SAP Ariba Live

Change Management: Procurement Employees Are Biggest Advocates for SAP Ariba

With an international portfolio of recognized entertainment brands, just about any employee at Viacom can be a “shopper” purchasing goods and services. That’s why the company was intent on creating an Amazon-like experience for people involved in managing over $6 billion in spend each year across 180 countries.

Speaking at the recent SAP Ariba Live event, Emily Amone, vice president of Finance Operations at Viacom, shared the company’s journey to managing procurement on Ariba Network.

“We wanted to make sure that our people had the same experience at work that they had in their personal lives,” said Amone. “We’re creating entertainment services…Every person who walks into our building is a creator of the goods we sell and that you’re watching on television…It was really important to train employees to do this service on their own […] reflecting how they like to learn intuitively […] and be communicated with. So that’s how we created the program.”

Intuitive Learning Experience

The move to SAP Ariba encompassed both change management and operational readiness. The team began by surfacing 125 pain points in the procure-to-pay process, culling candid feedback from employees in different departments and company brands worldwide.

“People who were not in finance were being asked to create requisitions, which was something they’d never done before,” said Amone. “We wanted them to be honest. We created an experience road map by personas and a ‘Day in the Life’ journey map to show how personas interact with the procure-to-pay process…We wanted to see how end-users felt about this new experience. Then we came up with all sorts of solutions.”

The next evolution on SAP Ariba was source-to-pay, allowing Viacom to link requisitions to contracts and drive spend through negotiated agreements. The system is constantly updated as the company adds catalogs to guided buying and negotiates contracts.

“SAP Ariba allows us to take requisitions for various categories and push those through to the global procurement group, ensuring they’re using negotiated contracts or purchasing from established catalogs,” said Sue Muller, vice president of Global Procurement Operations Center at Viacom. “We’ve increased the size of our global procurement group, so we can manage getting contracts into the system for compliance with those requisitions.”

Throughout the phased global roll-out of SAP Ariba software, the project team emphasized end-user benefits. These included an improved, one-stop shopping experience. “People want to be in compliance, and this [platform] leads them to the right catalog and contract so they can easily find what they’re looking for,” said Amone.

Train Employee Advocates

Amone credited the company’s end-to-end thinking around operational readiness and change management with achieving project objectives. The communications “tool kit” featured road shows to share new expectations of impacted employees. Active leadership involvement and hands-on testing and training, along with ongoing “high-touch” support onsite, played a major role in project success.

“People knew it was coming and that made a big difference in acceptance,” said Amone. “We told them how it would benefit them. It’s not something happening to you, but it’s something we’ll do for you…We selected people throughout the organization and trained them to be trainers, and they are involved in user acceptance testing…They’re really prepared […] and can be your advocates.”

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