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NTT DATA Disrupts Procurement with Real-Time Insights on SAP Ariba

Feature Article | February 7, 2017 by Susan Galer

Demand for digital-related services is exploding, predicted to account for over 70 percent of all external services growth by 2019 according to IDC research.

NTT DATA is helping lead these innovations, partnering with SAP Ariba to bring dynamic, connected services to shared customers across many industries, including companies transporting goods by land, air and sea across global supply chains.

Using SAP Ariba’s Open API Partner Ecosystem, NTT DATA has prototyped an application that allows organizations to monitor global shipments in real time. An extension of the Advance Ship notification functionality on Ariba Network, the connected logistics solution delivers real-time notifications to buyers about any potential change in delivery date/time. Using the carrier’s tracking number, the solution sends updated order information back to the customer both as an email and directly into their ERP system.

“While customers receive alerts when shipped goods will be delivered, they aren’t typically notified if there’s a shipment delay. Automatically linking real-time shipment data into a company’s ERP system allows companies to make more informed business decisions in case of delays,” said Baskar Radhakrishnan, director of SAP Ariba for NTT DATA. “This is very helpful for manufacturing organizations shipping products overseas in many industries.”

Radhakrishnan appreciates how SAP helps NTT DATA easily develop extensions using standard-based open APIs, along with cloud infrastructure best practices. “SAP’s innovative open APIs concept is a game-changer in the cloud industry because it allows customers develop extensions on top of SAP Ariba solutions. Few procurement solutions have this ability today,” he said.

SAP’s innovative open APIs concept is a game-changer in the cloud industry

Shared Vision Drives Co-Innovation

An SAP Gold partner, NTT DATA is a global business and IT services provider with more than 100,000 professionals in over 50 countries, generating more than $1.6 billion in revenue each year from its SAP business that includes hosting, implementation, and support of SAP Ariba solutions. Radhakrishnan said the partnership has grown quickly, especially in the last few years, aligned to SAP’s vision and strategy.

“SAP wants to grow along with their partners, and has created a win-win platform not just for us, but for our shared customers and the entire ecosystem by extending their assets, training and sales enablement giving us a better understanding of how to bring these innovation to our joint customers,” he said. “SAP Ariba in the cloud is a tremendous growth area, and we’ve made it a strategic focus area at NTT DATA.”

Turning Procurement into Strategic Business Network

Using the Ariba Network, the connected logistics solution constantly feeds updated, integrated data across the customer’s systems and external shipping sites. Buying organizations can at any time track shipping delays, making adjustments to their key performance indicators based on revised timelines. Besides direct cost-savings, data about real-time shipment delays means suppliers and distributors will be better positioned to meet commitments and lose fewer business opportunities.

Radhakrishnan credited a conversation he had with the chief procurement officer at a large manufacturer with the origins of the logistics solution. “He completely understood the benefits of SAP Ariba, and told me that 80 percent of the time shipments were delayed on the ocean, railroads or trucks. The company is notified of delays after the fact, a week later or more. But, if they knew a shipment was going to be delayed two weeks, they could quickly update and revise operational decisions and strategic plans to reduce the negative impact on the company.”

Manufacturers in industrial and pharmaceutical industries are among the organizations that can potentially benefit from the Connected Logistics solution. “SAP’s open API platform opens the door to tremendous opportunities for partners and customers,” said Radhakrishnan. “Regulated industries like financial services, healthcare and pharmaceutical are so unique in the way how they procure and they have to comply with several compliance policies. Now these organizations can develop extensions that work in conjunction with their SAP Ariba cloud-based procurement solutions.”

NTT DATA is updating its initial solution prototype to run on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, with an expected release data later this year.

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