What is SAP Business Network?

Graz explains the latest announcement from SAP, and the potential benefits for businesses.

At SAP SAPPHIRE Now 2021, SAP announced a brand-new offering that promises to transform the way enterprises around the world do business: SAP Business Network. But what is SAP Business Network, and what are the potential benefits?

Simply put, SAP Business Network is a cloud platform that combines three of SAP’s existing business-to-business (B2B) networks into a single, integrated experience. In this blog post, Graz explains what we know about the offering so far, and considers what might be coming next.

Leading the way in enterprise networks

B2B networks have been around for a long time, and SAP is a world-leader in the space. For example, the company’s Ariba Network—a cloud-based collaboration offering where buyers and suppliers can find each other and do business on a single, networked platform—has been in operation for almost two decades, serving over five million suppliers worldwide.

SAP Ariba is one of many large B2B networks that SAP has developed. On SAP Logistics Business Network, logistics companies can collaborate to improve goods tracking and enhance supply chain resilience. With SAP Asset Intelligence Network, manufacturers, equipment operators, regulators and other manufacturing stakeholders can exchange asset-management information and support data-driven maintenance services.

In the past, these B2B networks were separate. Today, SAP has combined all three into a single cloud platform: SAP Business Network.

Supporting the networked economy

So why has SAP taken this step? One of the key reasons for creating SAP Business Network is the rise of the network economy. Increasingly, businesses and consumers expect ever-faster services, backed by real-time information on the location of their products.

To meet these demands, businesses must orchestrate complex global supply chains to produce just-in-time, and precisely coordinate logistics to move orders rapidly from the shop floor to the customer’s doorstep. Moreover, enterprises are under growing pressure to deliver these capabilities in an environmentally sustainable way, while also mitigating the risk factors such as trade wars, climate disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

As businesses seek to enhance customer services while containing their costs, they are becoming increasingly reliant on partners to handle logistics, supply chain management, and other crucial—but non-core—activities. SAP therefore sees that the globalized economy is becoming a networked economy. And to control the new risks created by a more interconnected world, clear visibility and network-wide collaboration have never been more important.

Supercharging business growth in an interconnected world

With the launch of SAP Business Network, SAP has connected over five million global businesses on a single platform for the first time. Although the platform has only just launched, it is likely to offer a number of important benefits.

In the past, businesses have typically managed complex networks of one-to-one relationships between suppliers, buyers, logistics providers or original-equipment manufacturers. If one link in the chain fails, it has the potential to disrupt the entire organization. With SAP Business Network, businesses not only gain deeper insight into the potential vulnerabilities in their end-to-end processes, they can also quickly find new partners to close those gaps and shrink their exposure to risk.

What’s next for SAP Business Network?

To maximize the business value of their investment in SAP Business Network, it’s likely that many companies will look to enable closer integration between their business systems and the network. For example, this may take the form of new data integrations between SAP solutions such as the next-generation ERP SAP S/4HANA, as well as ERP applications and business systems developed by third parties.

Creating, managing and maintaining these types of complex data integrations can become a complex effort that distracts businesses from their core activities. To solve the challenge, Graz has developed IDX: a fully managed data-automation-as-a-service offering that makes it fast and easy to integrate any data source.

If you’d like to learn more about SAP Business Network, or about how IDX could help your business, click here to contact a Graz expert today.


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