Network Economy SAP and ARIBA
Attending a commerce summit in London yesterday where key speakers from the two leading business network collaborators. So now it’s official, ARIBA and SAP have joined forces to enable the Neworked Enterprise. This will, we’re told, give the best of both companies and fuel a whole new way of doing business.
I came away from the meeting with mixed feelings, firstly slightly depressed! The reason for that being that though the networked economy is a great way for procurement to increase its strategic value to an organisation through automation and improved skills, there was a distinct lack of the human element.
Some of the delegates on my table agreed that the system sounds wonderful but more so for those who are in procurement than those who are trying to sell into companies. Actually, if you’re stationery, say paperclips for instance, there could be a distinct advantage to this new automated environment, however the real business is often not just about the paperclips but about the service and personalities around the engagement. Creative services are particularly difficult to quantify before they’re done, so how do you get to a reasonable cost before doing the work, especially when some end users don’t really understand how the media works?
It was interesting though to see how the possibilities of sharing information and allowing access to mutual contacts for potential business could be advantages. To be fair, as yet, I’ve not seen a great value out of this sort of thing, mainly because ARIBA seems to be Anmerica-centric, but with this new SAP influence maybe things will change, and that could be valuable.
At the moment we are forced to use ARIBA because some of our clients use it and it’s either conform or don’t work with us. On the whole, it’s okay and we’ve only had a few issues though we do find the need to pay ARIBA commission on work we’ve done and which they’ve had no part in acquiring for us a bit of a difficult area – but I suppose they have to make their money somewhere, and it does seem they’re making money!