The Digital Supply Chain podcast

The all new SAP Business Network - what is it, and why would I want one? A Chat with Matthew Easlea

June 07, 2021 Tom Raftery / Matthew Easlea Season 1 Episode 137
The Digital Supply Chain podcast
The all new SAP Business Network - what is it, and why would I want one? A Chat with Matthew Easlea
Show Notes Transcript

At our annual customer conference Sapphirenow last week SAP announced the SAP Business Network. The new Business Network brings together the Ariba Network, SAP Logistics Business Network and SAP Asset Intelligence Network. Over 5.5 million organizations will benefit from being members of this connected community.

The announcement received a lot of press and I wanted to know more about it so I invited Matthew Easlea to come on the podcast to discuss it. Matthew leads development, growth, and strategy of the SAP Business Network in APJ.

We had an excellent conversation and, as is often the case, I learned loads, I hope you do too...

If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to leave me a voice message over on my SpeakPipe page or just send it to me as a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn. Audio messages will get played (unless you specifically ask me not to).

To learn more about how Industry 4.0 technologies can help your organisation read the 2020 global research study 'The Power of change from Industry 4.0 in manufacturing' (https://www.sap.com/cmp/dg/industry4-manufacturing/index.html)

And if you want to know more about any of SAP's Digital Supply Chain solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/digitalsupplychain and if you liked this show, please don't forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover it. Thanks.

And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!



Matthew Easlea:

We believe that business networks add so much more value to customers in these post pandemic, still ongoing pandemic times to help you collaborate with your trading partners in a more efficient way.

Tom Raftery:

Good morning, good afternoon or good evening wherever you are in the world. This is the digital supply chain podcast, the number one podcast focusing on the digitization of supply chain. And I'm your host, global vice president of SAP. Tom Raftery. Hi, everyone. Welcome to the digital supply chain podcast. My name is Tom Raftery with SAP. And with me on the show today I have my special guest, Matt. Matt, would you like to introduce yourself?

Matthew Easlea:

Thanks. My name is Matthew Easley. I'm based in Australia, but after many years in Germany, and I'm really happy to be here and talking to you all today. And,

Tom Raftery:

Matt, what are you doing in Australia?

Matthew Easlea:

I'm working these days I'm working in product engineering, within SAP Business networks, but I spent about five years of my life before joining ASAP, mainly working in the mining industry, specifically around warehousing procurement, supply chain and asset management processes. And joined joined us at about 10 years ago. I think the first time that you and I met Tom was maybe five or six years ago 2016 in a dark and eclectic office on the sap walled off campus. At that time, I was starting in creating the intelligent asset management business within SAP. then more recently, I've now moved into the SAP Business Network.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, and what is SAP Business networks for people who are unaware?

Matthew Easlea:

Yeah, great, great question. So, I think SAP is you know, we're well known for the organic and the inorganic networks that we've either acquired or grown ourselves so arriva has a fantastic example of funding that we acquired many years ago, is an example of one of the SAP Business networks. And we just, we believe that business networks add so much more value to customers in these post pandemic or still ongoing pandemic times to help you collaborate with your trading partners in a more efficient. Okay, can

Tom Raftery:

you give me a concrete example of how they help?

Matthew Easlea:

Yeah, let's, let's drill into a few different examples. I, the SAP Business Network is all about bringing out the raven network, together with the power of the logistics Business Network, together with the asset intelligence network, and a few other networks that we have across SAP, which are all historically disparate, and disconnected. But our customers were asking how do you want to bring them together in a smart, intelligent way. So a few different cases that we've been working on recently. I always like to start with maybe maybe a quick story, I, I've been sitting at home through this pandemic, and it's been rather dark. And I want to get a skylight into the roof of my house. That skylight, you know, I had to bring up a builder, electrician, a roofer, the skylight company to send me the skyline logistics company to deliver that skylight to my house, I did coordinate with five or six different service providers just to put one light into my roof. process, it took me a while. In the end, I got a great scholar and I, my whole life is a bit more pride now. But the point is, it was a lot of coordination with a lot of companies. And if you think about a big business, think about a railway company that has 1000 train station. And they have to coordinate with all these different service providers to do changes to buildings or to get people out to inspect lifts or to do service. Those customers are doing a lot of coordination or the collaboration with their trading partners on a daily basis. And historically, within SAP, we had bits of it in a repo for the procurement, we had this class, hiring the contractor into the asset network, because we want to share the information about that live for the escalator with the company. And so in the logistics network was there we could track and trace the components, the spare parts or the actual skylight as it was getting delivered. So we had all these pieces, and the SAP Business Network brings that all together into one network.

