ExpenseMatters : The Source for Expense Management

Interview with Ariba

By on October 27, 2009 in Interviews with 3 Comments

Expense Interview Series by Cary Strange: Interview #6 – Ariba

Today we are conducting an interview with one of the most complete companies in our series, Ariba.  We have Dan Ashton, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager of Ariba joining ExpenseMatters to answer these questions. I am quite sure our readers look with anticipation to the insight you will be providing them about your company and the industry in general.

To get started, could you provide some basic information about your Ariba?
Ariba is the leading provider of Spend Management solutions. Since 1996, we have helped companies analyze, understand, and manage their corporate spending to achieve increased cost savings and business process efficiency. In addition to Ariba Travel and Expense, Ariba provides on-demand (SaaS) solutions in travel & expense, spend visibility, sourcing, contract management, goods and services e-procurement, financial payment and supplier management accessing the world’s largest supplier network.

What do you recognize as your primary and secondary target markets, and why?
Ariba has a broad footprint across many industries and market segments. More than 50% of the Fortune 100 use Ariba as well as nearly 1,000 smaller companies.

Industries run the gamut from financial services and retail to manufacturing and government. Because of our comprehensive solution suite, we address complete spend management for virtually every medium to large enterprise.

It appears that there are quite a few players offering expense technology solutions. What separates your company from other companies providing similar products & services?
Most point solutions provide good functionality but focus only on Travel and Expense and lack the ability to manage a company’s complete indirect spend. Ariba’s best-of-breed approach looks at spend holistically allowing clients to leverage our expertise in solutions, services plus our network of over 200,000 suppliers.

In contrast ERP vendors may help you manage more than just T&E but are not user friendly for the occasional user and lack robust expense functionality. Plus the applications are time consuming and costly to implement and maintain.

What are some specific key product differentiators that provide you with a distinct advantage over your competitors?
There a number of great products out there that do a satisfactory job of helping manage expenses. Only Ariba integrates T&E into a comprehensive spend management solution where users can login to one account and manage spend for virtually anything they need, hotels, airfare, laboratory supplies, business cards and more, via SaaS. This improves adoption bringing more spend under management which drives operational efficiencies resulting in more savings to the bottom line.

What are the most important questions that a company (looking for a solution) should ask before selecting an expense management provider?
1. Is the supplier viable long term? Do they have enough cash for at least 24 months at the current “burn” rate? Make sure to review audited financial statements.
2. Do they have 24 hour global support in the language for users?
3. Can the system support not only T&E but also goods and other services such as temp labor?
4. Can the system unify multiple ERP systems? (Cross realm reporting and global contracts and centralized administration)

One of the most frequent questions we receive involve how the products are licensed and installed. What are your thoughts regarding the traditional licensing model versus the software as a service model (SaaS)? Which does your company provide and recommend?
The market is rapidly moving to SaaS. The speed of implementation along with no hassles around maintenance and upgrades make SaaS / On-Demand the ideal situation for most clients.
Ariba also provides CD or “behind the firewall” delivery to service our legacy customers which is the right solution for their environment.

Do you have any new customer or partner wins that you want to share with our audience? If so, why did they select your company or product?
An increasing number of companies continue to adopt Ariba’s T&E solutions. These organizations see the strength of having an expense system that is fully integrated with other Ariba solutions such as spend visibility, sourcing, contract management, goods and services eprocurement and financial payment solutions.

This industry has been in a high growth mode for a couple of year now. What do you see happening with the industry, and the need for these types of solutions, over the next 12-18 months?
The market continues to grow as more companies see the power and agility of on-demand solutions. As procurement seeks out new opportunities for managing spend, they see very clearly that you cannot have multiple point solutions for every spend category. Having users learn a new system for print, office supplies, computers and temp labor as well as T&E is not practical. Organizations are consolidating their spend with a best-of-breed provider that can deliver a single sign-on and user interface along with a consolidated view of spend. Additionally companies see the integration with other key elements of a spend management solution such as sourcing, contracts and payment solutions as a key driver in improving operational efficiencies.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. Is there anything that we have not talked about that you would like to discuss with our readers?
Ariba is the only solution that delivers immediate savings through SaaS, on total spend by leveraging the world’s largest supplier network.

Thanks again for joining us. If any of our readers would like additional information about Ariba or the solutions they provide, feel free to contact me via ExpenseMatters or contact Ariba directly at:
Dan Ashton

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