SAPPHIRE NOW: SAP Ariba and IBM join forces on procurement

SAP Ariba

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SAP Ariba and IBM have announced a global strategic alliance to deliver cognitive procurement solutions that redefine the source-to-settle process.

The solutions, which will leverage SAP Leonardo, IBM Watson technologies and SAP Ariba, will bring intelligence from procurement data together with predictive insights from unstructured information to enable improved decision-making across supplier management, contracts and sourcing activities.

IBM Global Business Services will provide consulting and services to build, implement and operate the new offerings using tailored roadmaps, and working with SAP Ariba to bring new and existing IBM customers to the platform.

The companies also plan to launch a Cognitive Procurement hub to further the development of intelligent procurement solutions and services, working together to explore applications of emerging technologies, including blockchain.

“We’ve built a cognitive procurement platform trained specifically to understand procurement transactions and unstructured data such as weather, non-standard part numbers in contracts and complex pricing structures,” said Jesus Mantas, general manager, Cognitive Process Transformation, IBM Global Business Services.

SAP Ariba and IBM hope to together use data insights to impact the entire procurement process, from improving spend visibility to assisting buyers and enriching content management. For example, a digital assistant combined with IBM Watson services, will transform sourcing events by helping with tasks such as defining the correct Request for Proposal type, identifying appropriate suppliers to participate based on commodity category, region or industry and delivering intelligence on market signals and pricing pressures to optimise results.

“Today marks a major milestone for procurement,” said Alex Atzberger, president, SAP Ariba. “With the deep horizontal integration capabilities native within SAP Ariba’s mature platform and the innovative capabilities of SAP Leonardo and IBM Watson delivered by the industry’s most experienced and trusted providers, companies can realise an even more intelligent source-to-settle process for managing all categories of spend that creates value across the entire business.”

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