier and syndicating catalog content into the Ariba marketplace (and the interface is made to look very eBay-like), or if it is a double punchout of sorts. So, what’s really happening here with this announcement? What is the value to Ariba/SAP, to eBay, and to the practitioner? Here’s Pierre Mitchell’s take on the nominal value of this deal to the players.

Case Study: Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Taulia, and Dynamic Discounting – Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (CCBCC) is the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the US with over 10,000 suppliers, about 25 percent of which are non-PO based. One of the supplier segments that represents a big opportunity within these non-PO invoices is the area of trucking. Historically, many of these small businesses have had to pay receivables factoring firms very high interest rates, and that is money that is taken out of the CCBCC supply chain. The catch is that CCBCC can provide a cost of capital that rivals the factoring firms. CCBCC decided to step in and help with the suppliers’ liquidity problem by giving them the option to take early payments in return for a discount. Pierre Mitchell interviewed CCBCC's Steve Richards, who gave him an account of the company's experience implementing Taulia.

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