SAP Ariba President Barry Padgett Reimagines the World’s Biggest Business Network for Cloud 2.0

Newly appointed president of SAP Ariba, Barry Padgett, isn’t satisfied with being the world’s No. 1 B2B commerce network.

In this exclusive conversation, Padgett talked about the incredible transformation in store for companies relying on SAP Ariba for trusted business, outlining his vision for the intelligent, personalized, and infinitely open network that’s leading industries into cloud 2.0.

What do you see as the future of SAP Ariba and business networks?

Get ready for a complete transformation in how businesses transact. Just as it has in the past, SAP Ariba is going to lead this transformation. We’ve built a very powerful community in the Ariba Network, totaling three times the combined annual commerce of Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba.

That’s a great start. But as the world’s largest business network, we have a responsibility to expand this vibrant ecosystem, and make it even more open, inclusive, and collaborative. We are reimagining the experiences of both buyers and sellers so that commerce operates the way they want it to and the way it ought to. Think purchasing orders that write themselves based on what you’ve ordered in the past before you run out of items so that all you need to do is click a button and approve them.

As part of SAP, we’re in a unique position to make this vision a reality. To really be valuable, networks have to network. Connecting SAP Ariba to solutions like SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP Concur, SAP Fieldglass, and SAP Hybris, we can create the mother of all networks, and deliver a unique experience where companies manage all their spend and trade relationships in one place in a consumer-like, intelligent, and compliant way that’s unlike anything else in the market.

SAP Ariba is reimagining the buyer/seller experience so commerce operates the way they want it to #makeprocurementawesome

What are you most excited about in taking on this new role? 

This is an incredible business with unlimited opportunities. There aren’t many companies generating over 1 billion dollars in subscription revenue and growing more than 35 percent. And SAP Ariba is a pioneer. Like Concur, where I came from, it began as an on-premise company and progressed to the cloud long before other competitors’ models even existed. We’ve powered an amazing wave of innovation and technology that’s become the industry standard. Now we’re inventing the next wave of cloud 2.0 with multi-node ecosystems. But we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible. And that’s what excites me.

You turned travel and expense reporting on its head. Can you do the same for procurement?

SAP Ariba has already turned procurement on its head. The question is what can we do now that we have over 20 years of customer relationships and insights, and a network where more than 3 million buyers and sellers transact over $1.6 trillion annually?  The answer is just like Concur, we’re going to leverage innovations such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things to make procurement more personal, contextual, and intelligent. We’ll have people excitedly nodding in agreement rather than rolling their eyes when they hear the word “purchasing.”

What can customers expect from SAP Ariba in 2018?

Commerce is a two-way street, and the solutions used to drive it need to benefit both buyers and sellers. In 2018, you’re going to see additional capabilities on the Ariba Network that create value for suppliers and transform the way they connect and collaborate with their customers. Every time we talk about total spend management on the buy side, that’s customer relationship management on the sell side. We will bring tons of innovation and value to that side of the equation, and we’re going to deliver it with incredible speed.

As we expand our global footprint, we’re going to build out our capabilities and invest in infrastructure. Customers will see more innovation in how we manage data and help them navigate regulations and compliance requirements like GDPR.

What can people attending the upcoming SAP Ariba Live event in Las Vegas expect?

This year marks nearly two decades this show has been going on, and it keeps getting bigger and better. Thousands have already registered, and they’re going to get a preview of what the world could be like tomorrow without the boundaries and constraints imposed by technology today. Whether they’re in procurement, finance, IT, or sales and marketing, we’re going to help them reimagine their functions – and their roles within them – and arm them with information and solutions they can use to turn their visions into reality. And then we’ll pack up and take the show to Amsterdam!

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