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Did you get the latest issue of Supply Lines directly in your inbox?  Supply Lines is the go-to publication for e-commerce decision-makers, marketers and sales practitioners. All the articles are now available at http://exchange.ariba.com/groups/supplylines


Here's a sneak peak:

 

 

To receive Supply Lines directly in your inbox, subscribe here.

As an Ariba seller, you gain exposure to buying organizations in a variety of ways. The information in your Ariba cloud profile is key to this visibility, since prospective buyers rely on it to help them decide whether to do business with you. Now you can take advantage of two new ways to promote your business through your profile: by including Showcases and Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) credit information.

 

What are Showcases and D&B credit information?

Showcases are a new profile feature you can use to prominently display information that makes your company stand out, such as your most successful projects, best consultants, exceptional references, or similar items. You can include up to three Showcases, which will appear at the top of your public profile as the first information buyers see.

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Showcases appear at the top of your public profile

 

D&B credit information gives prospective customers a clear picture of your company’s financial health—a top concern of buyers seeking new sellers (80% of buyers access this information when it’s available). You can easily provide this by including your D&B D-U-N-S® number in your profile. If you don’t have a D-U-N-S number, you can get one by going to http://www.dnb.com.

 

Tomorrow we'll share more information on how you can add Showcase or D&B information to your profile

If you don't want to wait until tomorrow, go to our Supply Lines page to read the full article.

Today’s businesses are increasingly affected by a convergence of multiple forces: social media, the cloud, business networks, big data, analytics, and more. These bring with them a huge amount of valuable data and information, much of it available in real time. Yet as SAP cloud senior vice president and chief marketing officer Tim Minahan points out, we’re reaching the point when “real time” is no longer good enough. For example, if you hear in real time that your manufacturing plant has gone down, or your biggest customer just defected to a competitor, it’s already too late. Instead, to stay ahead, companies must become predictive businesses.

 

So what is a predictive business? One able to anticipate future events with a high degree of accuracy, then assess potential responses and implement the best ones quickly and effectively. And while multiple resources can help you attain this goal—such as the cloud, mobility, and business networks—predictive analytics is the most important. At the Ariba LIVE 2014 conference, James Tucker, senior director of business network strategy and marketing for Ariba, and Will Caseber, director of value engineering for Ariba, led a session on why predictive analytics matters so much—and how you can use it to drive success for your business.

 

“In the future, businesses will be expected to possess the talent, tools, processes, and capabilities to analyze past business performance and events to gain forward-looking insight to drive business decisions and actions.” Lawrence Maisel and Gary Cokins, Predictive Business Analytics: Forward Looking Capabilities to Improve Business Performance

 

What is predictive analytics?

As Tucker explains, “Predictive analytics is like preventative medicine for business.” It uses various techniques from statistics, modeling, machine learning, and data mining to analyze current and historical facts to predict future events. In business, predictive models use the patterns and relationships found in historical and transactional data to identify risks and opportunities, helping companies make informed, intelligent decisions.

 

Tomorrow: Why does predictive matter for your company?

If you don't want to wait until tomorrow, go to our Supply Lines group to read the full article.

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I had the opportunity recently to sit in on a call with a fairly new customer to the Ariba Network. Like many of you, one of their key accounts was requiring them to integrate their PO processes using Ariba. They had procrastinated, passed it off among people around the office, and it had finally landed with the IT guy, who was on point to have it done before the holiday break.

 

Not so unusual. What struck me is how much this customer reminded me of Marty, our fictional IT character who is also challenged with a last minute integration to the Ariba Network. In this case however, the customer wasn't getting any outside pressure to actually integrate their back-end systems. Their receivables group was more than happy to manually input the PO’s into Ariba.  However, when we mentioned that we had adapters already built for Quickbooks, he was more than happy to jump on board and go immediately to true integration.

 

He put it this way (I paraphrase):  "It may be 6 months from now, maybe longer, but I will be right back here starting the process all over again. So, why not just do it right the first time?". Sure, it took a little more effort to get his house in order, but in a few short weeks, PO’s were moving back and forth on Ariba—without fail..

 

If you haven’t read Marty’s story about Integrating to the Ariba Network, check it out. Sometimes art (or a comic strip) really does mimic life.

 

                                                                                                          
VIEW MARTY'S STORY

Yesterday, we discovered what predictive analytics meant. Today, we'll share how it can do for your company.

 

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Why does predictive matter for your company?

The ability to make good predictions can literally make or break your organization. And while you may have a business scorecard, you need to ask: is my scorecard smart enough? If you’re still using traditional reporting solutions that answer questions about what happened last quarter, the answer is no. Though historical reporting has value, it’s a look in the rearview mirror—telling you what has happened rather than what will happen. Predictive analytics flips that equation, enabling you to look forward so you can avoid wrong decisions and make the right ones to gain strategic advantage. For example, predictive analytics might help you:

 

  • Identify hidden revenue opportunities within your customer base
  • Retain your high-value customers, employees, and partners with the right retention offers
  • Enable your call center agents to delight customers with the best next-step recommendations
  • Build long-term customer/employee/partner relationships with intelligent interactions

 

If you think all this sounds a bit futuristic, think again. Innovative predictive technologies are already enabling many companies to achieve these goals and more. For example, SAP Predictive Analysis helps organizations use the power of predictive across multiple business functions, and SAP InfiniteInsight automates modeling and deployment tasks to make predictive analytics available to users in diverse operational environments. “These tools make it easier for end users to define predictive models for their particular areas,” Tucker says.

 

While there’s still a ways to go before predictive becomes the norm for every business, inroads are visible in many areas (see sidebar). Tucker likes the story of the Oakland A’s. As depicted in the movie Moneyball, the A’s successfully used predictive analysis to identify and fill the positions needed to produce a championship team—despite having the lowest payroll in all of baseball. “It’s a fantastic example of how an organization used predictive models to identify the right talent required to achieve their objectives,” Tucker notes.

 

Who's using predictive today?

Industries

  • Utilities use smart meters to effectively track consumption in neighborhoods and homes, then compare that with environmental data to predict upcoming energy needs on the grid and take corrective action as needed.
  • Healthcare organizations use predictive to map patient outcomes for specific treatments and anticipate where the market’s headed on new technologies and protocols—enabling them to staff appropriately, invest wisely, reduce hospital readmittance, and cut costs.
  • Retailers employ mobility and location tools to predict and drive what consumers will purchase--for example, stores can text passersby with sale alerts about the specific items they most want to buy.
  • Telecoms use predictive to monitor customer usage trends and get notified when consumption falls so they can take steps to secure shaky accounts.

 

Functional groups

  • Sales teams use predictive to assess the likelihood of a deal closing in a given quarter, prescribe corrective action if needed, and correctly forecast revenues. Mobility tools give sales reps on-the-spot awareness of the probable price a customer is willing to pay.
  • Staffing/HR targets the best candidates through predictive. For example, the Navy SEALs use a sophisticated model to identify those applicants most likely to make it through the strenuous and costly BUD/S training, increasing success rates while protecting their investment.
  • Business planning, forecasting, and budgeting are predictive models and core, data-driven activities that every business uses. They also help companies gain competitive advantage, identify new revenue opportunities, increase profitability, improve customer service, and drive operational efficiencies—all named as top predictive benefits in a recent Ventana Research survey.

 

Tomorrow: we'll cover steps for best practices

If you don't want to wait, go to our Supply Lines group to read the full article.

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