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As a CIO today, you face a daunting array of challenges. On the one hand, you’re called to be a transformational leader—able to identify and implement emerging technologies that can drive ideas to cash quickly. On the other, you have to stay on top of the escalating demands of the digital economy: juggling the needs of diverse lines of business (LoBs) while securing myriad internal and external solutions, with more and more business processes happening outside your corporate firewall.

As the pressures intensify, you might feel like Hercules battling the Hydra: every time you chop one head off, two more grow back in its place. Yet with help from the right resources, Hercules won the day—and by leveraging business networks, you can too. Business networks provide the capabilities you need to meet the challenges of inter-enterprise business commerce, enabling you to:

  • Become a valued LoB partner and securely manage your company’s strategic objectives
  • Gain full visibility into all your collaborative systems with external trading partners
  • Protect the security of data leaving your enterprise
  • Easily support your organization’s compliance requirements


Not just another solution

If you’re thinking “But we already use EDI!” or “We have too many solutions as it is—why add another one?” consider the following: business networks extend, rather than replace, your existing systems and processes, providing a highly scalable, global, and secure environment that drives collaboration and efficiency across all solutions and activities with your trading partners. By making business networks a core part of your IT platform, you can get more value out of your existing infrastructure while capitalizing on five unique differentiators:


1. Business networks simplify connectivity and support LoB goals. With LoBs purchasing an ever-greater percentage of business technology—often without an eye towards IT compliance—your ability to manage internal and external solutions becomes increasingly crucial. At the same time, you need to not just support innovation, but also serve as its source. “IT needs to get ahead of its customers and lead, not follow, when it comes to exploiting technology,” notes KPMG’s Marc Snyder in The CIO Advisor.

The best business networks help you achieve both goals. For example, Ariba Network offers a standardized, open integration framework that makes it easy to connect a wide range of ERP and transaction systems to support business commerce activities. This gives LoBs and business partners a single platform for collaborative innovation with powerful resources to meet key objectives, including:

  • Allowing procurement to access a qualified global supply market, maximize cost savings, and enhance supply chain efficiency
  • Giving finance visibility into invoicing and payments and automating compliance
  • Helping sales and marketing streamline sales processes and grow revenue with new and existing customers


2. Business networks enhance data security. As the trifecta of outsourcing, strategic partnering, and globalization shifts more business processes into cloud-based solutions outside your organization, you need new ways to secure critical transactions and communications. Business networks offer a holistic, multi-tiered, and internationally compliant security model that keeps your collaborative commerce data well protected.


3. Business networks facilitate multi-enterprise collaboration. According to survey results reported by The Economist Intelligence Unit, 93% of organizations say they create value through collaboration, while 86% view collaboration as a strategic capability. And in the 21st century, business networks have become the linchpin of collaborative commerce. By serving as a de facto “control tower” to orchestrate relationships, systems, and information, business networks give you and your trading partners a single view of the truth—so you can agree on actions and manage change effectively to meet shared operational and financial goals.


4. Business networks drive compliance. Automated validation of rules and requirements reduces errors and eliminates the manual work normally needed to ensure regulatory, tax, partner, and workforce compliance, mitigating risk and saving time and money.

5. Business networks optimize decisions through collective intelligence. Real-time access to network analytics, third-party data, and community-based insights gives users relevant information when and where they need it. This leads to smarter, better decisions about trading partners, operations, pricing and market trends, working capital, and more.


Seize the day: Become an IT champion for business networks

According to IDC’s “Worldwide CIO Agenda 2015 Predictions,” 57% of CIOs expect to be defined in terms of delivering business innovation to increase revenue, margins, and new products within the next two years—and by 2018, 50% will adopt open, standards-based frameworks in place of traditional modes of technology control.


But you don’t have to wait that long. As any successful change evangelist can tell you, winning depends less on the challenges you face than on the actions and timing of your response. By embracing business networks now, you can give your company a transformative strategic advantage in this evolving digital economy that pays off big for years to come.

Hey folks,

As promised at both Ariba Live in Las Vegas and in Barcelona, I'm posting the first of two eCommerce Value Calculators.   This is the simplified, high-level value calculator.  It should be used to help you determine where your greatest opportunity to impact your business in the areas of:

  • Working Capital Improvement
  • Increased Wallet Share
  • Efficiency Benefits
    • Invoice Efficiency Improvement
    • Purchase Order Error Reduction
    • Invoice Error Reduction


You can find localized calculators in the following locations.



Stay tuned for the more detailed eCommerce Value Calculator that I showed at Ariba Live Las Vegas.  I'm doing some final validations and consultations with customers. 

