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Ariba Live 2018 Kicks Off: “Very Nice”

03/06/2018 By

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Three members of the Spend Matters analyst team (Pierre Mitchell, Xavier Olivera and Jason Busch) are attending SAP Ariba Live this year. By our count from the initial tech analyst session, more than 25 other analysts and influencers are attending, as well. We didn’t know we had so many peers who actually covered procurement technology!

Perhaps this illustrates the rising interest in procurement solutions generally. We can almost hear Sacha Baron Cohen saying in his Borat voice, “Procurement Tech. Finally. Very Nice.”

On the surface, procurement technology can seem easy to build. But as SAP Ariba knows firsthand, developing solutions that address the myriad requirements procurement organizations face today is extremely difficult. Add to this advancing capabilities and buyer expectations — including the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence, “fully loaded” applications that bring more than capability alone, and expanding capabilities that serve the needs of direct procurement in manufacturing — and it’s easy to get lost in all of it.

My, we’ve come a long way. It was not so long ago that Borat’s Trabant towed by a donkey represented what most procurement organizations had deployed as procurement technology, at least on an end-to-end basis.

But today is very, very different.

Not only does procurement technology generally deliver on its promises, but providers like SAP Ariba are developing new capabilities faster than ever before. Fast-forward in one step from Trabbies to Priuses (and Teslas).

Here’s what’s on our list to investigate and report on this year from Live in more detail:

  • Artificial intelligence everywhere — how and where SAP Ariba plans to tap AI across its source-to-pay capabilities in 2018 and beyond
  • The continued revamp of SAP Ariba’s “upstream” capabilities, including spend analytics (with a new AI/machine learning classification capability), sourcing, supplier management and contract management
  • Rising Ariba Network offerings, including the latest in SAP Ariba’s adventures in direct materials enablement and industry support for complex scenarios (as an EDI replacement), supplier-centric offerings and platform-as-a-service (PaaS)
  • SAP Ariba’s new middle or “down” market offering, SNAP, which according to SAP Ariba’s new President Barry Padgett, is “rolling out in a matter of days”
  • Partner chatter — what are partners, especially systems integration partners, hearing and seeing? What are the trends they’re spotting with customers?

Have something you want us to investigate for you or a question about SAP Ariba? Drop us a line: pierre (at) spendmatters (dot) com, xolivera (at) spend matters (dot) com or jbusch (at) spendmatters (dot) com.

Stay tuned for live Spend Matters dispatches throughout the week from Ariba Live, as well as deeper coverage on Spend Matters PRO.

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? 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.