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Good with Everything

Bacon

So I have to warn sensitive readers that this post refers to pork products, specifically bacon. The classic cookery book “Everything tastes better with Bacon” became a minor hit a few years ago with its bacon crunch topping for ice cream or fruit, and a pie crust that incorporates bacon. As the casual purchaser of Burger King’s Whopper knows, Bacon is Good on Everything.

My Scandinavian colleague, Henrik, claims that

Business Networks are like Bacon: Good with Everything

So what does this mean, how can everything be better with a business network? The idea is that just about any business process can be made more meaningful, more valuable or more efficient with access to a business network.

Suddenly sales reps love CRM systems

CRM systems are notorious for low adoption from sales people. The problem is that the poor sales rep feels like she enters information to make everyone else’s job easier, and no one enters anything useful for her. She types in forecasts for her manager, contact information for marketing, and pricing information for finance.

But with a business network, everything is better. With a business network, as soon as a prospective customer is entered, a network can fill in business information such as credit score and company size. But there’s more, a business network can reach out to look at which companies are actually in RFP right now, looking for suppliers like you. Now the sales rep is excited about using the CRM system, as they can wake up each day and get well-qualified leads from potential customers that fit their profile.

Purchasing teams can touch more spend

One of the challenges of purchasing teams is to add value to more of the spend that goes on in their companies. With a business network, they are able to offer collaboration with suppliers, which much more closely matches the way services such as facilities, maintenance, and media are actually purchased. With a business network, suppliers and their capabilities can be presented as a collaborative storefront, allowing buyers and sellers to come up with new solutions.

AP and AR Clerks get to improve their golf handicap

Any process that involves communicating to a trading partner’s finance team is made much more efficient with a business network. Invoices can be transmitted immediately, and can be automatically reconciled to an order or a contract: this saves time on both sides. Likewise the endless telephone calls between a supplier asking for money and a customer finance department trying to find the invoice can be eliminated. The business network gives time back to both parties, and perhaps that 2:00 p.m. tee-off time is now attainable.

Taking it a step further,

Every business process which touches the edge of the enterprise is improved with a Business Network

Would you like some Bacon Bits on your salad? Of course, everything is better with bacon.

About the author
James Marland
Vice President of Network Strategy - Ariba (Twitter: @JamesMarland)

James is responsible for defining and rolling out strategies for the Network with particular focus on Europe. He joined Ariba at the launch of the Ariba Network in 1998 after previously being a Solution Consultant at SAP America. In addition he ha... Read More >>>

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