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SAP Ariba reports smooth rollout of new UI

Given a choice, 10% of Ariba users opted for the new user interface in the first three days of its rollout.

Three months after it was announced, SAP Ariba's high-profile overhaul of its user interface (UI) went live, and the company anticipates that users will eventually flock to the new experience.

Released on July 25, the UI was redesigned with a tile-based look and feel based on SAP's Fiori design standards, and new features for mobility and enhanced customer interactions. The rollout went smoothly, according to Mark Dao, senior vice president of engineering and product development at Ariba Inc., based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

"When our customers came to work [after the rollout] they saw a totally new user experience," Dao said. "We rolled this out to more than 7.8 million users, including nearly 1,000 mobile users. And all of this was rolled out across the entire breadth of the [more than 20] languages supported."

Ariba has not forced the new UI, Visual Renewal, on its customer base just yet, instead running both versions simultaneously, allowing users to try the new one and switch over when they are ready, Dao said. "We coined the term 'agile adoption' with this upgrade, which enables a user to see the exact same thing that they saw before -- the 'classic' mode -- but there's an option to move into the new mode, and get the new visuals and the new experience," he said. "Users are able to move back and forth, and if they move back, we're also collecting information from them as to why they moved back and what else we can do to possibly improve the new experience."

Dao said that in the first three days of release, around 21,000, or 10%, of the vendor's active user base had moved over to the new UI, and that many had tried it and said they would make the full switch at a later date.

"We have told our customers that we will not be turning off classic mode for at least six months," Dao said. "It's a gradual introduction and allowing our customers to pick and choose when is the right time for them to start working with their users, and help their users adopt and move across."

SAP, Ariba and OpenText team to deliver B2B managed services

SAP, Ariba and OpenText Corp. are teaming up to offer business-to-business (B2B) managed services. The partnership allows Ariba users with particularly complex integrations to use OpenText enterprise information management (EIM) and managed cloud B2B services.

"Now our customers that need outsourced B2B integration, primarily for complex integrations where they want a managed services-type approach, then we will be able to refer them to OpenText," said Lalitha Rajagopalan, SAP Ariba senior director of network strategy. "They will be able to leverage OpenText's IX [information exchange] portfolio, which basically offers EDI [Electronic Data Interchange], B2B direct materials-type integration."

Rajagopalan explained that the arrangement might be most useful for Ariba sell-side customers who need to manage business processes, such as invoicing for their global buyers who may have complex requirements. "As a seller, you have many buyers, all with many different standards and protocols or different country requirements," she said. "This is a classic scenario where you want to outsource this complexity of end-to-end integration to a managed services vendor who can do the integration."

The customers who may be candidates for OpenText services will be determined on a case-by-case basis, Rajagopalan said. "The ones that we refer to OpenText will be the ones who we determine that what they need is not part of the Ariba Network -- and indeed, what they need is more of a complex, B2B integration and a managed services offering," she said.

OpenText B2B Managed Services provides management of the B2B integration platform OpenText Trading Grid, which is part of the OpenText Cloud. More than 600,000 trading partners currently connect to the Trading Grid, according to OpenText.

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