The “little” SAP Business One solution is an unsung hero of sorts at SAP. Indeed, more than 38,000 customers worldwide in nearly 30 languages and over 630 partners are often ignored as less newsworthy by market observers. The business management solution for small businesses (with 10–20 users, on average) can be deployed on premises or in the cloud, and is accessible via mobile devices.
During the SAPPHIRENOW 2013 conference, SAP announced the general availability of the 9.0 version of the SAP Business One running on Microsoft SQL Server (which is the product’s original database). With more than 50 new features, the latest version offers enhanced capabilities for warehouse management, infrastructure, and inventory management, as well as improved systems performance.
Similar to the Ariba LIVE conference last year, one of the main themes at the Ariba LIVE 2013 conference was again that Ariba, now an SAP company, is making it easier than ever for companies to connect to the Ariba Network and collaborate. Accordingly, Ariba and Dell Boomi announced that they are teaming up to deliver pre-packaged integration as a service offering for selling organizations.
Designed to simplify and speed up integration to the Ariba Network, the Ariba Integration Connector, powered by Dell Boomi Integration Packs, aims to enable companies to collaborate more efficiently. The first available connector, which integrates with Intuit QuickBooks, was officially unveiled at Ariba LIVE 2013. Additional connectors to enable sellers who own Microsoft Dynamics GP and Sage 50 (a.k.a., Sage Peachtree) to integrate with the Ariba Network are planned to be released later this year.
One of the major announcement sets at the recently held joint SAPPHIRE NOW and SAP TechEd event in Madrid, Spain, November 13-16, 2012, was about SAP’s plans to infuse SAP innovations into the world’s most powerful business network, Ariba Network. Through the recent combination of SAP and Ariba, close to 1 million companies are now connected to the Ariba Network—more than any other trading network. The introduction of SAP innovations in social, mobile, and cloud and the in-memory technology of the SAP HANA platform should logically drive global business-to-business (B2B) collaboration and achieve even higher levels of efficiency in sales, procurement, invoice, and payment processes as well as insights through the business network.
Part 1 of this blog series analyzed the positive impressions from my attendance of the AribaLIVE 2012 user event. Still, while it might appear that Ariba is firing on all cylinders, as is typically the case, Ariba is not all things to all people and no company is without issues. Thus this post will discuss some challenges and related rooms for improvement.
A recent blog post talked about my attendance of the AribaLIVE 2012 user event and outlined the main premise of the event: Ariba has become a public cloud commerce network provider first and foremost, while also offering additional related spend management software as required. The vendor is striving to become a business-to-business (B2B) commerce version of Amazon.com and eBay to enable painless transactions by providing a behind-the-scene universal business translator. For more details, see the keynote presentation by Ariba’s president Kevin Costello.
This is what cloud commerce is all about: leveraging the power of a network to make business commerce as easy as personal commerce. And this is the direction that Ariba will continue to take. The vendor has gone all out to expand the Ariba Network (and the cloud-based solutions delivered within it) and extend its position as the world’s largest and most global business network. And these moves are apparently paying off.
SAP and Ariba apparently have good poker faces, since during their recent user events, AribaLIVE 2012 and SAPPHIRE NOW 2012, there was no inkling of this development. At first glance, this is a good fit, as a plethora of large SAP customers use both Ariba Network and Ariba’s procurement, sourcing, contract management, e-invoicing, etc. software (in fact, in the early 2000s, the name Ariba was taboo at SAP’s Waldorf HQ, and Ariba was a competitor that SAP loved to hate). Read the rest of this entry »
After a hiatus of several years, the stars and planets were again aligned for me to be able to attend the AribaLIVE conference in early April 2012. And boy, what a difference several years can make! The last time I attended, in the mid-2000s, Ariba was behind its worst times of the early 2000s and the dotcom “boom and crash.” For those that are not sure what I am talking about, in the early 2000s, Ariba had quite over-invested in its resource-heavy and inflexible client-server supplier exchanges and was bleeding cash.
The turnaround started when the company decided to focus on spend management software and know-how (sourcing, contract management, spend analysis, invoice automation, etc.), rather than on merely providing the “plumbing” for procurement transactions between trading partners. While the financial performance and posture of Ariba were noticeably improved by the mid-2000s, the company was still criticized by some market observers as being too conservative and focusing on traditional solutions.
Sure, to most of us accounting sounds as exciting as watching paint dry, but no business can survive without properly managing its financial means. Especially in these days of scarce cash, processing invoices faster and more accurately by the accounts payable (A/P) or billing department is critical so that the accounts receivable (A/R) folks can get their cash faster. An efficient A/P function is something that all companies want, but few have been able to achieve.