Tom Raftery:

So who would be target customers for something like this?

Matthew Easlea:

Yeah, I think it's, you know, if I look into companies today, they want to become more efficient. Historically, SAP has been really good at standardizing the processes of a business within the four walls of the company. But I think through the collaboration, we've learned that we have to get much more connected to our trading partners digitally, and that's something that we were doing with the network as we're helping Companies digitize their collaboration with their trading partners, scalable, and sustainable way. So typically, the company that's buying things, it's a company that's hiring services company that needs to track and trace, where the materials will end up was the company that wants to share the information about the asset that they bought, or the asset that they need to service and get fixed. So any customer that is trying to take advantage of their collaborative processes to sort of customers that we're working with the business network today?

Tom Raftery:

Okay, and who would be the buyer within these organizations?

Matthew Easlea:

I always give me a an anecdote. We, when I was younger, and I was working in some mining companies, I remember mentor told me that they would negotiate this fantastic buying agreement with a supplier. And by agreement got the cheapest price, and the supplier was actually supplying things at a loss. Wow. And it was, it's a good example that that supply went out of business six months later. So he told me at the time, he said it was the only supplier of these things are these trucks that was in a 600 mile radius? He said, Well, you know, a good buyer gets the best price, but an excellent buyer makes a sustainable agreement with a trading partner. And what we look for in these sort of networks is how do you get a win win analysis supplier, get to reduce their cost to sell things to you? And how do you get a lower cost as well? So how do you put in place sustainable partnerships with your business partners, and that can start really simply like a buying company, you have to buy 100 spare parts next month, you can share that forecast with the supplier in advance, and then they can know what to purchase in advance. So that collaboration is a sort of processes that we digitize and optimize with the SAP Business Network, getting a win win outcome for both trading partners to put in place a sustainable and scalable business. Okay, and

Tom Raftery:

is there any particular industries that they should be targeted to

Matthew Easlea:

we the SMP Business Network does go across multiple industries, consumer products, we have a fantastic footprint in and a lot of companies doing buying and tracking and logistics processes in consumer products, but also maintenance of large vehicle fleets. And we see electrification of transport vehicles, for instance, that we have the digital vehicle hub, which is one of the networks that we're managing, which can help you manage those fleets. So, you know, in industry, like consumer products, really big footprint, but procurement happens across all industries. And that's a key part of the business network. Asset Management happens across many of our industries from the classical utilities or chemical companies, but also into consumer products in other industries as well. And logistics, yeah, most people are sending things or receiving things right, they make.

Tom Raftery:

So, if I am an rebored customer today, am I therefore automatically, an ASAP Business Network customer? I mean, is it like one ring to rule them all are, you know, how does it work from from a customer's perspective.

Matthew Easlea:

