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That’s a wrap! Our very first SAP Ariba LIVE in Asia was a great success, and the air in Singapore was electric. Nearly 1,000 executives representing many of Asia’s leading companies gathered to discuss the future of business – to all who attended, thank you.

SAP Ariba LIVE in Singapore matters because it celebrates innovation. It reconnects the modern world with the reason why they started their careers and ignites their passion for taking it to the next level. It matters because it gives them solutions to their biggest challenges without complicating the process – it allows them to run simple.

It’s no secret that a digital transformation is taking hold of the world, so naturally it was a momentous occasion for the region – and in many ways overdue – considering its hand in defining business innovation through technology that is transforming key functions for any organization (procurement, finance, IT, sales, marketing).

For many of the world’s leading companies, this is new territory – and with new territory comes unexpected challenges. We thought about that during the early planning of SAP Ariba LIVE and created breakout sessions specifically designed for prospective customers who have not previously taken a walk on the digital wild side – welcome to the Blue Ribbon Track.

This track included introductory sessions led by colleagues who have seen Value Realization happen a thousand times working with Fortune 100 clients for 20+ years.

Here are my top 6 highlights:

Cost Savings

Innovation is flashy, but it doesn’t always have to be expensive. Some of the feedback we’ve heard has blown us away, like from Fonterra, a farming cooperative representing 11,000 dairy farmers. Fonterra does not have the IT infrastructure of a single cooperation, so cloud gave them the ability to leapfrog the competition and deliver incredible savings (up to 20% on goods and services) less than three months after going live. My colleague Victoria Folbigg said it best:

“Do we believe that Cloud is too expensive? It can actually save you money, considering it uses less electricity, requires zero upfront capital costs and saves you money on your IT staffing budget.”

Further reading: Now who’s afraid of the big bad cloud?

Supplier Risk

The digital world’s emergence has made life simpler in many ways, but it has also made business infinitely more complex. That means supplier risk management is undergoing a massive change, and with it, the industry has found innovative ways to cut down on complexity. As my colleague Bhawna Bhatia would say:

“Today’s supply base is more digital, connected, and global than ever. This means supplier risk has never been greater… effective supplier risk management can help a billion-dollar organization add close to $9 to $12 million to its bottom-line.”

Further reading: Supplier risk: Why should you care?

Direct Materials

The “Uberfication” of everything, also known as the sharing economy, has taught us a great lesson: if you want to make more money, cut out the middle man. My colleague Derek Lee would be the first to say that direct materials sourcing can be a huge moneymaker. His famous question:

“If I told you there was a process that, if leveraged correctly, could unlock new levels of profits for your business; could lower company costs; and could drive improvements that enhance overall performance – would you implement it?”

Further reading: This is not your average buying process

Discovery

You don’t know what you don’t know. Anyone who has ever undertaken a cost-reduction strategy knows the wrong approach can make even the most basic tasks a tremendous amount of work. It doesn’t have to be. Our very own Bruce Kuppersmith discussed this thoroughly at the event:

“The emergence of digital and cloud capabilities has also brought about new strategies and approaches, all of which make procurement a valuable asset in continuing to deliver cost reduction and growth. However, without the proper tools, processes, and a platform to enable these improvements, efforts can be difficult to launch and could fall short of expectations.”

Further reading: Do you know your procurement organization’s true value?

Business Growth

The new digital landscape brings too many opportunities and maximizing on all of them may not always be the right approach. In all honesty, that’s because many businesses are not built to support this kind of fast-paced growth. We can make that easier so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, explains Lorraine Longato:

“This unique moment of hyper-connectivity marks an immense opportunity for business growth… In establishing value, Value Engineering (VE) works with the Solutions Consultants (SCs) to map and define your current state & desired future state processes.”

Further reading: A guide to growing in a digital world

Value Realization

If you want growth, you have to change. Every dog has to learn the new trick and change should be realized from the top to the bottom and across the business itself. My colleague Andrew Hunt explained that process is called value realization, and when used correctly, it can stand out as a critical discipline that reduces risk and can be built into any initiative.

“Successful companies have identified means for overcoming challenges to increase value from their initiatives and have developed a set of disciplines to manage investments.”

Further reading: How to unleash your organization’s true value

These are all pillars that have helped hundreds of organizations truly grow in a sustainable way. I’m excited to see what new innovations rise out of our Blue Ribbon attendees, as I have no doubt they will surprise us.

A massive thanks to everyone who worked and attended the event and another special nod to the brilliant journalists that helped amplify our commitment to helping companies run simple!

What an event – thank you for being a part of it.

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  1. Alicia Tillman

    Love this, Ben!  There are so many amazing value-based opportunities we deliver to our customers – a big thank you to you and your team for amplifying that and making it real! 

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