Online shopping platforms have long been the convenient norm for consumers, and now a partnership between SAP Ariba and Mercado Libre aims to bring the same streamlined purchasing experience to corporate procurement. I heard the news first-hand from executives closest to the deal during a roundtable at the recent SAP Ariba Live 2017 event.

“As someone working in procurement for many years, I know how buying something can turn into a time-consuming process of up to a week just to set up a supplier before you can even make requisitions. Having a proven and trusted business network that’s accessible from Day One eliminates those headaches.” said Karen Bruck, Corporate Sales Director at Mercado Libre.

The partnership will bring SAP Ariba Spot Buy to buyers and sellers on Mercado Libre, one of the leading e-commerce companies in Latin America. Mercado Libre sold 180 million products last year, and this partnership with SAP Ariba represents the company’s first foray into the B2B market.

“We’re advancing our own payment systems and shipping solutions,” said Bruck. “As we grow those platforms, we’re ready to provide that end-to-end experience to corporate clients, bringing more than 600,000 relevant products in business categories.”

Mercado Libre plans to roll-out SAP Ariba Spot Buy to companies in Argentina and Mexico this year, followed by Brazil and Colombia in 2018, with additional countries after that.

Providing speed, compliance, trusted content

According to Jason Wolf, Vice President at SAP Ariba, the partnership is designed to help match buyers and suppliers involved in the thousands of low value transactions companies make every year. Customers using the network can segment their supplier base by many factors including product/service category, dollar amount, department and region. Buying organizations can also define controls for purchasing and approval processes.

“Customer demands to find compliant, best price, and approved vendors are insatiable. What we offer with Mercado Libre is a liberating moment for buyers and suppliers,” said Wolf. “The buying organization can create process controls to drive compliance, ensuring that they are buying from an approved supplier, and paying negotiated rates. This is massive mindset shift that’s needed in the marketplace, and something we see many of our leading organizations requesting.”

Consumerizing the B2B buying process is a no-brainer for employees who often travel backwards in time when they enter the workplace. “Somehow there’s an invisible force field that zaps away the digital devices and platforms we know and love in our personal lives,” said Wolf.

SAP Ariba and Mercado Libre are proving that procurement professionals no longer have to live in the past. Corporate buyers and sellers will never look back.

Follow me @smgaler

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