The first wave of technology-enabled productivity focused on making employees more effective by simplifying key tasks such as creating documents, presentations and spreadsheets and communicating with other team members. This change was largely driven by the desktop operating system.


The second wave leveraged Web-based technologies to drive greater productivity within particular functions, including Procurement and Human Resources. This advance was driven by the enterprise operating system.


The next wave of productivity is all about enabling more effective commerce by attacking the inefficiencies that remain between companies. This progression will be fueled by Cloud-based platforms.


The solutions delivered on these platforms effectively blur the lines between enterprise technology and communities and allow companies to improve productivity and ultimately profits by:

  • Automating processes to eliminate paper and manual work;
  • Leveraging information to drive process standardization and continuous improvement; and
  • Creating new process models that leverage people and core strengths.

These solutions are delivering results.


For example, there is AGCO Corporation, a pure-play, full-line agricultural equipment manufacturer that uses cloud-based solutions from Ariba to manage its sourcing activities. “We have developed a more precise and fast-paced way of doing business with our incumbent supply base that is highly accepted and respected,” said Michael S. Clem, AGCO’s director of global purchasing for North America. “And there is definitely a sense of best-in-class processes – e-auctions for example.”


IBM has done the same. “We were able to build a software catalog for a client who uses the Ariba Commerce Cloud in less than two weeks,” Patricia Spugani, program director for global web sales strategy with, agrees. “The process was quick and efficient for both the customer and IBM. We were able to transact business very quickly, resulting in increased client satisfaction and a new sales opportunity.”


More Forecast for Procurement in 2011:

Pt. 1: Out with the Old

Pt. 2: Shaking Things Up... Again

Pt. 4: A New Way of Operating


This piece also posted at the Sourcing Interest Group


Kevin Costello is president of Ariba Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based collaborative business commerce solutions.