In 1996, a cloud-based innovative solution was developed by a company called Ariba that allows buyers and suppliers to do business on a single platform. In the beginning Ariba was a b2b company to do procurement over the internet and it soon became the first internet-based procurement company to do an IPO in 1999. SAP purchased Ariba in May 2012 and it became SAP Ariba in the year 2016.
At the crux of it, SAP Ariba is a software company that provides cloud-based procurement, supply chain services and spend-management that makes it possible for suppliers and buyers to connect and do business globally. It enables companies to negotiate better agreements with suppliers and provides better transparency and control over spending.
It has features designed to make the procurement process seamless, gain real-time insight into the supply chain and enable source-to-settle digital transformation for buyers and sell-to-settle digital transformation for suppliers. Some of these features are:
Guided buying: A persona-based application that provides users outside the procurement group, a place to search for goods and services, make purchases with no involvement from the procurement departments. It captures the organization's purchasing policies and uses them to guide casual users into outcomes then need.
Supplier Risk: It helps companies assess supplier risks in a number of categories. The tool shows that comprehensive and continuous risk assessments can be integrated into the procurement process. This enables timely, contextual and informed decisions and also reduces risks to company’s finances, business operations and reputation.
Supply Chain Finance: It reduces supply chain risks by helping suppliers access low-cost alternative financing and, transforms payables from liabilities to strategic assets. Not only that, it also boosts the capture of early payment discounts, extend days payable outstanding, and enhances free cash flow.
Strategic Sourcing: It functions as a closed-loop, digital, source-to-contract process for direct and indirect material sourcing. Additionally, it extends the functionality of industry-leading sourcing solutions into managing requirements for direct material sourcing. The result is improved efficiencies across all spending categories, higher savings, contract compliance and much more.
Integration Solutions: SAP Ariba enables users to unify their apps, data, processes and devices on a single platform by integrating them with the company's existing backend solutions and ERPe. A single platform improves management of all spends and analyzes all global purchases for better optimized procurement results.
These features even though available separately, are the foundation to the SAP Ariba Network, a SAP HANA powered, cloud-based marketplace where buyers and suppliers can find each other. A network that supports both buyers and suppliers all the same, and has over 3 million of them with more than $1.7 trillion in transactions between the two.