Whew, what a last two weeks! Like many of you, I’ve been locked away in 2017 planning—which meant basically being held prisoner, chained to this process, while my normal job didn’t get done. Working on next year’s goals and budget requests with our SAP Ariba solutions and customer marketing teams made me focus on one key question: What does my team really need to be successful in 2017? As part of that, I’m looking at:

  1. What will help my team be more productive?
  2. Where can we automate?
  3. How can we better use data to make better marketing decisions?
  4. Where do we need to invest?

I realize that many of our SAP Ariba supplier customers are probably going through the same process. With all the innovations announced this year, you’re probably wondering what you should plan for 2017. What will your customers be asking you to do?

If you look beyond just the innovations and consider collaborative e-commerce, regardless of your level of e-commerce maturity, there are actions you can take this year to improve next year. Commit to doing one thing to move up the maturity curve and strengthen your relationships with your customers. 

For those of you that just received your first invitation for collaborative e-commerce, consider this: best-in-class companies attain a 36.1% increase in revenue from new accounts! Here are some steps you can take to achieve similar results:

  1. Learn more about how suppliers are using e-commerce to grow their business and strengthen their customer relationships by reviewing SAP Ariba Live sessions and supplier interviews.
  2. Start identifying specific people within your organization who can formally assume responsibilities for various aspects of your e-commerce initiatives.
  3. Begin to operationalize your ordering/invoicing methods as well as your product content.

If you’ve been doing collaborative e-commerce for a while, note that 39% of suppliers realize an increase in revenue from existing accounts! To make sure you’re one of them, you can:

  1. Optimize your organizational processes and personnel to make e-commerce not just a part of your business, but the core of your business. Always ask, “How can we achieve this with e-commerce?”
  2. Develop an overarching e-commerce initiative to deliver creative and innovative services to your markets.
  3. Invest in technical and data infrastructure to deliver faster, more impactful services, such as business intelligence.

And if you’ve already optimized your e-commerce channels, you can still become best in class by choosing to:

  1. Develop e-commerce capabilities that personalize your customers’ experience.
  2. Change how you sell your products—76.9% of best-in-class suppliers report that the online channel has changed the way they sell, as opposed to only 44.4% of others. For example, go mobile!

 

No matter where you and your company are in your e-commerce journey, as you work on your 2017 budget planning, invest in helping your team to automate repetitive processes, become more productive, and make data-driven business decisions. And be sure to check out the @SAPAriba Innovation Spotlighthttp://ariba.lookbookhq.com/sap-ariba-innovations-spotlight/overviewhttp://C\Users\i852677\Documents\3-M2 Communications 12 - Ariba\Austin's Blogs & Documents\4-2017 Planning 10-16-16\ari.ba\innovationsspotlight/to plan for what your customers will be implementing in 2017.