This blog summarizes an IDC Manufacturing Insights Perspective covering the recently completed Ariba LIVE conference in Las Vegas.
The 2014 Ariba LIVE conference held in March in Las Vegas provided an opportunity for SAP and Ariba executives to share the progress over the past year in melding the two companies' strategies into a coherent message and product roadmap for customers and the market. It also provided a specific set of product development plans for the coming three years.
Ariba reiterated its vision that the Business Network is the platform for future growth and innovation across global businesses. The company spent last year incorporating its network strategy into SAP's vision of the network, and organizational changes highlight the strategic importance of this assimilation. Key Ariba executives, including Tim Minahan, former CMO of Ariba, moved into strategic roles within the SAP Cloud group, leading the efforts to transform SAP into a cloud company. Minahan brings Ariba's "cloud DNA" with him and explained how SAP is incenting its customers to adopt cloud and the sales force to "lead with cloud."
In the coming year, Ariba has plans to complete the consolidation of its platform. Integration is underway between SAP Supply Network Collaboration (SNC), which is an on-premise application, with the cloud-based Ariba Network. This is part of wider efforts to increase supply chain functionality, including direct materials procurement, supplier onboarding, and vendor-managed inventory from other providers. Further out are plans to make the Ariba Network the "registry" for all supplier data. The model is similar to SAP's existing Product Stewardship Network, which is an online collaboration community that enables companies and their supply chains to exchange sustainability data efficiently. While supplier data may be stored in systems of record or other systems, the network will serve as a registry for master supplier data that can streamline partner onboarding and provide a single source for all supplier data.
Other highlights from Ariba LIVE included a roadmap for moving the entire Ariba platform to HANA, and the company has aggressive plans to move more than 90% within three years. There was also an effort this year to include vertical industry tracks at Ariba LIVE to reflect the nuances of different industries and their unique procurement needs. While Manufacturing was not one of the industry tracks, leaders at Ariba identified it as a focus for the company in coming years. Key to this will be further development of its direct procurement story, which will involve both SAP and Ariba procurement capabilities to effectively serve the many complexities and nuances of direct sourcing and procurement within specific industries.
IDC Manufacturing Insights spoke with several manufacturers that were using Ariba Network to run spot quote events. Early signs are positive, but there will need to be continued development of capabilities to support all strategic sourcing and procurement for direct materials within a manufacturer. Vendor Assessment: Strategic Sourcing and Procurement Applications for Direct Materials in Manufacturing Vendor Landscape (IDC Manufacturing Insights, forthcoming) offers a closer look at the combined Ariba-SAP portfolio for sourcing and procurement of direct materials.
For more in-depth coverage of Ariba LIVE, subscribers of Manufacturing Commerce Strategies Service can read the full report here.