As a Solution Manager at Ariba I am asked to do a variety of things from coming up with terminology for a new feature to finding creative solutions to customer problems. One of the best parts of my job is coming up with new ideas to make our customers job easier. Recently I was showing Google Earth on my iPad to my twin boys and my son said, "Hey Dad can we look at the Great Wall of China?" I spun the globe over to China and zoomed in. My other son said, "Lets go look at the Eiffel Tower in France." I spun the globe and zoomed in to show the Eiffel Tower. My son exclaimed, "That's awesome!" It is pretty awesome that with a flip of the finger on an iPad I can travel and view the world from space.
So it started me thinking about how cool would it be if I could see the companies on the Ariba Network on the globe of Google Earth. Ok, but is there a whole lot of value in seeing some company show up in some region of the world? I would need a way to filter out suppliers in a particular category. I would also want a way to filter out suppliers that just worked with my company and even further refine them to show strategic suppliers, maybe I could show them in a different color. What if the dots representing the companies could be displayed to show the risk or performance of the company? A small dot represents low risk and a larger dot represents high risk. So now I have this different way of viewing high risk companies that I do business with in a particular category, but wouldn't it be great to know if I had risk in my supply chain as well? What if my suppliers were connected to their suppliers with lines and shown on the globe representing the supply chain? I could then provide a visualization of the data to show where my supply chain was missing mitigation strategies in the supply chain. I could easily take this a step further and with the touch of the finger or the click of the mouse on one of those companies it could show me alternative supply sources which existed on the Ariba Network.
Do you like the idea? It is fun to imagine about the possibilities regardless of the overall merit of the above idea. So what new feature would you like to see us add in one of our solutions?