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As you evolve along the e-commerce maturity curve—moving from reactive mode, where you mainly respond to customer requests, to proactive, where you initiate actions that optimize your e-commerce capabilities to increase value for you and your customers—it’s important to put measurements in place to track progress and document success. And an e-commerce scorecard is a great tool to help you do it.

 

How can an e-commerce scorecard benefit your business?

An e-commerce scorecard gives you a highly effective way to share key metrics that reveal the success of your e-commerce strategy. Why is this important?

  • Enhances buy-in and support at all levels of the organization. When you share measurements, you increase visibility and appreciation for the value of e-commerce at all management levels—including the executive level. For example, hard numbers demonstrating how much of your company’s revenue comes through e-commerce can make management take serious notice. Similarly, when you can show how much money you’re saving on every electronic order that comes in unassisted (like the cost of 10-20 minutes of sales agent time per order) and how much faster you’re getting paid (by five to 15 days or more), executives can better understand the extraordinary potential of e-commerce to lower sales costs and reduce days sales outstanding.
  • Hones your strategy to drive better results. Besides making it easier to socialize your initiatives internally, publishing a clear set of measurements helps you and your team focus on what you really want to accomplish. With the right scorecard metrics, for example, you can see where you need to improve to achieve your goals and meet—or exceed—service levels provided by your competitors. And based on this data, you can make rational decisions about where to invest further. Measurements can also be the key to securing new budget for e-commerce initiatives; the more executives see tangible proof of the value of e-commerce, the easier it is to get funding for e-commerce improvements to grow your team, enhance your e-commerce capabilities, and move further up the maturity curve.
  • Helps you benchmark and improve your market position. Measurements help you objectively assess how competitive your business is relative to other suppliers. For example, you can evaluate whether your services are at least on a par with best-in-class suppliers, and identify and promote specific areas where your performance and capabilities differentiate you from other sellers—which can be critical to finding and keeping customers and driving up sales.

 

Tomorrow: Getting started strategies

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

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. 

 

http://www.ariba.com/go/econcalc/High-Level-Directional-eCommerce-Value-Calculator-British-English.xlsx
  http://www.ariba.com/go/econcalc/High-Level-Directional-eCommerce-Value-Calculator-English.xlsx
  http://www.ariba.com/go/econcalc/High-Level-Directional-eCommerce-Value-Calculator-French.xlsx
  http://www.ariba.com/go/econcalc/High-Level-Directional-eCommerce-Value-Calculator-German.xlsx
  http://www.ariba.com/go/econcalc/High-Level-Directional-eCommerce-Value-Calculator-Spanish.xlsx

 

 

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. 

bestpractices.jpg

Yesterday, we covered the benefits of contract management. Today, we'll share best practices for implementing an automated solution.

 

1. Build a template that’s easy for users to adopt. By designing a wizard-style template to guide various users along a customized path, you can ensure they see only the appropriate tasks, documents, and approval workflows. And to make sure the flow you create will really work, you first need to “know what your process is and get it down on paper,” Martz says. Answer these questions:


  • Who’s asking for the contract?
  • Who will use the system, and what will their roles be?
  • What dollar thresholds
  • Who needs to see which documents, and when

 

You can also gather metrics on how long tasks actually take and use this identify bottlenecks if the process isn’t moving quickly enough, providing a good timeline for your contracts overall.

 

2. Promote contract visibility throughout your company. “Make sure all stakeholders, not just those in sales, really understand the implications of sales contracts,” Dwyer advises. Role-based access along with dashboard self-service search and reporting tools give users the visibility and resources to use CLM effectively.

 

3. Manage risk at the contract and engagement levels. It’s essential to track and understand what’s going on within all contracts—not just some of them, or only those in your own department. You can establish an alert system to help users monitor status and ensure you don’t miss deadlines, fail to fulfill terms and conditions, or overlook legal mandates. For example, automating physician contracts makes it much easier for the Cleveland Clinic to stay compliant not only with internal policies, but state and federal requirements as well, despite rapid growth and a sharp increase in the complexity of healthcare regulations.

