SNAP! CRACKLE! POP! The Recipe For SAP Ariba Success (Part 2)

(Yesterday in Part 1, our colleague from Spend Matters US, Michael Lamoureux, told us about SAP Ariba’s new mid-market offering SNAP. But, as he said, is Snap enough? What about the Crackle? The good news is that it’s coming).

By the end of the year, Ariba Spend Analysis/Visibility/Reporting will be completely transitioned to SAP HANA. The Ariba platform is already using HANA under the hood, but by the end of the year the front end and all of the views (and integrated dashboards and widgets) in Ariba will be native HANA views.

Real-time analytics capability (with drill down, roll up, and alternate view creation) will be available to anyone who needs it or wants it. Plus, it’s easy to turn on supplier discovery, and the SNAP team is already exploring how to integrate best-practice around that into out-of-the-box sourcing events. Considering that the majority of opportunities are found with analytics and delivered upon by suppliers, this is pretty exciting.

But is this enough? Let’s go back to the beginning and our Rice Krispies heroes. Snap, the more serious problem solver (or at least situation explainer), helped us identify that we might have a problem — we might not have the best breakfast cereal. Crackle got us all excited about the possibility of a better breakfast cereal by showing us how it contributes to the fun side of life. But it was Pop that closed the deal. Pop, the mischievous youngster and centre of attention, used his wit and charm to lock us in until the deal was sealed.

Similarly, while the addition of CRACKLE will help SNAP reach a larger audience with the excitement it will generate, in order to explode past the tipping point and see the growth and success they envision, Ariba is going to need some POP!

But how can a S2P offering, particularly one built on the most boring of enterprise applications (ERP) - POP?

This is where the network, which was first the darling of the analyst world, and then the bane of the industry (as the network tax was deemed too expensive for many organisations by many organisations), might be Ariba’s ultimate saviour, especially for SNAP. Now that Ariba has a new light-weight freemium model where any supplier can interact with their buyer for free at a basic level (participate in events, send POs, receive, invoices, etc.), there is no longer a mandatory “tax”. Buyers don’t have to worry about cost-based pushback and suppliers don’t have to worry about lack of basic capability.

But this is not enough on its own. There has to be value beyond interacting with known suppliers or simply finding suppliers on the network willing to pay to be there. But that's where Ariba's new ecosystem approach, which is starting in Risk, might save the day.

Admitting they can't know everything, they have signed up a number of partners that allow them to natively provide intelligence around economic and sustainability risks (including the likes of Verisk Maplecroft and EcoVadis) that every organisation needs. And realising they don't have all of the data on MWBE and related diversity businesses that organisations want, they have started to work out agreements with organisations there, including ConnXUs which has a very large supplier database that is almost a network of its own.

If they continue this approach, and evolve the network into a network of networks, where parties who are a (paying) member of an exchange, network, or similar platform can transact, and (at least in the future) be found for free (through bi-directional agreements), and truly build the first open network of networks, that might be the edge that propels SNAP into a leading mid-market solution of choice. This would be especially so in industries where the majority of an organisation's suppliers are a specific exchange and they can get the full benefit not only of the exchange, but the network for free.

In other words, this is the kind of POP that would seal the deal and put SNAP on the shortlists because organisations could, when necessary, continue to transact with their supply bases as they have always done.

Managing Editor’s note – for me, SNAP  will always mean this.

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