American Express – SAP Partnership Streamlines Enterprise Customer Operations

American Express and SAP Ariba recently announced a new strategic partnership aimed at providing buyers and supplies with a broader range of payment and financing options via the Ariba Network. This multi-phased venture would seek to create greater value for joint large, corporate customers. The details of the partnership were shared by American Express Global Commercial Services executive vice president E-Bai Koo and SAP Ariba Business Network & Ecosystem senior vice president Sean Thompson at the SAP Ariba Live conference in early April.

With SAP Ariba as a network extension partner, American Express will be able to utilize the Ariba Network APIs to support its virtual card abilities within the SAP Ariba platform. In turn, this will allow customers to take advantage of seamless commerce, payments and reconciliation between businesses on one platform.

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The range of additional benefits provided to buyers via this new partnership is broad, including: greater operational efficiencies realized by removing the need for a separate process to handle payments; added control that allows for the setting of payment amounts and timings; increased working capital availability to handle cash conversion cycles; and better reconciliation through improved payment status visibility and other data enhancements.

On the supply side, a number of new advantages will also be introduced through this new partnership. Suppliers can expect to see improved payment speeds via a more seamless method, a better collections process with lowered risk of fraud thanks to token-based virtual access controls, and better reconciliation due to detail card remittance information.

When asked about the partnership, Koo stated that “we are continuously looking for ways for our customers to conduct more business in a simple, intuitive and integrated manner…with over half of American Express’ largest global customers already using SAP Ariba to manage their expenses, this partnership has the opportunity to provide significant value for our joint customers…we couldn’t be more excited about building a long-term partnership with SAP Ariba.”

Both companies indicated that these new services are just the beginning and that the partnership is intended to continue to provide further digital solutions to customers.