Supply Chain.png



The perfect order: your customers want it, and you strive to achieve it—but all too often, factors outside your control can derail it. And as your customer base becomes more global and value chain relationships get more complex, delivering “the right product, to the right place, at the right time, in the right quantity, to the right customer” may feel like an increasingly elusive goal.


If you’re nodding your head, you’re not alone. For example, 70% of sellers lack visibility into customer orders and confirmed receipt of goods[i]—key to the perfect order—and it’s no wonder. The need to manage information among an ever-growing array of customers, contract manufacturers, and distributors using disparate technologies across many geographies not only impedes visibility, but makes B2B collaboration difficult for sellers and buyers alike. The result? Performance and service levels suffer as you struggle to comply with customer requirements.


The Ariba Collaborative Supply Chain solution can help. By delivering powerful new capabilities to support direct materials supply chain collaboration through the Ariba® Network, Ariba Collaborative Supply Chain provides the visibility, information, and control you need to meet customer demands and achieve the perfect order.








How can the solution benefit my business?

With flexible features that streamline and simplify the collaboration process, Ariba Collaborative Supply Chain enables you to:


  • More easily fulfill complex customer requirements. Do your customers have multifaceted requirements on exactly how you fulfill and package orders? Purchase order collaboration extensions allow you to provide an unprecedented level of detail in POs, including dozens of item characteristics and product packaging descriptions. This helps ensure that what you send and bill for complies with your customers’ guidelines, increasing their satisfaction and reducing returns.


  • Efficiently consolidate shipments. Do you struggle to prioritize and consolidate direct materials shipments so you can send orders in the most efficient manner while still meeting customer due dates? Drawing from a single system of record, ship notice due lists provide real-time information on items due for shipment based on customer, ship-to location, product, PO, and due date. Filtering and grouping capabilities allow you to rapidly organize and prioritize shipments of hundreds of thousands of items from numerous buyers and multiple POs, making it easier to meet specific customer requirements. You can also create ship notices directly from the ship notice due list and consolidate shipments to maximize efficiency and cut costs.

Perfect Order 1.png


  • Rapidly respond to changes in customer demand. Do you need a better way to stay on top of constant demand shifts in a high-volume manufacturing environment? Scheduling agreement releases give your customers an automated, efficient way to share their near-term firm requirements, mid-term “tradeoff” requirements, and longer-term forecast requirements. As a result, you gain the transparency you need to understand ongoing demand so you can fine-tune production levels and meet expectations.

Perfect Order 2.png



Transforming B2B collaboration

With Ariba Collaborative Supply Chain, you can say goodbye to the inefficiency of manual collaboration and cumbersome point solutions. Designed to help you ramp up quickly and realize results fast, the solution provides the resources you need to:


  • Onboard efficiently. Intuitive self-service tools plus access to 24x7 support from Ariba enablement experts make onboarding easy, allowing you to quickly connect with customer systems and processes without spending big bucks on hardware or software. The solution also operates through the Ariba Network—the world’s largest B2B trading community, already used and understood by thousands of buying organizations—increasing ease of adoption even more.


  • Collaborate broadly. By providing a single network-based platform for you and your customers to manage direct materials transactions, Ariba Collaborative Supply Chain lets you “connect once, collaborate with many,” so you can handle order-to-cash collaboration with myriad customers in real time. Open electronic communication tools simplify interactions, shortening cycle times and giving you greater agility to meet shifting customer needs. Multiple connectivity options, including automated two-way and portal-based collaboration, give you the flexibility to interact in the way that works best for your business. The solution also offers industry-specific collaboration and business processes for retail, consumer products, and discrete manufacturing, with other industries to be added over time.

  • Access actionable intelligence. Ariba Collaborative Supply Chain supports automatic validation and reconciliation of configurable business rules, enabling you to instantly identify errors and fix them before they escalate into big problems. Automated dashboards and reporting put key order metrics at your fingertips, while comprehensive analytics and data based on community transactions provide the information you need to benchmark against KPIs, drive improvement, and consistently deliver the perfect order. Real-time visibility gives you and your customers a shared view of the truth, aligning expectations on contractual terms and pricing and helping you make better-informed decisions together.



How do I get started?

Your customers who adopt Ariba Collaborative Supply Chain will invite you to use the solution and explain their preferred onboarding process. Simply follow the guidelines they provide to get up and running quickly.



Learn more

Additional solution capabilities will be introduced in the coming months, so visit this web page often to check out new developments and see how Ariba Collaborative Supply Chain can help you achieve the perfect order.


