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Two Sisters + One Startup + Ariba Network = A Huge Success

September 10, 2014 by Christine Donato 1

Two sisters in South Africa started with a mission to help the sick and elderly. By joining the Ariba Network, their dream grew into a multi-million dollar global business. Today, 80 percent of their business comes from the automated platform.

Nelson Mandela said: “Perhaps the most important inheritance of our new democratic South Africa has been the rebirth of the dignity of the individual – for without dignity, freedom has a bland taste.”

After living through the iniquitousness of the Apartheid state in their country, in 2000, two sisters in Cape Town, Gheelmeyah Rylands and Ruwayda Tambe, launched a startup company, Sage Health Solutions. They built their business on the belief that hospice workers champion the right to dignity for the terminally ill, that people are infinitely precious, and that even at the end of their lives, the elderly matter most.

To maintain the dignity and comfort of bedridden and terminally ill patients in hospitals and healthcare facilities, Sage Health Solutions provides products including specially made mattresses and pillows covered in a skin-soothing antimicrobial, antibacterial, waterproof fabric. The company manufactures, sells, and distributes a broad range of medical and remedial equipment and supplies to both public and private sector customers. But originally, Sage was only able to respond to RFQs manually, a time-consuming and labor-intensive method of conducting business. With such a complex and archaic system in place, Sage couldn’t possibly grow globally or drive increased innovation.

Simpler procurement with Ariba network

However, in 2010, to do business electronically with the South African government, Sage Health Solutions joined the Ariba Network, and from there business boomed. Sage quickly began experiencing the benefits of simplified and streamlined procurement via the network.

Using the Ariba Discovery service as a lead generation tool, Sage opened doors to new business opportunities with hospitals and private sector organizations both locally and globally. Ariba Discovery provides insight into over 730,000 sellers in 20,000 categories and 190 countries. Thirty-six percent of sellers have a global reach and over 30,000 carry green or diversity certificates. With this service, Sage Health Solutions now has a competitive advantage. Sage has insight into the best prices and can benchmark and negotiate electronically through the network, ensuring that it can offer customers the best price and product.

From a dream to a multimillion-dollar business

Sage is also using Ariba Discovery to be matched with buyers looking for their products. Ariba automatically sends Sage Health Solutions high-quality leads, making its bidding process more efficient and accelerating the sales cycle. Most importantly, being a part of the Ariba Network means that Sage is boosting awareness among its target customers – and the numbers speak for themselves. During its first five years on the Ariba Network, Sage Health Solutions grew from a modest idea to a multi-million dollar business. Today, 80 percent of Sage’s business comes from Ariba’s automated platform.

With greater reach and increased innovation, Sage is providing more patients with an increased product selection to support proper hygiene, protection, and freshness. The two women behind Sage Health Solutions are inspiring. With the help of the Ariba Network, the founders of Sage grew their small startup from a dream to help preserve the dignity of the sick and elderly to a multi-million dollar business reaching customers all over the world. As Nelson Mandela also said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” For the two women behind Sage Health Solutions, they’ve turned a dream into reality.

For more information on Sage Health Solutions and its engagement with Ariba, check out this business transformation slide.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

Connect with Christine Donato: LinkedIn and Twitter.

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