By: Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst, Interarbor Solutions
Published: 20th March 2014
Copyright Interarbor Solutions © 2014
Ariba wrapped up its annual Ariba LIVE user conference in Las Vegas today with a series of announcements, chief among them news that its AribaPay automated B2B payments settlements service is now operational, and a demo of pending mobile applications for its flagship procurement, supplier management and cash flow optimization business applications.
Most of the announcements this week by Ariba, an SAP company, involved enhancements to the Ariba Network. The goal is to drive new levels of connectivity, collaboration, and insight—all required to optimize buying, selling, and managing cash in today’s networked economy. That activity then sets the stage for gathering unique data sets that span global regions and hundreds of business verticals. And that community- and business process-generated data allows for unprecedented analytics and business intelligence capabilities that Ariba then delivers back to its network participants.
"Real-time response is no longer enough, predictive is the power of analyzed business networks," says Rachel Spasser, Ariba CMO. "It's time to embrace networks and their intelligence to transform commerce."
Ariba also declared a clear path for bringing more of its apps and services onto the SAP HANA platform, as well as to the HANA cloud. Standardizing on the HANA cloud provides broad synergies with Ariba across other SAP assets (also headed to HANA cloud) such as ERP and business apps, SuccessFactors, CRM functions, and many business analytics capabilities.
“Business today is different than it was 10—even 5—years ago. It’s more social and mobile. It’s faster and smarter. And it demands a whole new way of operating,” said Sanish Mondkar, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer at Ariba, speaking at The Cosmopolitan hotel here. “With the latest enhancements to the Ariba Network, companies can effectively change the game, leveraging the wisdom and insights of entire communities to enable new processes that drive unprecedented innovation and outcomes.”
Through enhanced spend, process, and network-derived insights, delivered as part of the latest Ariba releases, companies can execute a more intelligent and automated sourcing process that drives better business. Those services are also extending to new countries, as Ariba is—with significant new SAP financial investment—building out data centers in China and Russia. "Our globalization innovations will cover 75 countries and 70% of the world’s commerce,” said Mondkar.
For example, with Ariba Spend Visibility now powered by SAP HANA (the first Ariba service to land on HANA), companies can analyze more spend data more quickly. Data loads 20 times faster and is immediately accessible once a sourcing project, contract, or invoice is initiated. Ariba said that Spend Visibility on SAP HANA takes report generation from minutes/hours to seconds.
Companies can perform more complex analyses based on an expanded set of variables, including cost centers, purchase price variances, and micro regions, and receive results in real time. [Disclosure: Ariba is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]
With Ariba Sourcing and Ariba Discovery now integrated in Ariba Spot Quote, companies can create and execute one-time purchases for goods or services that are not handled by their supplier base in a fully automated manner. Requests for quote (RFQ) are automatically generated from a backend enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and sourcing events created within Ariba. Suppliers are then invited either as part of the RFQ or from matching through Ariba Discovery—all without any human intervention.
Spot buys are challenging for most companies because they require quick turnaround, and buyers generally lack efficient or effective methods to source them. Leveraging solutions like Ariba Spot Quote, organizations can reduce the time it takes to find the right suppliers from weeks to days or even hours and drive cost reductions of between two and five percent on average.
Selling organizations can more quickly and easily identify new business opportunities and collaborate with trading partners to enhance and expand relationships.
Ariba also shed new light on its next generation of apps and services, code-named Alexandria, after the famed library of the ancient world in Egypt.
The new platform will provide a single source of supplier information, easy syndication (including across SAP) to manage supplier information, and stewardship of network information and broad integrations, said Mondkar. Again the goal is to both create integrated business functions and a data resource capability that generates new and highly valued business analysis—even to help predict outcomes so businesses can act quickly to their markets and supply chains.
And those same business apps, process flows and the predictive analysis will soon delivered to the enterprise mobile tier. Mondkar showed on the stage here today a really impressive mobile iOS apps and alerts demo for Ariba procurement and supplier processes. It allows the professionals to access their processes, data and alerts anytime and anywhere. I especially like the emphasis on making the app UI and mobile UI context-aware and dynamic to the users' situation. The mobile apps will become generally available in the fall of this year, said Ariba.
New custom products and services categories within Ariba Discovery were announced to enable better matching of buyer postings to seller opportunities and the automatic delivery of more qualified leads.
With daily delivery of leads automatically categorized as “new,” “best match,” or “closing soon”, selling organizations can efficiently monitor and manage opportunities and ensure that nothing is missed. And with new email capabilities, buyers can view and reply to sellers directly from their email client without logging into Ariba Discovery, speeding responses and enhancing collaboration.
Through enhancements to Ariba Invoice Management, companies can expand touchless invoice processing to new spend categories on a global basis, while also presenting new opportunities to enforce compliance and improve collaboration among trading partners.
Project-based invoices, common for construction, engineering, repairs and facilities management, are among the most critical expenses to manage, and most difficult to control. With Ariba Services Invoicing, companies can extend the smart invoicing process—where e-invoices undergo an automated validation process upon supplier submission so that only accurate and approved invoices reach accounts payable—to these complex spend categories.
Buyers can review and approve service entry sheets—which detail the services performed before, not after, invoice submission. Suppliers can then 'flip' approved service entry sheets into invoices to create the perfect payable.
Brazil and Mexico are among the countries with the most complex tax requirements for electronic invoices. By extending e-invoicing support to these countries, the Ariba Network provides the infrastructure needed to receive and validate e-invoices that meet these stringent regulations, along with an e-invoice archive and audit trail for additional business controls, so that global organizations can expand their e-invoice initiatives to these fast-growing Latin American markets.
“The business of tomorrow will be different from today,” Mondkar said. “But companies that leverage the Ariba Network—and the enhancements unveiled today—can future proof their operations and make better decisions that create significant advantage.”
To learn more the Ariba Network and the value it can deliver for your organization, visit: www.ariba.com.
Ariba has also announced the first transactions completed on AribaPay, its cloud-based B2B payments solution. Arlington Computer Products, a provider of IT productivity solutions, was the first to dip its toe into the water, participating in an early access program and has completed the first payments using the new Ariba service.
A fully integrated, end-to-end solution, AribaPay completes the procure-to-pay cycle embedded in the Ariba Network by integrating it to Discover’s trusted global payments infrastructure to effect payments at maturity.
With AribaPay on the Ariba Network, ordering, billing, and settlement processes between buyers and sellers are fully integrated. Companies can reduce costs, reduce risk, and complete the procure-to-pay process faster, easier, and with greater transparency and security.
AribaPay creates value on both sides of the transaction. Buyers who create purchase orders and receive invoices through the Ariba Network will now be able to close the procure-to-pay loop by sending payments to their suppliers using Ariba Pay. That results in less paper, less risk, and less effort in managing bank account information and related data. Buyers will uncover and resolve disputes faster, monitor on-going payments better and lower their processing costs and fraud risk.
Sellers will be able to receive rich remittance information and gain a clear and reliable view into future payments. They’ll be able to track and trace payments, uncover payment problems earlier, and ultimately reconcile faster while lowering their payment processing costs.
Other benefits include:
AribaPay is in use and will be made generally available in the United States during the second quarter of 2014. Support for additional countries will be announced in the second half of 2014.
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