6 things I learnt at SAP Ariba Live Barcelona

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Stage at SAP Ariba Live
Main stage at Ariba Live Barcelona

SAP Ariba Live Barcelona isn’t your average conference.

It’s the premier event on the procurement calendar, one that brings together over 3,000 forward-looking professionals from across the supply chain and e-commerce ecosystems.

I attended this year’s event in Barcelona with my colleague Steve Emecz and I must say, it was inspiring and fun to meet so many like-minded people. It was an incredibly productive couple of days and we gained so much from exhibiting and speaking at the event.

A customer-centric approach

The best thing about Ariba Live Barcelona was rubbing shoulders with a thriving community of customers, suppliers, partners, system integrators and consultants, all looking to learn about new technologies and build long-term relationships.

Customers are given a platform so we can learn from their experiences. This year, over 50 entrepreneurs were given a chance to speak and over 300 of them participated in roundtables and workshops, offering valuable and frankly amazing product insights!

Key takeaways from Ariba Live Barcelona

For me, there were 6 main takeaways from the conference.

1. Harmonise the supplier on-boarding process across the intelligent enterprise to deliver a better spending experience

Customers can be sceptical about trying new technologies, so it’s incumbent upon us all to make onboarding as pleasurable as possible. This is an area where CloudTrade shines. As a member of SAP Ariba’s Partner Extension programme, we make it easy to onboard new customers seeking to benefit from intelligent data capture with application generated PDFs.

Indeed, at Ariba Live Barcelona, we launched our new app, which is now available for purchase on the SAP App Center, the digital marketplace for SAP partner offerings. It delivers end-to-end automation of the accounts payable process by which suppliers’ application generated PDF invoices interface with their buyers’ finance applications accommodating ERP/FMS customisations.

By making the document processing experience 100% accurate, including line-level data, our seamless, secure platform delivers rich data insights. With this information, buyers can optimise their spend and reduce overheads for suppliers, unlocking huge unrealised value across the supply chain.

2. Intelligent spend management and integrated business processes to support the procurement ecosystem

Sean Thompson, SVP Business Network & Ecosystem at SAP Ariba pointed out during his presentation that the Ariba Network is not just about buyers – it adds value to suppliers and partners, too. The entire ecosystem benefits when value is unlocked.

3. Easy supplier onboarding across the enterprise to accelerate integration and reducing time and cost.

It’s not just about buyers. Technology providers need to work hard to lower the barriers to entry for suppliers too, giving them confidence that their documents will be accurately received and processed by buyers. CloudTrade makes it easy for suppliers to create application generated PDF invoices, upload to Ariba and benefit from unparalleled access to data and insights without having to manually key in data.

4. End to end integration of business processes through Cloud-enabled services

The cloud has changed the way business commerce works on a fundamental level. It means we can connect buyers and suppliers without the need for local IT infrastructure and the eye-watering costs associated with that. Forget legacy OCR technology. The future is about creating value across the supply chain through digitisation and automation with 100% data accuracy at header and line-level.

5. Delivery of value across the supply chain through process digitisation and automation

Today, digitisation and business process automation are the aims of the majority of organisations seeking to reduce operational costs whilst upgrading the customer offering. In a climate where SMEs are pushing to be paid on time, every time, the ability of buyers to establish seamless and secure connections with suppliers allows invoices to be processed and paid early, or to terms. If you’re a supplier reading this, my colleague, Stewart Jacobsen, offers a practical solution to late payments in his blog.

Securing data accuracy and posting to the ERP upon receipt allows buyers to take advantage of early settlement discounts through the use of supply chain financing, supporting the supply ecosystem.

6. Line-level data to provide intelligent spend insight and a better spending experience

Intelligent data capture facilities guided buying, and guided buying leads to supply chain optimisation. This is a key feature of SAP Ariba, and the combination of header and line-level data that CloudTrade captures is the perfect compliment to this, leading to better procurement decisions. The result is real savings that feed directly through to the bottom line.


It was great to visit Barcelona and reconnect with so many friends and colleagues. SAP Ariba Live’s social media operation was impressive, getting the word out to suppliers and customers globally, and we look forward to keeping in touch via Twitter and LinkedIn.

A big thank you to SAP Ariba for a very well put together event. We’re now looking forward to next year in Berlin.