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It seems like every day, there’s a new example of how the digital economy is transforming our world. In my blog earlier this year after SAP Ariba Live, I talked about how the rapid advances in technology that have revolutionized consumer commerce were starting to reshape business commerce and procurement. And in my conversations with buyers and suppliers at global industry events over this past year, one theme has remained constant: the need for business commerce and procurement solutions that are not just smarter and more open, but simpler to use…all with the goal of driving new levels of business impact.

Buying and selling simple does not mean being simplistic. It means that whatever business commerce process you’re trying to perform—whether it’s finding a new vendor, responding to an RFI, submitting an invoice, or making a payment—just works, without all the hassles. And while the computing power behind tools that support these tasks may be substantial, the user experience is simple. Think about what it’s like when you use the weather app on your mobile device: within seconds you get the forecast for your specific location, and that’s all you care about. The technology delivering that information is extremely advanced, but as an end user, what matters to you is the simple experience.

The latest SAP Ariba release brings that same high-powered simplicity to business commerce and procurement. By introducing a whole new wave of innovations that encompass every aspect of the way today’s companies buy and sell, this release represents a huge step forward in creating the simple user experience they want.

Innovations that start the future

So how can buying and selling simple help you thrive in the digital economy? By enabling you to:

  • Optimize collaborative business processes with your trading partners across procurement, finance, supply chain, sales and marketing

  • Collaborate effectively on business documents such as quotes, orders, invoices, and payments

  • Respond and adapt quickly to changing market demands

  • Empower employees with the tools and information to perform at their peak, without the hassles

  • Free up resources to foster creativity, drive best practices, and re-imagine the way you do business

It sounds like a tall order. Yet through the new innovations, these goals have become more achievable than ever before. Powered by a vast amount of technological sophistication, they build on the capabilities of existing SAP Ariba solutions to make business commerce and procurement simple. And they deliver on this promise through four key components:

  1. End-to-end business automation. For most companies, B2B automation works like a partly assembled jigsaw puzzle: though some parts fit together, the missing pieces make it impossible to connect the whole picture. But new innovations are filling those gaps, creating an integrated, end-to-end platform that automates collaborative business processes for buyers and suppliers alike. For example, Supply Chain Finance provides a global, multi-funder supplier financing platform that helps both sides meet their cash management goals. Direct Materials Sourcing expands spend coverage with an end-to-end solution that brings cost optimization and risk controls into direct materials.

  2. A consumer-like user experience. The friendly features and functionality on consumer sites like Amazon and eBay make it easy for customers to buy. Guided buying brings that same engaging experience to business purchases, with the added controls procurement organizations desire. It gives employees a simple, intuitive way to find what they need from preferred suppliers, make purchases that comply with procurement guidelines, and quickly complete their transactions— saving them time and effort while helping procurement better manage spend.

  3. Adaptability to business processes and policies. To maintain agility, companies need solutions that align with the way their business works, rather than the other way around. With Extension Studio, users can extend and enhance SAP Ariba cloud solutions using drag-and-drop tools to quickly create forms and tailor business processes—without reliance on IT or external services. And the Cloud Integration Gateway enables suppliers to meet all their buyers’ integration requirements all at once, eliminating the need for time-consuming point-to-point customizations.

  4. Network intelligence. Taking advantage of real-time data and analytics across your applications, third-party data services, and the Internet is critical to making informed decisions on the fly. Network intelligence helps you make sense of this information and delivers what you need to know, when you need to know it…along with the capabilities to act immediately on that information. For example, the Supplier Management solution portfolio delivers a 360-degree view of suppliers, combining vendor master information, predictive intelligence, performance management, and risk insights all in one place, along with tools that support effective onboarding, qualification, segmentation, and more.

Simple business commerce and procurement is no longer just a far-off dream in the future. It’s here today, with new technologies that help your business run faster, perform better, and truly succeed in the digital economy. Through the launch of these innovations—and many more on the horizon—SAP Ariba is setting industry standards to advance business commerce and procurement into a new realm of possibility.

Be sure to attend SAP Ariba Live March 20-22 in Las Vegas to learn what’s ahead and become part of this exciting momentum.