[i] Source: Viewpoint Commentary

Ariba support.png


Interested in expert e-commerce advice? Unsure how to optimize your account? Confused about a customer request? Never fear—help is here! Ariba offers a wide range of support services to assist you with these questions and more. This handy guide will help you choose the right resources so you can get answers fast.


Support Teams

Ariba Customer Support

  • What is it? If you have questions about registration, how to log in/reset your password, account navigation, the Supplier Membership Program (SMP), or how to use Ariba solutions and services, contact Ariba Customer Support. Support is available in multiple languages via live chat, webform, and phone between 8:00 p.m. Sunday and 8:00 p.m. Friday, Eastern Time, to help you resolve problems or point you to appropriate resources.
  • How can you access it? Log into your Ariba account, click on Help/Help Center, click Support Center in the right-hand column, and then follow the directions to reach support resources or personnel. (Note that you can still access Help/Help Center to obtain support even if you are not able to log into your account.)

Ariba Enablement Help Desk

  • What is it? The Enablement Help Desk is designed to help you quickly and effectively meet customer requests to begin transacting over the Ariba® Network. Enablement experts are available via phone to answer your questions, provide advice and assistance, and point you to useful resources that make it easier complete the onboarding process.
  • How can you access it? You can reach the Enablement Help Desk by dialing toll-free 1.800.974.4899 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.[i]


Commerce Assistance

  • What is it? If you’re at the Select, Premier, Enterprise, or Enterprise Plus subscription level, you can maximize your e-commerce capabilities and benefits via customized services and support from the Commerce Assistance team. These collaborative commerce experts can help you with:
    • Customer acquisition: Fine-tune your Ariba profile to win new business, claim your free Ariba Discovery response(s), and proactively connect with more customers over the Ariba Network
    • Customer retention: Implement catalog and back-office integration strategies to increase relationship stickiness
    • Account management: Adopt best practices to drive greater efficiencies within and across customer accounts

If you’re an Enterprise or Enterprise Plus seller, the team can also help you take advantage of SMP package features like:

  • Ariba Ready program membership
  • Integration of your back-end system to the Ariba Network through an Ariba Integration Connector, powered by Dell Boomi
  • Catalog data cleansing and enrichment
  • Technical consultation services
  • Free pass to the Ariba LIVE conference[ii]
  • How can you access it? You can reach the Commerce Assistance team by sending an email to


Ariba Seller Technical Support

  • What is it? If you’re a Premier or an Enterprise or Enterprise Plus seller, you can get 24/5 technical support for fast assistance with account configuration, catalog formatting and validation, integration of your back-end systems with the Ariba Network, and similar requests. You can also receive 24/7 technical support for production-down problems and other high-priority technical issues.
  • How can you access it?
    • For general technical support, log in to your Ariba account, click on Help/Help Center, and click Support Center in the right-hand column. You can then submit your tech support request via webform, live chat, or phone, and a support representative will connect you with the appropriate Ariba Seller Technical Support team member based on the nature of your issue.
    • For high-priority/weekend technical support, follow the steps above to access the Support Center, then use the phone option to receive the appropriate assistance.


Strategic and Technical Consulting Services

  • What is it? When you’re ready to integrate your back-end systems with the Ariba Network—which lets you achieve the fully automated, “touchless” order-to-cash processing that maximizes e-commerce benefits for you and your customers—you can contract with the Electronic Supplier Integration Management (ESIM) team to receive personalized consulting on technical implementations, solution testing and troubleshooting, PunchOut configuration, strategic planning, and other B2B e-commerce areas. Additional options include:
    • Integration Express Consultation in which you create an integration playbook that captures your current integration process and capabilities on the Ariba Network along with your requirements for a “fast track” integration, helping you work with customers in the way that’s best for you (for Premier, Enterprise, or Enterprise Plus sellers)[iii]
    • Seller Integration Engagement where you receive technological guidance, proven frameworks, and even sample code to drive success in automating your connection to Ariba (for Enterprise and Enterprise Plus sellers)[iv]
  • How can you access it? To learn more about strategic and technical consulting services, contact the Commerce Assistance team at


Online Communities and Information

Ariba Exchange User Community

  • What is it? The Ariba Exchange User Community has replaced the former Help section in your account. It offers Ariba documentation and tutorials on an extensive array of subjects along with a “Popular Topics” area, product and status alerts, access to phone and live chat[v] support, and options to share feedback. Intuitive self-help tools, simple navigation, and fast and effective search functionality make it easy to find the information you need. (Check out this overview for details.)
  • How can you access it? Click Help in the upper right-hand corner from any page in your account, then click Help Center from the dropdown. For a brief primer on key community features along with helpful navigation tips, read “How to Use the Ariba Exchange User Community.”


