Ariba LIVE – the Cloud is dead, long live Business Commerce Networks….

It’s been Ariba’s big week with their Ariba LIVE event in Las Vegas this week. Apart from their dalliance with casino chips (see Sheena’s round up below for more), there have been a number of announcements and new products from our sector’s largest pure-play software provider, and I’m sure we’ll be looking at them in more detail over the coming days.

And the first big news was that “cloud” is no longer the hip, swingin’, groovy thing in P2P technology land. It’s just so, like, 2011, man.  So it’s not the “Commerce Cloud” any more for Ariba, it’s “Enterprise Networks" or "Business Commerce Networks".

Jason at Spend Matters US has written this brilliant analysis of the change in Ariba’s positioning, managing to work Kim Kardashian into his essay! He also asks the question – is this a “back to the future” moment? The new positioning sounds very familiar, as he compares it to where Commerce One – and Ariba itself – were back in 1999/2000.

But that’s not to say it doesn’t make sense. He quotes from a recent Ariba paper:

“Companies today are moving beyond their traditionally inside-out view of the world and IT infrastructure and are no longer focused on features and functionality when it comes to technology. What they want is access to the people, processes and tools they need to make their businesses go. They want to be able to buy, sell, and manage their cash as easily in their business lives as they do on the homefront. They want business networks."

So overall, Jason sees the new Ariba positioning as a positive step – even if he still does wish that they would “just call the sector what it is: procurement”.

Then yesterday Ariba also announced the latest release of their Ariba® Procure-to-Pay application. It features:

“a totally new, intuitive, consumer-like buying interface that gives requisitioners real-time access to the information they need to make informed, accurate and compliant buying decisions, including:

  • Consumerized catalog and search capabilities
  • Guided product comparison tools
  • Multi-faceted buying procedures to enable requisitioning and collaboration for all goods and services
  • Real-time budget tracking and reporting
  • Visual workflow

The user experience looks and feels very much like,” said Dana Gardner, principal analyst, Interarbor Solutions”.

Sound familiar? We’ve been saying for a while (not that it took much brainpower to work it out) that the two big procurement  technology trends are collaboration and replicating best in class consumer experiences in the B2B environment.  And if you read the Ariba press release, and indeed the “business networks” stuff, that’s what comes over here loud and strong.

We haven’t looked at the new features yet, but they’ll also sound familiar I suspect to users of other P2P systems with a strong usability and B2C type focus (Coupa, Wax Digital, etc).

Take the budget tracking point – here is Coupa from a July 2009 press release.

Take corrective action before it’s too late. Be alerted automatically when spending exceeds an amount you define, or when spending crosses a certain percentage threshold of any budget you wish to track.

So we’re looking forward to more detailed analysis of the new release and how it stacks up in the market. That’s enough cool and happening Ariba news for now, hepcats,  but don’t forget to take a look at Jason’s post here.

And as it's Friday - Arriba Arriba! (Great video - I think I'm in love. Well, he is very attractive...)

Anais,Pablo Montero,Mariana Seoane,Ana... by ZICARLOS


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Voices (9)

  1. Daniel Ball:

    The interesting subtext to all this surely is Ariba’s focus on building and commercially exploiting their vendor network at the expense of the requisitioner/buyer experience – how else could you explain the fact that this most highly leveraged of tech companies is only now claiming to have put in place a half way decent ‘consumerised’ UI and features that other more nimble players in the space have been delivering for years? Caveat emptor!

  2. Howard:

    We have been using the budget tracking feature for at least a year. What we have heard it is going to be brought up in a different place in the UI. It is already pretty good so looking forward to seeing this new approach.

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