 

4. Move from tactical to strategic contract management. “Don’t think of this as just another series of processes that unfortunately you have to do day in and day out,” Dwyer says. “Think about it as more strategic: ‘Hey, if we do this the right way, there’s going to be tremendous value across the organization.’” For example, you can take advantage of the centralized contracts repository and data analytics to inform your negotiations on upcoming contracts. “It’s always interesting to be able to dig into that information and say ‘We signed this contract with this organization four years ago, what were the negotiations like last time, or what was the pricing like last time?’ All that information is very important,” Dwyer says.


 

Learn more

For more information about how automated contract management can deliver value to your business, listen to the full session on the Ariba Slideshare site. To learn about the Ariba Contract Management solution for sales contracts, go to this web page and download this datasheet.


To read the article in full, click here. For latest insights and best practices for collaborative business commerce, go to our Supply Lines group.

integration.png

 

 

Connecting efficiently with customers can make or break your success as a seller. But in today’s global economy, that’s not always so easy. Managing orders, invoices, and other processes across diverse systems, data formats, and geographies can be very challenging, especially if you’re a small or midsized seller. Sure, the right technologies can help solve the problem—but which strategies will work best for your company?

 

Automating your back end is an obvious first step, one most small sellers can afford. And joining open, global B2B platforms like the Ariba® Network gives you a many-to-many way to transact with multiple customers and grow your business.

 

Yet the best results come from integrating the two—helping you supercharge your e-commerce efficiency with touchless transacting so you can compete effectively with even much larger organizations. And thanks to a recent collaborative effort spearheaded by a small seller, now there’s a great new integration option available. Here’s how it happened and what it means for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first step: Automating for efficiency

For TIPS, a small company based in Austria that develops highly reliable, customized microchip testing solutions for corporate customers worldwide, the adoption of SAP Business One has proven vital in supporting the company’s rapid growth. A complete ERP system designed to help small to midsized companies maximize back-end efficiency, SAP Business One offers a cost-effective way to automate management of sales, warehousing and production, inventory, purchasing, financials, customer service, human resources, and other core business functions (see sidebar).

 

After more than a decade of use, TIPS had streamlined its processes significantly through SAP Business One. For example, the company was able to quickly generate accurate orders, goods receipts, and paper invoices by “flipping” them directly from sales quotes—which, due to the non-standard, specialized nature of TIPS products, were extremely detailed and complex—and easily comply with the diverse tax and legal requirements involved in billing and shipping to an international client base.

 

 

Meeting challenge with innovation

So when one of its largest customers decided to move to paperless accounting and requested that TIPS start billing them through the Ariba Network, the company was in a quandary. The options initially presented for TIPS—to submit the customer’s 100+ invoices per month through the Ariba Network web portal, or upload them to the Ariba Network in batches via CSV or cXML—all required manual data conversion or even re-entry of invoice data, a time-consuming task that TIPS was understandably reluctant to take on. While this would reduce costs and add payment efficiency for the customer, it seemed a step backwards for TIPS, adding an extra layer of work to their current paper-based process supported by SAP Business One.

 

Determined to find a better approach, TIPS approached SAP and Ariba and asked: Could we integrate our SAP Business One application to the Ariba Network directly, enabling straight-through electronic processing of invoices for our customer? The answer was yes—if they were willing to help pioneer a unique pilot project to make integration possible not only for TIPS, but other sellers as well. Eager to meet its customer’s needs, TIPS agreed, and the team effort began.

 

 

Collaborating for mutual benefit

The strong commitment to success shared by TIPS, its customer, SAP, and Ariba proved instrumental in making the integration work. Biweekly meetings hosted by Ariba kept all players in touch and on track.

