SAP Ariba Sourcing has sported the same look and feel for years. Strategic buyers, sourcing analysts, category managers, and other decision-makers have trusted the familiar interface for their sourcing needs, and it has served them well. But like a favorite shirt or a well-loved belt, the time is right for a makeover that restyles eSourcing with improved user experiences, more intelligence, and improved efficiencies for the 2022 world.
Major updates and new functionalities to the SAP Ariba Sourcing solution, specifically to the guided sourcing capability, is modernizing eSourcing. The improvements are arriving at an ideal time, as global trade restrictions and supply chain issues have made eSourcing more challenging and even threaten business continuity.
The guided sourcing capability can meet the needs of these unique times. It offers a more intelligent and intuitive solution for managing strategic processes and RFx events to help ensure you source the exact materials you need, when you need them. It also introduces efficiencies that can accelerate event creation so team members have more time for risk mitigation or securing on-time delivery. With guided sourcing, a procurement team can:
- Manage projects and create RFx events from a single page
- Automate RFx event creation with autonomous procurement features like smart Excel import
- Message peers and team members from within the interface about project and RFx event activities
- Facilitate the multi-round bidding process to effectively move from a long list to a best and final offer
- Realize bidding advantages from the advanced bid analysis engine
The Journey to Simpler, Easier eSourcing
After introducing the guided sourcing capability, SAP has continuously invested in improving its functionality. In the latest release, the usability has exponentially improved. Creating RFx events is faster, search is enhanced, and contextual help is available. The user interface is much more intuitive, which speeds up adoption among users and improves the overall experience by still addressing complex eSourcing requirements. Likewise, executing an RFx event can be much faster. In fact, customers are realizing a 50% improvement in time to create an RFx event. And, project and RFx event management are much more intuitive.
One feature I want to highlight is the full projects functionality, which can be extremely helpful with strategic sourcing initiatives. Here are its highlights:
- Process and project insight areas provide visibility into task and phase completion, in addition to created RFx events and supplier participation. Users can navigate across all sections from a single page and they can choose from multiple actions. They can also track a project’s progress and get a summary of project components.
- Collaboration is much easier with messaging, contract workspaces, and quick links. Team members can easily find helpful links and communicate with others in the organization and suppliers through interactive messages.
- The tasks area has been enhanced with a new look and feel, plus the ability to edit or create new tasks directly in the project. Starting and finishing tasks is much easier and intuitive.
- You can find tasks and phases displayed on the homepage, saving clicks to navigate to another page to locate tasks. Users can create, rearrange, and complete tasks on a single page.
- The RFx events and documents area is updated with the ability to create project placeholders at the template level and create ad hoc RFx event placeholders. Users can upload documents, create RFx events and subprojects, and organize their content.
Our eAuction capabilities are another valuable improvement you will want to explore. Supported eAuction types are English, Dutch, and Japanese reverse auction as well as traffic light bidding. Strategic buyers can create, monitor, and award reverse auctions from the guided sourcing interface along with a great auction monitoring cockpit. Looking ahead, SAP plans to add more auction types in future releases.
One other huge time-saver is the smart import feature. Creating an RFP event can take much more time than many of us have. Smart import uses machine learning capabilities powered by SAP to convert spreadsheets in RFPs so that buyers can quickly and easily populate line items in an RFP event. Strategic buyers are guided through the process to minimize manual errors. Consequently, they can quickly and accurately create an Rfx event and source the specific materials needed.
The Time Is Right to Adopt Guided Sourcing
Guided sourcing is completely “self service,” meaning you can adopt when you’re ready and roll out to users based on permissions. You can gauge your users’ comfort level and help them onboard to guided sourcing when they are ready.
Another advantage of guided sourcing is the synergy between old and new. The user interface for guided sourcing can coexist with our classic UX sourcing solution so that users can create strategic projects and events in both interfaces. This allows users to transition as they get more comfortable with the enhancements and improvements.
I do want to emphasize that now is an optimal time to move to guided sourcing. It’s a modern, intuitive, and streamlined way to manage eSourcing, and your team can transition from the classic UX to guided sourcing easily and gain all the advantages needed for modernized eSourcing.
Last but not least, I should also mention that guided sourcing is available at no extra cost to you. It’s part of your eSourcing solution, ready and waiting for you to begin running your eSourcing initiatives more easily and faster.
Salvatore Lombardo is senior vice president and chief product officer for SAP Procurement.