sap-ariba-live-vegas-emily-rakowski-quote-fb.jpgDr. Seuss, beloved children’s author, had a birthday this month. And as I look forward to attending SAP Ariba Live in a few days, his words are on my mind. “You can think about red, you can think about pink” goes the story in the Seuss classic “Oh, The Thinks You Can Think.” If you are a sourcing and procurement professional, the SAP Ariba Live event is your chance to change your lens, look in different directions—and get thinking!


The theme of the event is “Simple, Smart, Open”—which I see as the new paradigm of B2B commerce. It’s fluid processes. Transparent information. And win-win relationships between buyers, suppliers, and their mutual customers. What does simple, smart and open mean to you as a sourcing and procurement professional? What does it mean to your suppliers? To your internal stakeholders?


As working professionals, we rarely have time to stop and imagine how things could be different. We’re too busy managing our jobs, leading our teams, and reacting to what’s directly in front of us. Conferences get you out of that rut by immersing you in an environment of education—live and in-person. At SAP Ariba Live you can get inspired by great thinkers from WIRED magazine, NYU Stern School of Business, and Shark Tank. You can exchange ideas with thinkers from your peer group. And you can attend dozens of breakout sessions led by thinkers that understand your professional world like no one else.


But I also like to jump ahead to what happens after the event…when you start to meld what you just learned with what you already know about your particular organization and its particular needs. And you come back to work recharged and reinvigorated. Because thinking about the issues, innovations, and topics that matter to your profession is fun. It’s enriching. And it’s how you grow—as a person and as an organization.


So, with a nod to Dr. Seuss and the joy of learning, here are my top 10 picks for the SAP Ariba Live sourcing and procurement breakout sessions that I think will give you the most “thinks.” (You can find recommendations for finance sessions here.)


  1. Building a Network in the Digital Age
  2. Digital Economy: How Hyperconnectivity Will Reshape the World of Procurement and Help Manage Your Indirect Spend, featuring IDC
  3. Spend Analysis: What Your Data Is Telling You and Why It’s Worth Listening, featuring SCE, AbbVie, Oldcastle Materials Inc
  4. Strategic Sourcing in the Digital Economy, featuring Aryzta and Scott's Miracle Gro
  5. Spot Buy: Experience Convenience and Take Control of Your Non-Contracted Spend, featuring Pfizer and Westinghouse
  6. Deep Dive into Direct Materials Innovations
  7. Zen and the Art of Supplier Management, featuring Country Financials, Cabot, and Sitel
  8. Supply Chain with a Conscience, featuring Generous Ventures
  9. New Power Duos: CPO/CIO and CFO/CIO: Getting Procurement, Finance, and IT on the Same Page ft. Booz Allen, Verizon, National DCP
  10. What Issues are Top of Mind for CPOs? We Asked Hundreds of Them - and We’re Ready to Tell All, featuring Deloitte Consulting LLP


Emily Rakowski is Global VP, Audience Marketing at SAP Ariba. SAP Ariba Live 2016 will be in Las Vegas, Nevada March 14 through March 16. If you haven’t already done so, you can register here.