Fall. In North America, this is the time of year when the kids are back in school, the days get shorter, temperatures cool down, and the leaves on trees start to change color in many places. Fall is my favorite season for lots of reasons. First, I get to watch all the sports I love, such as college football, NHL hockey, and the baseball playoffs. Second, it’s when we celebrate my three most family-oriented holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. And third, it’s when I typically take time to pause and reflect on what has happened during the course of the year.

 

Wow! 2016 has been a crazy, busy year already, filled with significant “firsts” both globally and locally. For example, the historic Rio Olympic Games were a first for the country of Brazil, and showcased a number of countries earning gold or other medals for the very first time. Closer to home, with the American presidential election just a few weeks away, the US will see its first woman elected to this office, or possibly a reality TV personality. And on a more personal level, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with many of our great supplier customers at our three SAP Ariba Live events – including our first-ever conference held in in Singapore! During these discussions, two major themes emerged, with people
telling me they attended to:

  • Hear and learn more about our planned and new innovations, and
  • Network with and learn from other customers.

Several first-run innovations caught the greatest interest, including:

  • The Ariba Network UI: Misumi complimented the new UI, saying it is “gorgeous”; Lexmark shared how the UI made it easier for
         users to navigate; and Ricoh noted how the UI made the process of onnecting to Ariba Network easier.
  • Ariba Spot Buy: Various suppliers, including ErgoWorks and JP Promotional Products, were excited to use and hear about the
         Ariba Spot Buy solution.
  • Ariba Supplier mobile app: HP Enterprise and several other customers praised the mobile app and the power of the mobile experience.
  • Seller Showcase: UnbeatableSale.com and Armed Forces Construction expressed appreciation for the chance to participate in our
         first-ever Seller Showcase, which gave them a unique way to promote their  business at the conference and beyond.

 

And nearly all customers I spoke with were excited about the networking opportunities:

  • JP Promotional Products shared that the most valuable aspect of attending SAP Ariba was the networking, and how someone they met at a lunch last year resulted in a new customer relationship.
  • An attendee from Singapore liked how the event brought together buyers, sellers, vendors, and partners in one place to collaborate.
  • Many customers commented on how the event helped them meet new buyers and learn from  other suppliers.

 

2016 has already been an extraordinary year, and I expect there will be more firsts to come – not just during the next three months, but also moving into 2017. Stay apprised of what’s ahead – bookmark SAP Ariba Events for updates and mark your calendar to attend SAP Ariba Live at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas March 20-22, 2017.