SAP Ariba is a software company that provides cloud-based procurement, spend management and supply chain services that enable suppliers and buyers to connect and do business globally. The technology SAP Ariba offers is designed to help companies negotiate better agreements with suppliers and provide better visibility and control over spending.
Uses of SAP Ariba products
SAP purchased Ariba in May 2012 for about $4.3 billion. Ariba, founded in 1996, became SAP Ariba in 2016. Since then, SAP Ariba has added functionality to its supply chain management services to help companies source and procure materials, analyze spending, and manage suppliers.
For example, in 2017, SAP Ariba introduced Guided Buying, Supplier Management, Supplier Risk, Direct Materials Sourcing, Supply Chain Finance, Cloud Integration Gateway and Extension Studio, features designed to make the procurement process seamless, integrate it with other business processes and gain real-time insight into the supply chain, according to the company.
One of these features, Supplier Risk, which helps companies assess supplier risk in a number of categories, has become a major focal point for SAP Ariba. The company promotes the idea that with more responsible supplier risk assessment, companies can procure with a purpose -- that is, a company can do good in the world by using supply chains, for example, to expose forced child labor. Such messaging appears to resonate with SAP Ariba customers.
The Ariba Network
Although many of these SAP Ariba features are available separately, they are also the foundation of the Ariba Network, an SAP HANA-powered, cloud-based B2B marketplace where buyers and suppliers can find each other and do business within a single networked platform.
The platform, which as of March 2018 had more than 3 million buyers and suppliers and more than $1.7 trillion in transactions, is designed to provide a user-friendly interface familiar to anyone who shops online. Like eBay or Amazon, the Ariba Network supports both sellers and buyers.
The platform provides sellers with the ability to manage catalogs, bids, purchases and invoices and it provides buyers with the ability to search for suppliers, negotiate savings, procure goods and services, and track spending. Unlike consumer marketplaces, however, the Ariba Network has additional features to help with RFQs, RFPs, RFOs, compliance and other business concerns.
SAP Business Network
SAP Ariba is also a primary component of the SAP Business Network, a collection of companies that SAP acquired to spur its move from being an on-premises business applications company to a cloud services provider.
Other elements of the network include Concur and Fieldglass, purchased in 2014 for $9 billion and $1 billion, respectively. Concur provides travel and expense management software; Fieldglass handles temporary and contract workforce management.
Competitors to SAP Ariba include Oracle, IBM Emptoris, Coupa, Zycus, BirchStreet Systems and Proactis, among other vendors.