Moving Procurement to the Cloud May Not Be as Complex as You Think

While the rest of their business benefits from the latest cloud technology, procurement teams often struggle with the belief that such a transformation is too massive, challenging, and disruptive for their operations. But comprehensive and flexible services for SAP Ariba Procurement solutions are putting that myth to rest.

The procurement function has been rocking the digital transformation boat lately ‒ and it’s not necessarily good news either. A joint study by Oxford Economics and SAP revealed that most procurement organizations are slow to adopt technologies that the rest of their business is already using, including data analytics, process automation, and artificial intelligence (AI).

The problem is not that procurement teams don’t know which processes, buying experiences, and vendor connections should be moved to the cloud to leverage these technologies. Rather, it’s the lack of awareness that they can use an incremental approach and still achieve value in the short, medium, and long term at their pace.

What procurement organizations need is knowledgeable expertise, fast access to guidance, and flexible and agile strategies from a trusted partner along every step of the digital transformation journey. Services for SAP Ariba Procurement solutions can provide this edge to our customers, accelerating and maximizing the ROI of their investments to add real value back to their business.

Why Digitalizing Procurement Matters Right Now

Recent advancements in cloud technology allow businesses to leapfrog over developments that would have taken years to accomplish on their own. However, as long as procurement organizations resist digitalization, the entire company can never fully capture the value of its investments, missing opportunities to build bottom-line growth and drive sustainability and social responsibility.

The risks of maintaining paper-intensive, manual processes are even greater for the procurement organization itself. For example, buyers and vendors do not have the visibility, agility, and enterprise interconnectedness to achieve key performance indicators, such as cost reduction, spend control, and compliance governance. Meanwhile, the entire operation is vulnerable to disruptive surprises and reputational risks hidden in the supply chain, impeding any effort to adapt quickly to changes in business and regulatory requirements.

Unfortunately, all these inefficiencies inevitably impact supply chains. With poor visibility, inflexibility, and the inability to scale comes excessive buffer inventory, inaccurate forecasts, and poor order management, fulfillment, and delivery performance. And all these challenges can contribute to a rise in stockouts, resulting in revenue loss and customer attrition and penalties.

Although digitalization comes with its own set of challenges, it’s certainly better than the alternative of paper-intensive, manual processes. In fact, procurement organizations that are further ahead in their digital transformation contribute stronger business results in operational efficiency, compliance, and risk management, based on research data from Oxford Economics and SAP.

Where Procurement Transformation Is Simpler and Faster

Services for SAP Ariba Procurement solutions are designed to help overcome the hurdles of procurement transformation with the right technologies and processes. The services leverage leading practices, rather than starting from scratch each time, to adapt to customer needs more efficiently, partner on innovation projects, and align efforts to outcomes that deliver incremental value. As a result, procurement organizations can simplify process complexity and foster faster and simpler adoption experiences for internal users, third-party suppliers, and other stakeholders ‒ all without disrupting present-day operations.

By streamlining the complexities of procurement and supplier risk management, the services can make the adoption of the cloud-based procurement solutions more manageable and easier to achieve for users, suppliers, and business stakeholders. SAP Services and Support can fulfill that promise by developing leading practices that help businesses adapt their processes, design an enablement strategy, deploy solutions, and train their users.

Our services for SAP Ariba Procurement solutions are designed to support customers through every step of their procurement transformation, from a minimally viable solution to a full-scale system. Essential services help our customers get up and running quickly and are part of the solution subscription. Success services allow them to tap into the expertise and know-how of SAP experts. Advanced services continue to assist, guide, and advise our customers long after the go-live of SAP Ariba Procurement solutions. And there are additional targeted pre- and post-go-live services. These prepackaged, predefined subscription offerings are consumable and simple to apply to unique situations.

Closing the Transformation Divide with Leading Advisory

Services for SAP Ariba Procurement solutions demonstrate SAP’s commitment to providing every customer with the complete package of guidance, knowledge, expertise, global reach, industry depth, industry innovation, and long-term trusted partnership that they need to succeed.

With this focus, procurement organizations can start small, grow incrementally, and transform at their pace to respond to ever-changing quality requirements, diversify their vendor network, and fulfill expectations for up-to-date digital skills and insights.

Get an in-depth look at how SAP Services and Support offerings can help your business gain the most value from SAP Ariba Procurement solutions. Read the information sheet, “SAP Ariba Portfolio of Services.”


Michele Deery is global vice president and head of Procurement Cloud Delivery at SAP.
Luc de Lange is customer engagement principal at SAP.