Race car drivers have pit crews. Star athletes have coaches. Heads of state have cabinets. And as an Ariba seller, you have the Commerce Assistance team.
Even if you’re a whiz at e-commerce, sometimes you just want personalized advice—especially if you’re looking for ways to up your e-commerce game. That’s where the Commerce Assistance team comes in. As one of the newer resources among the various support services you can use, the Commerce Assistance team functions as a best practice center to help sellersi drive more value from their Ariba® Network account.
“Think of us as a middle layer of help that’s more involved than Customer Support, but not like a long-term engagement with an assigned account manager,” explains Commerce Assistance associate Dina Deutsch. For CJC Technologies, a leading seller of enterprise software solutions for commercial real estate lenders and service providers, that kind of support proved key in helping the company add new assets to its e-commerce portfolio.
Making the Connection
CJC’s first encounter with Commerce Assistance occurred when Dina made an outreach call to principal Kent Waltman. Prior to their connection, CJC was using the Ariba Network to invoice one of its largest clients and had responded to several customer RFPs through the Ariba Discovery™ service.
“Invoicing with our client is a smoother and more efficient process than what we used previously, with an audit trail and progress reporting that give us information and trackability,” Kent says, noting that faster payment has been valuable too. “For a small company like ours, cash flow is important. If we can shave 10 days off our processing time—a 60-day wait to get paid versus 45—that means something.” CJC also landed one piece of new business via Ariba Discovery.
Beyond those instances, however, the company’s SMP membership seemed more of an expense than an asset, so learning about additional features in their subscription package that could help grow their business came as a welcome surprise. “Working with Dina was a very positive experience—someone reaching out to say ‘Hey, you’re paying for this, here’s some real value you can get from it,’” Kent says.
Uncovering New Opportunities
With Dina’s help, Kent completed the Ariba Ready Basic validation process, enhancing CJC’s visibility in Ariba Discovery searches and making it easier for the company to market its Ariba-savvy status. “We received an Ariba Ready logo that we can put on our profile and our website, which tells prospective clients ‘We know what we’re doing in Ariba, if you need to work with us there,’” Kent notes. He was also pleased to learn that CJC qualified for free Ariba Discovery responses, which will be helpful in pursuing new business.
“We welcome the opportunity to explore how we can make sure potential consumers of our product on the Ariba Network—which will mainly be financial institutions—are aware of us, and to put ourselves out there so we get RFPs and so on,” Kent says. “Additionally, if we’re able to connect with existing clients using Ariba and provide better service to them as an experienced Ariba vendor, that makes our company even more difficult to displace.”
Try It…You’ll Like It!
Asked if they would advise other sellers to take advantage of Commerce Assistance team support, CJC says yes. Why? “The reason is very simple—most vendors are probably much like CJC, utilizing Ariba at the behest of a given client or clients,” Kent says. “The possible benefits of being a member of the Ariba Network are not necessarily intuitive, and the feedback and guidance provided by the Commerce Assistance team prove valuable in that regard.”
It’s also helpful to talk to someone directly about potential benefits the Ariba Network offers. “If you’re a busy professional, it wouldn’t necessarily occur to you to go poke around and learn on your own the ways you can get more value on the system,” Kent points out. “We saw the network as a means to an end: keep clients happy, get paid, and get new business. It was just a tool to use in that overall process. Talking with the Commerce Assistance team encourages someone like me to slow down and say ‘Hey, you need to take a look at this,’ and prompt some thought on how to use stuff that we’re paying for anyway.”
To find out how the Commerce Assistance team can benefit your business, write to CommerceAssistance@ariba.com.
i Commerce Assistance team support is available to all sellers at a paid membership level (Select, Premier, Enterprise, or Enterprise Plus) in the Supplier Membership Program (SMP).