B2B Ariba Integration FAQs

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General

What is B2B Ariba Integration?
B2B Ariba Integration is connecting a supplier’s purchasing system (known as ERP) to Alphabet/Google’s Ariba Network. This connection allows the systems to talk, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of data being passed between them. Once established, supplier integration often reduces manual touchpoints, leading to more automated and seamless processes.
What are the benefits of B2B Ariba Integration?
Through B2B Ariba Integration, greater operational efficiency and a better customer experience is achieved. Other benefits suppliers can expect are:
  • 75% faster invoice and payment processing when files are digital and securely sent through supplier integration
  • 45-60% increase in acceptance for invoices and payments after initial set up because little to no human intervention is required - the process is touchless!
  • Global compliance is satisfied with long-term invoice archiving, which also enables reporting, transaction, and sales tracking
What are the downsides to EDI/cXML integration?
The upsides to B2B Ariba Integration are very clear: faster invoice and payment processing, increase in acceptance of invoices and payments- all while meeting global compliance standards. Of course, there are downsides to integration, as well. Below are downsides Alphabet/Google and suppliers can expect:
  • Timeline & Resource Commitments: Integration can take between 4 to 12 weeks to properly connect suppliers’ purchasing systems to Google’s Ariba Network. Effort from both teams will be required throughout the duration of the integration as a designated technical resource will be needed to perform system configurations as well as a designated business resource to provide business perspective. However, this is an upfront investment that pays dividends down the road.
  • New Process Adoption: Even though a supplier may choose to proceed with B2B Ariba Integration, this does not mean their users fully adopt the process upon go-live. This can lead to misalignment, a clunky process, and lower invoice and payment acceptance rates. However, this can be addressed by both educating users on the benefits of integration and supporting them along the process to assure adoption of the new process.
As you can see, the number of downsides compared to the upsides proves a strong business case for both Alphabet/Google and our suppliers.
Are there additional fees for B2B Ariba Integration?
Suppliers will need to upgrade to an Ariba Enterprise Account. For more information on Ariba Enterprise Account vs Standard Accounts, click to learn more about the difference between Enterprise & Standard, accounts fees, and how to upgrade.
Is it mandatory to integrate with Google?
B2B Ariba Integration is optional, and ultimately the supplier’s choice.
How long is the timeline for suppliers to integrate?
The typical integration timeline, including configuring, testing, and deploying, will be 4 to 12 weeks.

New Invoicing Channels

What new invoice formats are enabled via B2B Ariba Integration?
EDI and cXML are new invoice formats available to suppliers. Today, suppliers transact using more manual processes, such as mailing hard copies, emailing documents, or uploading digital documents into portals. EDI and cXML are digitized options that facilitate faster, more efficient, and more accurate payment and invoice processing.
Are other formats, like JSON, supported via B2B Ariba Integration?
At this time, only EDI and cXML are enabled via B2B Ariba Integration.
What is EDI/cXML?
Gone are the days when all invoicing and payments were communicated on paper; technological advancements have digitized this process! As early as the 1960s, computer systems acquired the ability to exchange data with each other using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). EDI is the structured transmission of data between organizations by electronic means. Structured is key here– think of the many data points that go into various purchasing documents (line items, prices, org info, etc.)! EDI’s standard format is enforced by domestic and international institutions (e.g. ANSIX12, EDIFACT) and, though rigid, allows for standardization across industries for how data is to be sent and received. The rise of e-commerce in the 1990s gave way to the creation of cXML, an XML-based communication protocol where the c stands for commerce. Much like EDI, cXML allows for the exchange of data between computer systems; however, this newer technology abandons the rigidness of EDI and allows for a flexible, customizable structure.
Which is better? EDI or cXML?
Because there are so many nuances to these technologies - it depends! Generally, cXML is seen as the newer, more flexible technology. Its flexibility comes from user’s ability to break free from a standard format, to customize their code to fit business needs, and also to use a method called tagging data (ex: <quota>9300</quota>), which can make cXML readable by humans. EDI, on the other hand, is more rigid in structure and unreadable by humans. Why do companies continue to use EDI then? Many companies are likely already using EDI with other companies today. Companies who have been around a while will have a whole ecosystem and infrastructure built to service EDI transactions.

Supplier Selection Process

What is the process for suppliers to be considered for ICR?
Since it is ultimately the supplier’s decision on whether they want to integrate with Google, we want to hear from you! Currently, the primary way for suppliers to be considered is to complete the B2B Ariba EDI/cXML Integration Interest Form. The Interest Form gauges a supplier’s interest to integrate and captures possible integration restrictions (e.g. timeline, language, integration preference).
How are suppliers selected for ICR?
Alphabet/Google’s Source-to-pay team will select and prioritize suppliers who are deemed a good fit to integrate with Alphabet/Google’s Ariba Network. Certain variables to consider when assessing a good fit can be:
  • Timeline: What year and quarter is the supplier able to integrate? Does the timeline run into any conflicts with either the supplier’s or Google’s calendar?
  • Resources: Does the supplier have experience and/or the right resources to integrate? Or will the lack of resources impede efforts?
  • Tech Capability: What is the supplier’s current tech stack and the aspects of their legacy ERP? Will the supplier’s technology cause roadblocks for integration with Google’s?
  • Usage: How is the supplier currently transacting with Google today? Does the volume of transactions between Google and the supplier make integration a good business case?
What are the next steps once a supplier is chosen?

Suppliers who are selected as a good fit for integration with Alphabet/Google will be asked to attend an individualized kick off to provide a deeper overview, answer more individualized questions and align on next steps.
 

Integration requires an Ariba Network Enterprise (paid) account. If the supplier currently transacts on an Ariba Network Standard account, they will need to re-enroll. With the help of Ariba’s Supplier Enablement Team, the supplier will set up their legacy ERP system to integrate with Ariba Network.

 

Next, Google and the supplier will attend additional meetings to assess their current ERP requirements, and discuss Google specs and identified deltas. Google will also provide detailed information and required data fields (in cXML or EDI language) to the supplier to begin data mapping exercises.

 

After the configuration, the supplier will test the integration by sending and receiving test files with Alphabet/Google. Once tests are successful, AP/AR processes will be updated to use integration and the first live invoice will be sent! 

If interested but not quite ready, can a supplier revisit integration at a later date?
Yes! The B2B Ariba Integration initiative continues into 2025, but do not wait until you are fully ready to let us know you are interested. Complete the Ariba EDI/cXML Integration Interest Form, which will ask you when you expect to be ready to integrate. Keep in mind that filling the form is not binding, but will allow us to stay in touch and reach out accordingly.
Where can I find more information?
In June 2022, Alphabet/Google had a Supplier Info Session covering the benefits and process of Alphabet/Google’s B2B Ariba Integration. Click to navigate to the session materials and recording.
You haven’t answered my question yet! Who can I reach out to?
For questions about this effort and B2B Ariba integration, reach out to
icr-contact@google.com
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