Ariba Answers

  • What is it? Ariba Answers is an online resource center where you can find videos, recorded webcasts, case studies, white papers, and other materials designed to answer a wide range of “how-to” questions about Ariba and the Ariba Network—from getting started to improving your sales and marketing efforts. For example, you can get responses to queries like:
    • How do I list my business on Ariba?
    • How can I find leads?
    • What does my bill mean?
    • How do I connect with other customers?
    • How do I create a catalog?
  • How can you access it? Go to the Ariba Answers web page and click on “I’m a Supplier.”


Ariba Exchange

  • What is it? Ariba Exchange is a collaborative, web-based community where you can ask questions, share insights, and exchange information on a wide range of subjects with your peers, prospects, customers, and others engaged in B2B e-commerce. It provides a great way to network and build valuable relationships that can make your job easier.
  • How can you access it? Go to the Ariba Exchange home page, then register and log in to participate.

Online Training

Live Demos

  • What is it? Live demos are webinars led by knowledgeable instructors who provide practical, detailed information on how to expand your e-commerce capabilities and maximize your Ariba Network presence. Each demo typically lasts an hour, with about 45 minutes of prepared presentation and 15 minutes at the end for questions. Current topics include:
    • Introduction to the Ariba Network for Sellers
    • PunchOut for E-Commerce Managers
    • Integrating with Your Customers through cXML
    • Maximizing your Enterprise/Enterprise Plus Benefit Options
    • Ariba Network Functional Presentation
    • Creating Electronic Catalogs
  • How can you access it? To see a list of available demos and to sign up, go to this live demo registration page or this one.


[i] Toll-free Enablement Help Desk support is currently provided in English to sellers in the United States and Canada.

[ii] Free Ariba LIVE pass is available to Enterprise Plus sellers.

[iii] The Integration Express consultation is currently provided in English for sellers utilizing cXML and/or EDI (ANSI X12 and EDIFACT) with at least one customer on the Ariba Network.

[iv] The Seller Integration Engagement is currently provided in English, French, and German. Enterprise sellers receive four consulting hours, and Enterprise Plus sellers receive eight.

[v] Live chat is currently provided in English on a 24x5 (Monday through Friday) basis to Ariba Network sellers, with rollout to other seller groups scheduled in upcoming months.


Often times, a company’s first thoughts when thinking about transaction automation are about “EDI”.  As many others do, you may be asking yourself, what differentiates Ariba against EDI?  Here are 5 top differentiators:


1)      Solution for all suppliers – Ariba was designed from the ground up to be a solution for every type of supplier. With Ariba, suppliers’ maintain their transaction profile preferences within a graphical user interface, and can setup the transaction process that meets their requirements. UNLIMTED SUPPLER ENABLEMENT SERVICES ensures a continuous focus on migration away from paper, so all suppliers, regardless of size, can become electronic. Ariba is a modern technology and service for the modern age.


2)      Supplier Value – Ariba provides revenue generating and product search tools like supplier discovery, cash management tools that accelerate collections and improve cash flow for Accounts Receivable and Credit Manager stakeholders, and provides error reports to eliminate payment risk. The Network Effect, available only with web-based, SAAS applications, creates leverage across many buyer relationships.


3)      Scale and Flexibility – EDI is point to point data transmission and relies on older file standards.  Ariba provides the best of BOTH worlds- we are backwards compatible with yesterday’s EDI technology, as well as providing the best of what the internet has to offer with integrated support for modern, flexible standards to meet modern age demands. This flexibility allows Ariba the ability to better serve the supplier community and automate more transactions and deliver more value.


4)      More than transmission - Ariba does more than just transmit data!  Ariba is a destination for functional business users to address opportunities and solve business problems. Ariba provides a feature rich, web-based application environment that provides both transaction automation AND business application functionality. This is a big difference and a great example is Smart Invoicing, where business logic detects a broad array of exceptions to ensure transactions are clean and error free. Modular based web applications like workflow, cash management, contract flip, procurement content, and discovery are other examples of doing more than moving data from point A to point B.


5)      We understand AP – The challenge in Accounts Payable isn’t moving data faster from a supplier to a buyer- too much risk is created if that is the only focus. The big objective for AP is CONTROL, COMPLIANCE, AND EFFICIENCY. Smart Invoicing, Workflow, and Payment Automation all deliver on these objectives. Another hidden dimension of efficiency is working capital efficiency. It is often said that the opportunity cost tied up in the Accounts Payable balance makes AP the most expensive debt on the balance sheet. Ariba Dynamic Discounting delivers on this critical dimension of efficiency.


What do you see as a differentiator for Ariba vs. EDI?

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