Using cloud services to extend in-house processes: At CeBIT 2015, SAP presents a road map highlighting the benefits of business networks.
SAP is sending out a clear message at CeBIT that is serious about business networks. At the beginning of 2015, SAP set up a new Business Network division that is represented on its Global Managing Board by Concur CEO Steve Singh. That’s not all. In advance of CeBIT, Rolf Weiland revealed some of SAP’s plans to integrate the B2B networks it acquired with Fieldglass, Ariba, and Concur. Three-quarters of all business transactions worldwide now pass through SAP systems.
The USP of B2B: Use cloud for what cloud does best
“Though these transactions begin and end at SAP,” says Weiland, vice president of SAP’s Network Growth organization. “Companies move their data to the cloud and use the community where it makes sense.” That is a USP because it saves companies the effort of integrating Concur’s travel and expense management, Fieldglass’ contingent workforce management, and Ariba’s invoice management.
The combination of open business networks comes into its own when, for instance, a company wants to hire a database administrator for a few months and book a business trip to Africa, says Weiland. Originally, looking for personnel (Fieldglass), arranging business travel (Concur) and accounting for these transactions required three different platforms. They will gradually becoming one, and all these services will be billable in Ariba in the future.
We are not quite there yet but the timeline is as follows:
- In the second quarter of 2015, businesses will be able to transmit Fieldglass invoices to the Ariba platform and process them there. That way, SAP uses the strengths of the Ariba platform and expands this network.
- SAP has similar plans for Concur for early next year. From the first quarter of 2016, the Ariba platform will be able to process travel agent, hotel, taxi, and hotel invoices captured in Concur.
- Usability is what defines the latest generation of software. That’s why new interfaces follow SAP Fiori design standards. SAP is creating several thousand new screens, and by the end of 2015 Ariba services will also have the SAP Fiori look. Fieldglass will get the SAP Fiori makeover six months later, followed by Concur six months after that.
- Since mid-2014, businesses have been able to use Ariba to process direct materials orders and scheduling agreement releases. SAP plans to enable businesses to exchange outsourcing and forecasting processes through the network from the third quarter of 2015. By the end of 2015, all Ariba applications will be available on SAP HANA for extremely fast analyses and forecasting.