Supply Chain Matters does not elect to echo technology vendor announcements unless we feel such announcements should capture the attention of our readers. This week, B2B procurement platform Ariba an SAP Companyprovider Ariba, now an SAP company made a rather noteworthy announcement in conjunction with this provider’s annual Ariba LIVE customers’ conference being held this week. 

The announced application is targeted at managing supply chain risk, and adds predictive analytics capabilities that extend beyond typical B2B supplier management or procurement spend analysis applications. Ariba developers teamed up with Supplier InfoNet, another SAP company to allow users to capture many forms of structured and unstructured information to develop a risk profile among key suppliers.  All of the data and information is captured on an SAP HANA© database platform.

Such information is that currently provided on the Ariba platform that includes structured vendor master data, supplier key performance indicator data, along with financial profile data from external sources. Augmented additional support for capturing unstructured data related to specific suppliers is provided by Supplier InfoNet. That would include news filters involving 160,000 news wires along with social media extracted and other focused unstructured information.  Supplier InfoNet’s leveraged use of the SAP HANA platform provides additional for additional capabilities for predictive analytics to be layered across these combined information streams, allowing for a form of machine learning relative to patterns of information that would correlate with expected outcomes, such a supplier major disruption or failure.  The important benefit for Ariba and SAP centric procurement teams is the ability to capture a much broader array of data and information across multiple systems landscapes with the ability to be more proactively alerted to risk conditions among multiple tiers of the supply and value-chain.

In a brief briefing by Ariba and Supplier InfoNet executives, Supply Chain Matters ascertained that to gain this new supply chain risk mitigation capability, customers will have to incrementally license Supplier InfoNet if they have not already done so.  We were additionally informed that no separate licensing of HANA is required for this functionality. Further, the widely speculated transition of the majority of Ariba functionality to the SAP HANA platform will take far more additional time, with Ariba reluctant to commit to hard timelines. That is not surprising given that a significant amount of existing customers support the Ariba Network with non-SAP databases such as Oracle. However, it seems clear that Ariba’s strategy is committed to gradually transition its data and informational compute functionality to SAP HANA, starting with Ariba Spend Visibility.

Ariba further announced today that AribaPay, a cloud-based B2B payments application, jointly unveiled last year with Discover Financial Services will be offered for general availability in the United States during the second quarter of 2014. The application combines Ariba pre-settlement business collaboration with Discover’s global payments infrastructure to effect supplier payments.  Arlington Computer Products is featured as a lighthouse go-live customer.