Editor's note: Since this article was published, SAP has changed the name of the Ariba Network to the SAP Business Network. The other details have not changed.
Are you a supplier that has recently been asked by your customer to start transacting business through the Ariba Network?
If so, you’re not alone. In the past month or so CCP Global has received several emails from suppliers who have been asked to start transacting with their customers through the Ariba Network (which is part of the SAP Business Network) and have no idea where to start.
Or, as one put it: “What am I supposed to click on?”
Some aren’t even sure what the Ariba Network is or why supplier integration is important. Here’s a quick primer:
What is the SAP Business Network (formerly known as the Ariba Network)? It’s a fully digital marketplace where buyers and suppliers connect, communicate, collaborate, and transact business. There are separate areas for buyers and suppliers.
Why does my customer want me on the Ariba Network? Ariba’s automated procurement solutions give companies a lot of visibility into their spend and the procurement processes. However, full transparency relies on their suppliers also using the network to transact business, so that the system can collect that information and generate reports to offer that visibility. This is called supplier integration.
What’s the advantage for my company? Being a part of the Ariba Network, which is becoming a required platform for many companies, can help you, as a supplier, stand out and gain more business because your offerings become more accessible to more potential buyers. In addition, being flexible and supportive of your customer’s goals for automation can strengthen that partnership.
Do I have to have Ariba to get on the Ariba Network? No. Your customer has Ariba and they are essentially inviting you to create a “guest” account so that you can transact with them over the Network. However, when you get an invitation to join from your customer (the buyer) there are things you need to do to get set up on the platform and properly transact with your customers, such as catalog creation. That’s where your Ariba Service Partner can help, especially if you don’t have the type of in-house support needed to perform that onboarding.
Does it cost me anything to create an account? Not usually. There are two types of accounts, a Standard Account, which is free, and an Enterprise account, which offers additional functionality, but has fees associated with it. Those fees depend upon how many features you want or need. You can read more about the two types of accounts here.
Keep in mind, too, that there are several Enterprise account levels, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Do I need an Ariba Network account for each customer? No. Once you have an account you can transact business with any of your customers that also use the Ariba Network.
How can an Ariba Service Partner help me? Experts in Ariba, like CCP Global’s experienced consultants, can help you with catalog creation, purchase order confirmations, billing and other tasks that will fully enable your company on the Network. That’s particularly helpful for companies that don’t have a dedicated in-house IT staff to turn to.
We can help.