A network-based business partnership as the next step in the evolution of B2B collaboration
The idea of building a partnership based on trust, mutual support, and caring about the community, of which one is an integral part, has become more relevant during the coronavirus pandemic. Responding to the needs of companies seeking to strengthen their supply chains and simplify procurement processes in a challenging business environment, at this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference, SAP representatives announced a plan to create a global business network combining Ariba Network, SAP Logistics Business Network, and SAP Asset Intelligence Network. The purpose of SAP Business Network is to improve cooperation between organizations, provide a platform for responding quickly to changing market conditions, and support sustainable development. Let’s take a closer look at the new SAP initiative and its benefits for buyers and suppliers.
What is SAP Business Network and what networks does it integrate?
SAP intends to build the world’s largest business community that, by connecting trading partners, will offer a platform for cooperation and comprehensive supply chain management. Members of the new SAP Business Network will be able to strengthen relationships with contractors via a unified portal. More efficient collaboration between business partners will increase the value of the entire system according to the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
SAP Business Network integrates three networks:
- Ariba Network, as an integral part of SAP Business Network, facilitates transactions, strengthens relationships between buyers and suppliers and provides a complete overview of the document flow and the strategic & operational procurement process.
- SAP Logistics Business Network is an open logistics network that facilitates stakeholder collaboration, exchange of documentation with key business partners, transaction management, and gaining transparency across the entire value chain. Network members can monitor purchasing, sales, delivery, and support shippers in working with third-party logistics providers.
- SAP Asset Intelligence Network is a cloud-based business network for optimizing asset performance, collecting and tracking equipment usage information in a central repository. Network members can connect with asset owners, manufacturers, operators, or service providers to share performance analytics.
How does SAP Business Network change the paradigm of collaboration between a company and external suppliers?
Modern organizations face many challenges – they operate in an increasingly competitive marketplace, must keep up with changing industry trends, increasingly complex consumer demands, and reduce their environmental footprint. Under such conditions, companies are looking for solutions to respond to dynamic technological changes, disruption of global supply chains, and to achieve the greatest possible information coverage of their products and services.
The concept of creating a global business network is the next step in the evolution of collaboration based on mutual benefit, development and growth. The idea behind the enterprise’s network ecosystem is to change the perception of the business environment from a linear one to a network one that meets the companies’ current needs. This approach is expected to increase supply chain transparency and simplify procurement processes through fully digital collaboration between the purchasing organization and its suppliers. SAP Business Network provides trading partners with a technology platform for more effective cooperation to maximize mutual benefits and achieve operational excellence.
How does SAP Business Network help organizations improve operating models and increase efficiency?
Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time building connections with trading partners outside the four walls of their own company, in particular with distributors, freight forwarders, logistics providers and asset owners. Through the SAP Business Network, suppliers can gain insight into the customer data they work with, monitor orders, invoices, and shipments, and perform fundamental activities to maintain stable operations.
The new business network from SAP will allow you to connect with your trading partners through a single portal and continue working with them by sharing real-time data and simplified workflows. In addition, members can use the network to forecast opportunities & disruptions effectively and then make decisions to adapt processes and implement improvements. Industry KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) will allow you to analyze company performance and anticipate supply chain difficulties before delays impact customers and disrupt organizational stability.
In what direction is Ariba Network evolving from a buyer and supplier perspective?
Ariba Network, the world’s largest marketplace, is evolving into a unified, collaborative business platform. With Ariba Network, buyers manage the entire sourcing process from source to settlement, find new ways to save money and build an ethical supply chain, whereas suppliers simplify the sales cycle, reduce costs, find new customers and improve cash flow.
Ariba Network users gain new planning capabilities across the entire supply chain, as well as access to data and metrics describing process performance of companies in different regions using various systems. Among many benefits offered by Ariba Network, particularly worth mentioning are increased resilience to process malfunctions, reduced risk of supply disruption, and transparency in the procurement & sourcing process.
What benefits will arise from integrating SAP Logistics Business Network with the SAP Business Network trading partner platform?
To continue to thrive in a rapidly changing business environment, you need a transparent, flexible, and secure supply chain that allows you to collaborate with multiple stakeholders and execute logistics transactions in the most streamlined way possible. SAP Logistics Business Network was built to achieve those goals. Members can integrate logistics and transportation management processes, supervise the entire order lifecycle, gain insight into goods in transit, and notify stakeholders in advance of deviations from the plan.
The open Logistics Business Network enables efficient freight management through standardized collaboration and analysis, establishing a chain of trust in the upstream and downstream product structure, tracking goods and identifying materials. In addition, SAP Logistics Business Network gives users insight into key performance indicators across regions, networks, and applications, facilitating real-time decision-making and reducing logistics costs. The new Logistics Business Network offers multiple values, including increasing supply chain resilience by responding immediately to unwanted fluctuations, reducing environmental impact through optimal freight management, and tracking the origin of material from raw material to a complete product.
What is SAP Asset Intelligence Network and what benefits does it offer?
To run secure operations, maximize efficiency, and collaborate more effectively with suppliers and service providers, organizations need a holistic view of asset management. As part of the SAP Business Network, the cloud-based SAP Asset Intelligence Network allows users to communicate spare parts and service needs, facilitates asset management, and enables sharing of best practices for optimal machinery park utilization.
By using SAP Asset Intelligence Network, you can effectively manage your company’s production capacity, plan service downtime & repairs, collaborate with equipment manufacturers, and create digital “images” of equipment and unified data sets describing them. As a result, members of the new business network from SAP reduce operating and storage costs, reduce downtime and minimize related expenses.
In what direction will business networks evolve in the coming years?
Building a global network is a bold step to connect suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and service providers, centralize data and remove communication barriers. As the marketplace continues to change and customer expectations evolve, entrepreneurs will leverage their network of trading partners to improve processes, enhance business capabilities and deliver increasingly innovative products and services.
By simplifying collaboration and sharing information in real-time, you’ll have up-to-the-minute knowledge of customer needs, shipment locations and order status. Not only will network members be able to streamline procurement workflows, but they will also anticipate risks and opportunities based on a consistent version of the data, organize preventive maintenance activities for equipment, and gain transparency throughout the entire supply chain. As a result, the global economy will transform into a networked economy.
SAP’s unified business network will become a vital hub for business collaboration. With a global partner network, companies’ assets can be better utilized and joint decisions supported by analysis of shared data can be made with greater confidence. The sum of these values will far exceed what each organization could achieve if it pursued its goals on its own.
- On 14/01/2022