Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: LeanTaaS Blog, Derek Weeks, Don MacVittie, Karthick Viswanathan, Gopala Krishna Behara

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

Microservices Expo: Article

Getting a Handle on Spot Buying

SAP’s Ariba teams with eBay to improve rogue B2B procurement for buyers, sellers and enterprises

It remains one of the last bastions of enterprise spend over which companies have little or no control. Yet companies have been loathe to tamper with how their employers and managers buy ad-hoc goods - known as indirect spend, shadow purchasing, or "spot buying."

Now, SAP's Ariba cloud is bringing the best of flexible, innovative spot-buying practices into a more controlled and sanctioned process by teaming with eBay and its B2B marketplace for an integrated, yet dynamic, approach to those indirect purchases not covered by contracts and formal invoicing.

Such scattered, and often unmonitored, spot buying amounts to 15 to 20 percent of a typical enterprise's total purchasing. And so it provides a huge opportunity for improvement, the type that cloud, big-data analytics, and a marketplace of marketplaces approach can best solve. [Disclosure: Ariba is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

The Ariba Networks Spot Buy service was announced today in Orlando at Sapphire by SAP CEO Bill McDermott. "The most intractable CEO issue of our time is complexity," McDermott said in a keynote address Tuesday. "It's getting worse and worse. We see a dream for a simpler SAP, and a simpler customer experience."

Long before the Web, the Thomas Register or vertical industry buyers' catalogs were the mainstays for how many business goods were discovered and procured. There were often done with no contracts, no bids, and no invoices. A material or product was needed, and so it was bought and paid for - fast.

The Web -- and especially Internet search - only increased the ability for those workers in need to find and buy whatever they had to to get their jobs done. Because these buys were deemed "emergency" purchases, or amounted to smaller total amounts, the rogue process essentially flew under the corporate radar.

Under the new Ariba Networks Spot Buy service, major and public online marketplaces are brought into the procurement process inside of SAP and Ariba applications and services. eBay is the first, but Ariba expects to extend the process efficiency to other online B2B markets, said Joe Fox, Vice President of Business Network Strategy at SAP.

Pilot program

The new indirect procurement approach, which will operate as a pilot program between August and December this year, before general availability, will allow those buying through the integrated Ariba Network's Spot Buy services to use eBay's PayPal service to transfer and manage funding, said Fox.

Consistently updated content about B2B goods (services support will come later) will be available to users inside of their existing procurement applications, including Ariba, SAP and later third-party enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, explained Fox. The users can search inside their Ariba apps, including soon-to-be-delivered mobile versions, alongside of their traditional purchasing app services, he said.

"It's consumerizing business," said Fox, adding that users gain convenience and access inside of procurement apps and processes while enjoying ad hoc flexibility and one-click, no-invoice payments from converged markets, catalogs and sanctioned search. Enterprises, on the other hand, gain a new ability to monitor spot buying, analyze it, and provide guidance and curation of what goods should be available to buy - and on what general terms. "It's the best of Web-based buying but with some corporate control," said Fox.

We are facilitating access - with controls and filters - to all the public and third-party content from various markets. It's basically unlimited appropriate content for buyers and seekers.

Eventually, as multiple marketplaces become seamlessly available to procurement apps users, deeper analysis - via SAP's HANA big-data infrastructure on which all Ariba apps and cloud services are being deployed - will allow business to determine if redundancy or waste indicates that the sourcing should be done differently.

The net net, said Fox, is that more unmonitored spending can fall under spot buying, even as some spot buying can move to more formal procurement where bids, negotiation and payment efficiencies such as dynamic discounting can play a role. What's more, analytics can be applied to a whole new area of spend, amounting to higher productivity over many billions of dollars of B2B spending per year worldwide.

"We are not going to build any marketplaces," said Fox. "We are facilitating access - with controls and filters - to all the public and third-party content from various markets. It's basically unlimited appropriate content for buyers and seekers."

These marketplaces will also allow those selling goods and products to gain improved access into the B2B environments (such as the SAP installed base globally) as a new way to go seller-direct with information and content about their wares. New business models and relationships are no doubt bound to develop around that.

Fox said no other business app or procurement services providers have anything like the new offering, one that targets rogue and unmonitored buying by workers using open and aggregated mainstream markets for B2B goods.