So that is our vision that as a buyer on a Riba, you can invite your trading partners, and those trading partners become part of the SAP Business Network. They're identified once in the trading partners, the suppliers, the carriers, the asset manufacturers, those business partners are getting on boarded onto the network once and can collaborate with the trading partner with the buyer one. So the goal there is to is to make sure that we have a single unified experience for onboarding training partners across the network. And that reduces costs for the buyer, because then they have to communicate once with the training partner reduces costs for the trading partner because they only have to connect once to the SAP Business Network. And it also reduces our internal operating costs because we have less duplicate processes to manage. So we have a strong focus on making sure we build up a business community in the center. By training partners were identified an onboarding once into the business network. And once they're on boarded, they can then do different collaborative processes, whether it's collaborative collaboration around the procurement or around the logistics for an asset and service around the vehicle master information. There's different processes running on one common network foundation. Okay, obviously cloud delivered or that wouldn't be possible. Yeah, absolutely. So it's always think that We move to cloud first. But the natural evolution of cloud is business networks. And if you look into the consumer networks, Facebook and LinkedIn of the world, they're only possible because of cloud, you couldn't have imagined a LinkedIn without the internet. So it's, it really is cloud is the key enabler that allows us to build scalable business networks.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. And one of the traditional barriers to networks, platforms is, is getting a significant number of people on board getting enough people on board to make it kind of sticky and to make it, you know, make more people want to join, is that one of the reasons why we've got this whole SAP Business Network that, you know, you're in one sort of any aspect of it, and therefore you're in for the entire network,

Matthew Easlea:

there's no doubt that we have the largest business network in the world today with with the raven network. So that's, that's something that is obviously, of great value to our customers. And adding additional functionality to that network, helps helps our customers get more value out of their existing investment in that network. So yeah, that's essentially a key piece of it is to build that ecosystem in that community. Yeah, that's a key growth. I think the other key piece that we're adding is analytics. So I talked about building that community of business partners and trading partners, connecting them together to add a collaborative scenarios such as, how do I hire the right technician to fix the equipment at the right time? Or how do I track and trace the delivery of a retail product to the end customer? Finally, what we're looking at is how do you do analytics? How do you get inside out of the network, that you get benchmarking information, and you provide intelligence to both the buying side and the selling side, or the training partner relationship so that both sides can get common KPIs. When you think about a KPI like, on time delivery in full, the buyer calculates it, and the seller calculates it differently. Then people argue about this different KPI because both companies calculate it slightly differently. Well, you can have instead of single KPI that's visible to all parties. At the same time in the middle of something you can base your business, you know, business models, or compensation around. So the common intelligence a common KPI calculation, the middle is the next layer.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. And can you speak to any customer examples?

Matthew Easlea:

Yeah, I love the example. And it really is an example, said earlier about the skylights and the need to build different companies that you have to bring in Well, we're working with a large rail company in Europe and happy to share the presentation afterwards. For that exact case, it's not for skylights, but more for buildings and lift maintenance. And those sort of things. They have a large number of train stations around Europe, a large number of service providers that they engage with basically streamlining and optimizing the way they engage with those trading partners business. That's, that's one example that we're working on today.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, other tangible benefits that they're seeing that you can get, you can speak to any outcomes you can talk to.

Matthew Easlea:

Yeah, I think it's, it is about whenever we look at business networks, what we're doing is, if you ever played the game, broken telephone when you were a kid, and you sat in a circle, and you had to talk to the person next to you, and eventually that message could be graded after a while. The sort of benefits that business networks bring is that we, we establish permanent digital communication, makeup. So if you think about today's supply chain, supply chains have gotten more much longer and more specialized. And we have to be able to digitize and make sure that those messages that go between all the different parties in the graph of suppliers in a network is fully digital and not not part of the broken telephone, and degradation of a message as it gets passed through the supply chain. So you always think of an example of a picture of a broken down car in the outback of Australia as a 30 year old car that's broken down. And those old cars, any mechanic could fix it with a piece of wire and some basic tools. But today's cars if a car breaks down the middle of the desert of Australia, you're going to have to get back to a dealer and that dealer is going to have to probably get a computer system from Japan and that supply chain the parts have become so Specialized that you have to be really specialized in the skills and the materials that you're getting in. So how society has become much more specialized equipment we have is become more complicated now houses and the sort of problems that we're working on at the moment with customers. How do you actually digitize that? So you get synchronicity interlocks at every link in that supply chain to make the whole thing run much smoother.

