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The birds and the bees do it. So do fish and elephants. And sports teams too. What are we talking about?

Collaboration.

That was the buzz today about business networks at SAPPHIRE NOW. SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott  kicked off with a lively discussion on the evolution of today’s business. Mobility, big data, and yes, collaboration, are enabling companies to engage better with their customers while capitalizing on revenue-generating opportunities.

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Why Businesses Need to Act Like Consumers

Ariba CEO Bob Calderoni took the stage to address the next wave of productivity that business networks are delivering. As consumers, most of us have embraced the ease, efficiency and convenience of networks to shop online (think Amazon and eBay) and stay connected with friends and peers (Facebook and LinkedIn). Yet amazingly, most companies haven’t adopted networks within their organizations to harness these benefits.

Here are some astonishing points that Bob shared:

  • 80% of business processes are taking place offline. While most consumers are banking online, companies are still dealing with paper invoices and checks.
  • These inefficiencies cost companies $650 billion dollars in waste. Given companies’ focus on capturing savings, business processes should be the top target.

By collaborating with suppliers and business partners, companies can make tremendous headway towards achieving greater productivity while reducing costs.

Business Networks Deliver Magic for Disney

Steve Miller with The Walt Disney Company shared his company’s story about the power of inter-enterprise collaboration. Disney’s complex sourcing eco-system is comprised of 20,500 casual buyers, six million annual invoices and 1,100 company codes. Fortunately, it didn’t take superhero strength or pixie dust to tame this tangled system … just the collaborative partnership of Ariba and SAP.

Complacency or Collaboration – Which Path Will You Follow?

Thought-leader and author Don Tapscott discussed how savvy companies are gaining a leg up on innovation, product development and marketing by leveraging collaborative communities. No longer can businesses afford to claim that enabling collaboration is costly. The ease and abundance of technologies allow companies of all sizes to “unbundle” from silos and plug-in to networks. The world’s dominate operating system, Linux, is community created. Consumer giant Proctor & Gamble taps into a talented and collaborative community of experts to discover new product ideas and innovations. And for the Doritos brand, inviting consumers to create advertising worthy of the Super Bowl has resulted in new and deeper levels of marketing engagement.

Stay Tuned for More Buzz

There’s plenty more to discover from the Business Networks campus at SAPPHIRE NOW. Follow @Ariba for live tweets from Day 2 and join the conversation using the hashtags #Ariba #SAPPHIRENOW.

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