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Technology Round-up – March 23, 2017 (SAP Ariba Live Edition)

Earlier this week, Matt York and I attended the annual SAP Ariba LIVE conference at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. The event is one of the industry’s largest (~3200 estimated attendees) and covers many topics and trends (We’ll have a few articles covering some of the major themes and presentations from the conference in the days ahead). SAP Ariba also uses the conference to make many announcements. Today’s Technology Round-up is dedicated to several made at the conference.

SAP Ariba Teams with ConnXus to Provide Supply Chain Diversity

SAP Ariba announced a new partnership with ConnXus, the Ohio-based supplier management solution provider that offers a platform focused on helping Fortune 2000 companies connect with and evaluate minority-owned suppliers. ConnXus, which is also a minority-owned business, offers a range of cloud-based applications to help companies achieve their responsible and sustainable sourcing goals. The ConnXus Database allows companies to search for a supplier by location, certifying agency, diversity classification and more. The plans are to connect the ConnXus Database to SAP Ariba Discovery, which is a service for matching business buyers and sellers globally and deliver it on the Ariba Network. Buyers that utilize SAP Ariba Discovery will be able to post RFP. RFQ, and RFI opportunities on the ConnXus platform and vice versa. This partnership is focused on helping buyers to discover and connect with diverse suppliers and create new business opportunities for diverse suppliers as well.

SAP Ariba and Mercado Libre Partner to Consumerize Business Commerce in Latin America

SAP Ariba also announced their plans to bring SAP Ariba Spot Buy, a capability that helps companies find and purchase items, to Latin America. The plans involve a partnership with Mercado Libre Inc., an Argentinian-based e-commerce tech and marketplace company, who will be the first source of supply for SAP Ariba Spot Buy in Latin America. Mercado Libre is an online retail platform in Latin America and has expansive catalogues for indirect goods. Pairing Mercado Libre’s catalogues with SAP Ariba’s business network and cloud-based procurement applications will allow SAP Ariba Spot Buy users to automatically match buyer demand and seller supply in a simplified process for making purchases through a digital marketplace. SAP Ariba Spot Buy will first be rolled out in Argentina soon with additional markets in Latin America, like Mexico, soon to follow.

SAP Ariba Gets in the Blockchain Game with Everledger Partnership

SAP Ariba unveiled plans to leverage blockchain technology across its business network and associated applications through a partnership with Everledger, a London-based Fintech digital ledger company that tracks and protects diamonds and other valuable items, like fine wine and art, as they are shipped. Blockchain is a digital database that captures and aggregates records (or blocks) that can function as a ledger used to facilitate business processes that involve multiple parties. SAP Ariba has partnered with Everledger to create a digital thumbprint that securely captures the item that is being stored on the blockchain. SAP Ariba sees the potential that the Everledger solution can provide to procurement and supply chains through the tracking and tracing of all goods. The partnership plans to extend Everledger capabilities to the Ariba Network to provide more information, such as history, transport, events, and ownership, to better track items and will allow multiple stakeholders across global supply chains to verify authenticity.  The timeline on joint offerings is to be determined.

SAP Ariba Unveils Plan for Procurement Bot to Simplify the Procurement Process

Finally, SAP Ariba unveiled their plans for an enterprise digital procurement bot that will be powered by artificial intelligence. As part of the company’s recent focus on improving the user experience on both sides of the transaction, the new bot will allow users of SAP Ariba’s cloud-based applications to manage key tasks more efficiently. SAP Ariba hopes to enable buyers and suppliers to converse with the application directly to reduce errors and speed up processing. By leveraging machine learning, the bot will be able to learn about user preferences, company policies and procedures, and guide actions. The company says the goal is for this digital assistant to work like Siri or Alexa and interact with users naturally and wherever they are. The SAP Ariba procurement bot, which is still in development is expected to be available to buyers and suppliers by the end of the year.

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