You may also be interested in:

More Stories By Dana Gardner

At Interarbor Solutions, we create the analysis and in-depth podcasts on enterprise software and cloud trends that help fuel the social media revolution. As a veteran IT analyst, Dana Gardner moderates discussions and interviews get to the meat of the hottest technology topics. We define and forecast the business productivity effects of enterprise infrastructure, SOA and cloud advances. Our social media vehicles become conversational platforms, powerfully distributed via the BriefingsDirect Network of online media partners like ZDNet and IT-Director.com. As founder and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, Dana Gardner created BriefingsDirect to give online readers and listeners in-depth and direct access to the brightest thought leaders on IT. Our twice-monthly BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcasts examine the latest IT news with a panel of analysts and guests. Our sponsored discussions provide a unique, deep-dive focus on specific industry problems and the latest solutions. This podcast equivalent of an analyst briefing session -- made available as a podcast/transcript/blog to any interested viewer and search engine seeker -- breaks the mold on closed knowledge. These informational podcasts jump-start conversational evangelism, drive traffic to lead generation campaigns, and produce strong SEO returns. Interarbor Solutions provides fresh and creative thinking on IT, SOA, cloud and social media strategies based on the power of thoughtful content, made freely and easily available to proactive seekers of insights and information. As a result, marketers and branding professionals can communicate inexpensively with self-qualifiying readers/listeners in discreet market segments. BriefingsDirect podcasts hosted by Dana Gardner: Full turnkey planning, moderatiing, producing, hosting, and distribution via blogs and IT media partners of essential IT knowledge and understanding.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
The notion of improving operational efficiency is conspicuously absent from the healthcare debate - neither Obamacare nor the newly proposed GOP plan discusses the impact that a step-function improvement in efficiency could have on access to healthcare (through more capacity), quality of healthcare services (through reduced wait times for patients) or cost (through better utilization of scarce, expensive assets).
Some people are directors, managers, and administrators. Others are disrupters. Eddie Webb (@edwardawebb) is an IT Disrupter for Software Development Platforms at Liberty Mutual and was a presenter at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. His talk, Organically DevOps: Building Quality and Security into the Software Supply Chain at Liberty Mutual, looked at Liberty Mutual's transformation to Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and DevOps. For a large, heavily regulated industry, this task...
Our work, both with clients and with tools, has lead us to wonder how it is that organizations are handling compliance issues in the cloud. The big cloud vendors offer compliance for their infrastructure, but the shared responsibility model requires that you take certain steps to meet compliance requirements. Which lead us to start poking around a little more. We wanted to get a picture of what was available, and how it was being used. There is a lot of fluidity in this space, as in all things c...
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday pri...
The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Mi...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
Some journey to cloud on a mission, others, a deadline. Change management is useful when migrating to public, private or hybrid cloud environments in either case. For most, stakeholder engagement peaks during the planning and post migration phases of a project. Legacy engagements are fairly direct: projects follow a linear progression of activities (the “waterfall” approach) – change managers and application coders work from the same functional and technical requirements. Enablement and develo...
Admiral Calcote - also known as Lee Calcote (@lcalcote) or the Ginger Geek to his friends - gave a presentation entitled Characterizing and Contrasting Container Orchestrators at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. Okay, he isn't really an admiral - nor does anyone call him that - but he used the title admiral to describe what container orchestrators do, relating it to an admiral directing a fleet of container ships. You could also say that they are like the conductor of an orchestra, directing...
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Gaining visibility in today’s sprawling cloud infrastructure is complex and laborious, involving drilling down into tools offered by various cloud services providers. Enterprise IT organizations need smarter and effective tools at their disposal in order to address this pertinent problem. Gaining a 360 - degree view of the cloud costs requires collection and analysis of the cost data across all cloud infrastructures used inside an enterprise.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone in...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
For DevOps teams, the concepts behind service-oriented architecture (SOA) are nothing new. A style of software design initially made popular in the 1990s, SOA was an alternative to a monolithic application; essentially a collection of coarse-grained components that communicated with each other. Communication would involve either simple data passing or two or more services coordinating some activity. SOA served as a valid approach to solving many architectural problems faced by businesses, as app...
Many IT organizations have come to learn that leveraging cloud infrastructure is not just unavoidable, it’s one of the most effective paths for IT organizations to become more responsive to business needs. Yet with the cloud comes new challenges, including minimizing downtime, decreasing the cost of operations, and preventing employee burnout to name a few. As companies migrate their processes and procedures to their new reality of a cloud-based infrastructure, an incident management solution...
Cloud Governance means many things to many people. Heck, just the word cloud means different things depending on who you are talking to. While definitions can vary, controlling access to cloud resources is invariably a central piece of any governance program. Enterprise cloud computing has transformed IT. Cloud computing decreases time-to-market, improves agility by allowing businesses to adapt quickly to changing market demands, and, ultimately, drives down costs.
Recent survey done across top 500 fortune companies shows almost 70% of the CIO have either heard about IAC from their infrastructure head or they are on their way to implement IAC. Yet if you look under the hood while some level of automation has been done, most of the infrastructure is still managed in much tradition/legacy way. So, what is Infrastructure as Code? how do you determine if your IT infrastructure is truly automated?
Every few years, a disruptive force comes along that prompts us to reframe our understanding of what something means, or how it works. For years, the notion of what a computer is and how you make one went pretty much unchallenged. Then virtualization came along, followed by cloud computing, and most recently containers. Suddenly the old rules no longer seemed to apply, or at least they didn’t always apply. These disruptors made us reconsider our IT worldview.