Tom Raftery:

And, Matt, I've heard you're working on something called collaborative maintenance and service as part of this. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Matthew Easlea:

Yeah, absolutely. Collaborative mates and services, the project, we've been running it here in the FPGA region. Focus on Australia, but also some Japanese customers as well. And it's really good to focus on how do we bring together feel class, which is our people and services network, together with the asset intelligence network, which tells you everything about the work that has to be done, the asset that you're fixing, there's a really simple example, you know, a large chemical plant in Japan, that have to engage with a lot of different service providers 12 weeks ahead of the work to be done, and then need to share the information about their plant with those service providers. Because if they are all jointly working on the same information, they can all join the plan together, and they can all get ready for the job together. That collaboration happening before the major event at a chemical factory. means all companies get more efficient, the service provider knows what they have to do. The operator knows the names of all the people that are going to be attending from the service provider, they know the qualification for those people. They also have an agreed statement of work and scope of work. And then when they're executing, all that paperwork and all that administration process is done. so that people can do the job safer, because they know what to expect when they arrive. They come with the right tools, because they know everything about the machines that they have to fix. And they come with the right spare parts as well, because they've already planned the job and they know what has to get happen in the real world. So it is about digitizing, building a digital network of the physical world helps these companies work better together.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, and does it even get down to the component level where they can see ahead of time the machine they're going to be working on? And what's the status of that?

Matthew Easlea:

Exactly. That's the beauty of the asset network, yes, intelligence network is we can share that information with the service providers, and there could be three or four service providers. So one company might have to bring a crane and another company has to bring the electrician now the company has to bring the diesel mechanic or an electric mechanic. So they can all see the same information, these three different companies, and they can all collaborate together to make sure they get the job done together and efficient way. So it's a pretty extreme example, of the business network collaboration. It's a real example happens in large asset businesses all the time across utilities, as you're installing new wind turbines or solar panels, as you're fixing gas plants, in chemicals in the oil or gas industry and the writing of these types of collaborative scenarios. That even in the facility management. So the story I told earlier about the train stations. That's another example where you're having to coordinate with different business parties to get to get the job done.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, Matt, we're coming towards the end of the podcast. Now, is there any thing I've not asked you that you wish I had, or any topic we've not touched on that you think it's important for people to be aware of

Matthew Easlea:

it one topic that I've been working on. More recently, we partnered with the company on this is to make a map process. So think about how much you use maps every day on your phone, to find suppliers, and so forth. One thing we have been developing recently in the labs here at SAP is a collaborative map of business data. So imagine looking at a map like like you do all the time with some of the major consumer grade map providers, and being able to see information about your suppliers, and your assets, and your deliveries and putting them all into the same app and then being able to add extra content to that map. Maybe it's risk data, maybe it's pollution, data, population data, up to date, satellite imagery of the plants that you operate, for instance. So one thing we're developing here at Labs is a collaborative mapping platform, I think really work really interestingly with the vehicle area, for instance. We have quite some investments around automotive and being visualized cars and a map, but also all the other business data. Really collaborative business map. It's something unique that we're really working on at the moment. And I would love to get some feedback from customers on that as well. Nice.

Tom Raftery:

Nice, cool. Great, Matt, if people want to know more about yourself, or about SAP Business Network, or any of the topics we discussed on the podcast today, where would you have me direct them?

Matthew Easlea:

The main smp.com landing page, we have one there for business networks, which is a primary one. I'm often also pushing things out on LinkedIn to find out more channels. So as we progress the map a bit further, we're going to push out some blogs on that shortly, which I think will be really interesting for people and also the collaborative mates and service. That's where we're bringing together the asset network and the network. But the main channel is the sap.com isn't network page. Cool? Well,

Tom Raftery:

I'll link to that in the show notes if you can pull it directly to it. Simple. Math has been great. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast today. It's a pleasure and pleasure to talk again. Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks, everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about digital supply chains, head on over to sa p.com slash digital supply chain or, or simply drop me an email to Tom Raftery at sa p.com. If you'd like to show, please don't forget to subscribe to it and your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.