Business Leaders See Collaboration through Social and Business Networks as Key to Productivity, Competitive Advantage

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – August 21, 2012 – In today’s global business environment, smart companies are learning to collaborate more efficiently, connecting and interacting with ever-expanding communities of customers, suppliers and peers. And they are, in the process, unleashing a new model for operating that is helping to improve their productivity, profits and ultimately, their advantage in an ultra-competitive marketplace.

How are they doing it? According to Collaborate to Win, a new report produced by CFO Research in collaboration with Ariba, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARBA), the world’s business commerce network, they are capitalizing on the convergence of recent technology trends, including cloud computing, mobility, social and business networks.

“Just as earlier forces such as desktop computers shifted the basis of productivity generation, so too are business networks changing how companies identify and work with all kinds of partners,” says Josh Hyatt, author of the report. “Businesses are learning how to collaborate more efficiently, digitally connecting and cooperating with people and entities both within and beyond the confines of their particular enterprise.”

Much as consumers tap into social networks to manage their personal connections, companies are with increasing frequency connecting to business networks to manage their trading relationships. Through more than a dozen in-depth interviews with executives, academics, consultants, and others, CFO Research sought to analyze how companies are leveraging these networks gain a competitive edge.

Their findings revealed that by communicating more freely with their employees, suppliers, and customers, companies can draw on previously untapped capabilities to address existing challenges and spot new opportunities. Doing so enables them to deliver value to every aspect of the business, from generating innovative product ideas to gaining valuable market insight.They can also incrementally increase profits.

“Mega-shifts in how technology is delivered, accessed, and used are heralding in a new era of knowledge sharing and collaboration,” says Tim Minahan, Chief Marketing Officer, Ariba. “Empowered by social tools and business networks, companies are now able to coordinate a virtual extraprise of partners into a shared community and execute processes in a more collaborative and informed way than in the past.”

This emerging form of collaboration, according to Hyatt, has the potential to reshape the competitive landscape. “Network-based collaborative tools have just begun to change how employees work together and how enterprises manage their outside relationships,” he writes.”But in an ultracompetitive era populated by lean businesses, collaboration can drive productivity and lift financial performance.”

Business networks have certainly opened the door to a new way of collaborating. And as Hyatt notes in Collaborate to Win, “They may be what differentiate the modern day competitor from competitors of the past.”

On October 2, Ariba will host the first in a series of global events at which industry thought leaders and executives will share their insights on how companies of all sizes can plug in to today’s Networked Economy and leverage social tools and business networks to boost their productivity and profits.

For more information on these events, or to register, visit: http://www.ariba.com/community/events/commerce-summits.

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About CFO Research

CFO Research is the research affiliate of CFO magazine, CFO.com, and CFO Conferences. CFO Research is part of CFO Publishing LLC.

CFO Publishing LLC, a portfolio company of Seguin Partners, is the leading business-to-business media brand focused on the information needs of senior finance executives. CFO Publishing’s award-winning editorial content and loyal, influential audience make it a valued resource for its readers as well as an effective marketing partner for a wide range of blue-chip companies. CFO Publishing has long-standing relationships with more than 500,000 financial executives.

About Ariba, Inc
Ariba, Inc. is the world’s business commerce network. Ariba combines industry-leading cloud-based applications with the world's largest web-based trading community to help companies discover and collaborate with a global network of partners. Using the Ariba® Network, businesses of all sizes can connect to their trading partners anywhere, at any time from any application or device to buy, sell and manage their cash more efficiently and effectively than ever before. Companies around the world use the Ariba Network to simplify inter-enterprise commerce and enhance the results that they deliver. Join them at: www.ariba.com
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For More Information

Karen Master
Ariba, Inc.
412-297-8177
Josh Hyatt
CFO Research
(617)790-3256