Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Mark Ross-Smith, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Larry Alton

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

Microservices Expo: Article

Getting a Handle on Spot Buying

SAP’s Ariba teams with eBay to improve rogue B2B procurement for buyers, sellers and enterprises

It remains one of the last bastions of enterprise spend over which companies have little or no control. Yet companies have been loathe to tamper with how their employers and managers buy ad-hoc goods - known as indirect spend, shadow purchasing, or "spot buying."

Now, SAP's Ariba cloud is bringing the best of flexible, innovative spot-buying practices into a more controlled and sanctioned process by teaming with eBay and its B2B marketplace for an integrated, yet dynamic, approach to those indirect purchases not covered by contracts and formal invoicing.

Such scattered, and often unmonitored, spot buying amounts to 15 to 20 percent of a typical enterprise's total purchasing. And so it provides a huge opportunity for improvement, the type that cloud, big-data analytics, and a marketplace of marketplaces approach can best solve. [Disclosure: Ariba is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

The Ariba Networks Spot Buy service was announced today in Orlando at Sapphire by SAP CEO Bill McDermott. "The most intractable CEO issue of our time is complexity," McDermott said in a keynote address Tuesday. "It's getting worse and worse. We see a dream for a simpler SAP, and a simpler customer experience."

Long before the Web, the Thomas Register or vertical industry buyers' catalogs were the mainstays for how many business goods were discovered and procured. There were often done with no contracts, no bids, and no invoices. A material or product was needed, and so it was bought and paid for - fast.

The Web -- and especially Internet search - only increased the ability for those workers in need to find and buy whatever they had to to get their jobs done. Because these buys were deemed "emergency" purchases, or amounted to smaller total amounts, the rogue process essentially flew under the corporate radar.

Under the new Ariba Networks Spot Buy service, major and public online marketplaces are brought into the procurement process inside of SAP and Ariba applications and services. eBay is the first, but Ariba expects to extend the process efficiency to other online B2B markets, said Joe Fox, Vice President of Business Network Strategy at SAP.

Pilot program

The new indirect procurement approach, which will operate as a pilot program between August and December this year, before general availability, will allow those buying through the integrated Ariba Network's Spot Buy services to use eBay's PayPal service to transfer and manage funding, said Fox.

Consistently updated content about B2B goods (services support will come later) will be available to users inside of their existing procurement applications, including Ariba, SAP and later third-party enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, explained Fox. The users can search inside their Ariba apps, including soon-to-be-delivered mobile versions, alongside of their traditional purchasing app services, he said.

"It's consumerizing business," said Fox, adding that users gain convenience and access inside of procurement apps and processes while enjoying ad hoc flexibility and one-click, no-invoice payments from converged markets, catalogs and sanctioned search. Enterprises, on the other hand, gain a new ability to monitor spot buying, analyze it, and provide guidance and curation of what goods should be available to buy - and on what general terms. "It's the best of Web-based buying but with some corporate control," said Fox.

We are facilitating access - with controls and filters - to all the public and third-party content from various markets. It's basically unlimited appropriate content for buyers and seekers.

Eventually, as multiple marketplaces become seamlessly available to procurement apps users, deeper analysis - via SAP's HANA big-data infrastructure on which all Ariba apps and cloud services are being deployed - will allow business to determine if redundancy or waste indicates that the sourcing should be done differently.

The net net, said Fox, is that more unmonitored spending can fall under spot buying, even as some spot buying can move to more formal procurement where bids, negotiation and payment efficiencies such as dynamic discounting can play a role. What's more, analytics can be applied to a whole new area of spend, amounting to higher productivity over many billions of dollars of B2B spending per year worldwide.

"We are not going to build any marketplaces," said Fox. "We are facilitating access - with controls and filters - to all the public and third-party content from various markets. It's basically unlimited appropriate content for buyers and seekers."

These marketplaces will also allow those selling goods and products to gain improved access into the B2B environments (such as the SAP installed base globally) as a new way to go seller-direct with information and content about their wares. New business models and relationships are no doubt bound to develop around that.

Fox said no other business app or procurement services providers have anything like the new offering, one that targets rogue and unmonitored buying by workers using open and aggregated mainstream markets for B2B goods.

You may also be interested in:

More Stories By Dana Gardner

At Interarbor Solutions, we create the analysis and in-depth podcasts on enterprise software and cloud trends that help fuel the social media revolution. As a veteran IT analyst, Dana Gardner moderates discussions and interviews get to the meat of the hottest technology topics. We define and forecast the business productivity effects of enterprise infrastructure, SOA and cloud advances. Our social media vehicles become conversational platforms, powerfully distributed via the BriefingsDirect Network of online media partners like ZDNet and IT-Director.com. As founder and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, Dana Gardner created BriefingsDirect to give online readers and listeners in-depth and direct access to the brightest thought leaders on IT. Our twice-monthly BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcasts examine the latest IT news with a panel of analysts and guests. Our sponsored discussions provide a unique, deep-dive focus on specific industry problems and the latest solutions. This podcast equivalent of an analyst briefing session -- made available as a podcast/transcript/blog to any interested viewer and search engine seeker -- breaks the mold on closed knowledge. These informational podcasts jump-start conversational evangelism, drive traffic to lead generation campaigns, and produce strong SEO returns. Interarbor Solutions provides fresh and creative thinking on IT, SOA, cloud and social media strategies based on the power of thoughtful content, made freely and easily available to proactive seekers of insights and information. As a result, marketers and branding professionals can communicate inexpensively with self-qualifiying readers/listeners in discreet market segments. BriefingsDirect podcasts hosted by Dana Gardner: Full turnkey planning, moderatiing, producing, hosting, and distribution via blogs and IT media partners of essential IT knowledge and understanding.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of C...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, discussed how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy applica...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a leading digital experience intelligence company, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint Systems is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into your customer-critical services to help you consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed for digital business, C...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and E...