Improving B2B customer experience through Total User Experience – Interview with Sanish Mondkar of Ariba

User Experience

Today’s interview is with Sanish Mondkar, who is Chief Product Officer at Ariba (a SAP company). Ariba established the Ariba Network – a cloud-based community where you’ll find buying, selling, and managing cash to be as easy as using Amazon, eBay, and PayPal.Sanish joins me today to talk about customer experience in B2B, what lessons they have learned from B2C, Total User Experience, what they are doing about it and what lessons others can learn.

This interview follows on from my recent interview: Advocate assisted commerce improves customer experience and drives business results – Interview with Scott Pulsipher of Needle – and is number 146 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to their customers.

Highlights of my interview with Sanish:

  • Ariba solves the problems around B2B procurement.
  • Currently, there a number of paradigm shifts happening in the B2B customer experience space that have been informed by changes in B2C.
  • One of which is the use of data that is helping procurement executives make the right and better decisions.
  • That is pure business process automation but through the addition of an intelligent decision-making/data layer they are also able to answer questions like: when is a good time to source and what commodities should I source first and from whom?
  • Another area of significant innovation that has drawn on lessons learned from B2C is the user experience, which has not traditionally been an area that has gained much attention when using enterprise procurement solutions in the past.
  • Today’s business users have the same expectations for their B2B applications that they have from the applications that they use in their personal lives.
  • This is being driven by the Millenial generation, which this year has become the largest generational group in the N. American workforce.
  • So, CIOs and Chief Customer Officers are asking how they can implement new enterprise systems that live up to these expectations and that also drive productivity, adoption and efficiencies.
  • This is also one of the reasons why Ariba has gone down the route of making their applications Mobile Complimentary, meaning that their applications are also set up to be accessible via phones and tablets, as and when it is appropriate.
  • As a result, they have also introduced a ‘pinning’ feature (similar to features seen on Instagram or Pinterest) to their applications which allow users to ‘pin’, annotate or flag something via their mobile device/tablet when they are on the go for action/attention later.
  • They are taking features that are familiar to users from their personal lives and integrating them into their B2B applications. This facilitates use and adoption.
  • Ariba are also integrating lessons and functionality based on how people now learn and use applications i.e. people learn less from product manuals these days and more from utilising search, knowledge bases, chat and social communities.
  • Learning and how people learn is a huge part of enterprise applications, their use and adoption.
  • This pinning and learning functionality has been rolled out onto one of their solutions: The Ariba Network, the online community of business buyers and sellers, as well as to 200 of their suppliers.
  • The initial results of introducing this functionality is that they have been able to reduce the calls into Ariba customer support by 50% through deflecting their questions back to the community or available knowledge bases/content.
  • How enterprise applications are designed, how they work on devices of users preference and how users interact, learn and engage with those applications is a large problem statement for any enterprise application buyer and maker right now.
  • However, Sanish does not see a lot of thought leadership coming from large enterprises in this space right now but this is absolutely a problem that needs to be solved.
  • At Ariba, they talk about Total User Experience which sits on three pillars: 1. Work Anywhere;2. Learn Anywhere; and 3. Modern User Experience Principles.

About Sanish (adapted from his LinkedIn bio)

Sanish MondkarSanish Mondkar is the Chief Product Officer at Ariba, a SAP company, and has been described as a visionary, entrepreneurial, results-oriented technology executive.

He is responsible for all Procurement & Business Network Products in SAP. This consists of all products, innovation and technology in these areas, including SAP on-premise & cloud assets as well as acquisitions in this area (Ariba, Fieldglass, Crossgate etc.).

He has 15+ years of deep experience in SaaS/Cloud technology, Business Networks and the enterprise application space.

He helped build the Ariba Business Network from its infancy stages to the world’s largest business network today (1.5+M suppliers, 500+B USD annual spend).

You can find out more about Sanish at his LinkedIn profile here. Also, check out Ariba and particularly the work they are doing at The Ariba Network. Finally, don’t forget to say Hi to them on Twitter @ariba.

Photo Credit: mollystevens via Compfight cc

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