TIPS and SAP.png

 

 

A task list of clear responsibilities and deadlines helped the team achieve specific milestones, including:

 

  1. Upgrading TIPS to a more current version of SAP Business One
  2. Enabling the SAP Integration Framework to connect the TIPS instance of SAP Business One to the customer’s ERP system through the Ariba Network
  3. Helping the customer define and update their invoicing requirements and processes in Ariba, then mapping them to the SAP Integration Framework
  4. Creating a playsheet to capture the necessary inputs and requirements, making the process easily repeatable for future sellers wishing to integrate
  5. Leveraging lessons learned by exchanging wins and best practices with participants in a concurrent SAP Business One/Ariba integration pilot

 

After final testing and installation, go-live was successfully achieved in December 2013.

 

 

Reaping the benefits: Efficiency, transparency, and speedy payment

The integration has transformed efficiency for both TIPS and their customer, making previously manual processes truly touchless. “During the sales process, we can now automatically check our delivery notes against the customer´s purchase orders to ensure that the ship-to address, shipment terms, tax requirements, payment terms, and similar details are accurate,” says Michael Hrobath, general manager of purchasing for TIPS. “After that, the invoice is a simple ‘copy-to’ job—only one checkbox has to be activated for transmission to Ariba.” Invoices go directly from SAP Business One to the customer’s ERP through the Ariba Network, eliminating the effort and expense required to print and mail paper bills or track down lost invoices. The need to double-check delivery notes and POs is gone as well, saving TIPS about five hours a week.

 

The overall ease and speed of the process have led TIPS to shift from weekly invoicing to immediate invoicing, sometimes only seconds after generating delivery notes. And since the customer’s three-point invoice validation process also occurs electronically, cycle times have plummeted, resulting in significantly faster payments for TIPS.

 

Just as important, clear visibility into invoice status via the Ariba Network portal tells TIPS what’s happening with each invoice—whether it’s been received, approved, or is still in process—and exactly when they’ll get paid. This not only lessens dunning work, but dramatically improves the company’s ability to monitor and manage working capital. The result? A smoother, steadier income stream that helps TIPS better allocate its budget and organize projects more efficiently.

 

Because of these good experiences, TIPS has extended invoicing over the Ariba Network to other entities and customers. “We now manage about 60% of our invoices over Ariba,” says Michael, noting that this has boosted savings and efficiency even higher.

 

 

The mouse that roars: Helping small sellers deliver world-class e-commerce

The new integration package makes it simple for any seller using SAP Business One to integrate with customers through the Ariba Network—enabling the touchless transacting that can take your collaborative commerce capabilities to a world-class level. In addition to invoicing, invoice status, remittance advice, and credit notes, the integration package supports fully automatic processing for purchase orders, order confirmations, and advance ship notices, with support for RFQs and quotes currently being developed.

 

 

Learn more

For additional information on how SAP Business One works and the benefits it provides, go to the SAP Business One website. For questions about the new integration package, check out this overview or contact Domnic Savio Benedict at SAP SE (domnic.savio.benedict@sap.com).

contract.jpg

As a seller, you’re often driven by your customer’s contract management process. But when your business reaches a certain level of complexity, not having your own automated contract management solution means you start losing visibility into the contract lifecycle—which can wreak havoc on your company through compliance problems, lost sales from too-slow negotiation cycles or missed renewals, and even legal challenges. In fact, 60% of corporate litigations are related to contract disputes,[i] so reducing that risk through contract automation makes a lot of sense.

 

One expert considers it crucial. Christopher Dwyer, research director for Ardent Partners, notes that up to 75% of all corporate revenues are directly linked to sales contracts—a huge impact that underscores the importance of managing them effectively. Yet many sellers overlook automated contract management, despite the big benefits it can provide. An automated contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution standardizes and streamlines the contracting process, delivering the transparency and collaborative capabilities you need to negotiate and execute sales contracts quickly and efficiently—a key business advantage that can significantly boost your bottom line.

 

Tomorrow: The benefits of automated contract management

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


[i] Source: Fulbright & Jaworski, 2010 Annual Litigation Survey

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