As we closed out 2022, SAP procurement solutions received many industry recognitions. More importantly, we were recognized for the high level of customer satisfaction we have worked so hard to earn.

Here are just a few of our year-end acknowledgments and recognition:

It is great to receive external recognition, accolades, and awards. We believe this is confirmation that our strategy is on target. But our true mission is to develop innovative procurement solutions that help our customers to run better and deliver the business outcomes they expect.

The SaaS procurement product family at SAP consists of SAP Ariba solutions, SAP S/4HANA for Procurement, and SAP Business Network. It has a proven track record of providing innovative solutions to solve unique challenges at every step in the procure-to-pay process.

In 2023, we intend to lead the market with our procurement innovation. Here, learn about the first wave of these innovations.

The Next Evolution of Guided Buying

A 360-Degree View of the Person, Purchase, and Organization

Today, professional and casual buyers are thinking about more than just pricing and policy compliance. They want a buying experience that is personalized for them and their role: something predictive, something that offers suggestions for their specific work; an evolution of guided buying with intelligent recommendations to help them make the right decisions, navigate through the process, and weigh the sustainability and environmental impact of their decisions.

The guided buying capability in SAP Ariba solutions remains the gold standard for purchases of goods and services. At SAP Spend Connect Live, we demonstrated this next evolution in guided buying. These new capabilities improve the buying experience and leverage artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent recommendations, and machine learning. This creates a holistic view of what the buyer is purchasing and how the purchase stacks up against their organization’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals.

Many of the capabilities will be included within the guided buying capability starting in 2023, as well as in future releases.

SAP Central Procurement

Delivering Transformation Without the Complexities of Change

Procurement professionals are feeling pressure to bring speed, scale, and savings to the business — all while minimizing risk as they navigate complex systems. And as companies demand more from procurement, procurement requires more from its technology.

Unfortunately, much of the technology deployed today is disconnected and outdated. This results in problems such as separate and inconsistent source-to-order processes, policies and controls that are not applied consistently company-wide, and disjointed data that constrains spend visibility.

In response, procurement leaders are looking for new approaches to digital transformation — and solutions that provide holistic visibility and control across the entire purchasing process. For many, centralizing procurement is at the heart of their transformation strategy.

The latest release of SAP Central Procurement addresses the challenges associated with centralizing procurement. This solution makes it possible to centralize control of requisitioning, purchasing, sourcing, contracting, and analytics in a multi-ERP environment. It delivers the benefits of a uniform, centralized procurement system across all direct and indirect categories — without reworking individual solutions spread across the organization.

SAP Central Procurement gives your lead buyers complete visibility, enabling them to see what is happening across the business from a single, centralized command center. At the same time, individual units can still make purchases in their back-end systems, minimizing risk of teams losing local control as you maintain centralized visibility into everything they do.

The outcome is that it is easier to bring clarity and consistency to procurement operations, which is essential as companies work to meet escalating demands and plan for supply chain disruption before it happens.

Category Management

Empowering Category Managers to Work More Strategically

Category management is top of mind for our customers, and it has become increasingly relevant as global supply markets and commodities remain in flux. A recent study by Economist Impact, sponsored by SAP, highlights category management as one of the most important drivers of digital transformation in procurement.

That is because today, category management consists of highly manual processes to collect data, do analysis, and produce reports. This leaves almost no time for category managers to develop effective strategies, let alone execute them.

This is the challenge the new category management solution from SAP solves. SAP Category Management, which we plan to roll out this year, will provide actionable market intelligence and category insights. It will empower category managers and procurement professionals to make strategic category decisions for direct and indirect spending that drive business outcomes.

The solution will offer intuitive scenario analysis to visualize opportunities, enabling sourcing and category managers to prioritize initiatives based on corporate spend data with system-assigned recommendations and confidence levels for opportunities.

Additionally, our new category management solution will make it possible to generate a comprehensive view of the purchasing categories to establish category goals, develop plans, and execute and monitor progress. Embedded analytics tools will provide drill-down capability into categories across multiple dimensions.

SAP Category Management will integrate into the guided sourcing capability for SAP Ariba Sourcing, making it possible to create initiatives from within SAP Category Management and report back for monitoring and tracking.

We plan to make the solution available to select customers in 2023.

Supplier Management

A Consolidated View of Supplier Data for Strategic Buyers

Today, it is difficult to find a comprehensive view of supplier data. Information about contracts, sourcing events, and supplier evaluation scores are spread across various procurement systems and technologies. Making things worse, supplier master data is not always harmonized across disparate back-end systems, and data from legacy systems sometimes cannot be reached at all.

Our vision is to equip buyers with a single view of their supplier. This view includes:

  • Harmonized supplier master data from enterprise resource planning (ERP) using master data native integration
  • Procurement suite data, including sourcing, contracts, and spend
  • Ecosystem data from SAP Business Network and third-party sources

Data will be delivered via a simple, experience that makes all decision-relevant information available at a glance.

Additionally, supplier data will become more available to end users at the point of their procurement action. For example, risk scores will be present in guided buying requisitioning; risk scores and supplier status information will be available for sourcing invitation, bid analysis, and awarding; and contract authors will have access to risk scores when they develop contracts. Having this information will enable end users to make smarter, more informed decisions.

SAP previewed many of these concepts at SAP Spend Connect Live, and plans to provide them as a general release in the second half of 2023.

Looking Ahead

As we move forward, we will not rest on past successes. We will continue bring our family of procurement solutions closer together to deliver actionable insights to all procurement personas at the point of process, when they need them. Additionally, our solution road map will focus on implementing AI, machine learning and automation, and unified key mapping, which enables integration with third parties not using SAP ERP.

Salvatore Lombardo is senior vice president, chief product officer, and head of Engineering for SAP Procurement.

*Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Procure-to-Pay Suites, 28 November 2022.
This report was previously named as Magic Quadrant for Procure-to-Pay Suites for Indirect Procurement until 2015.
Gartner, Critical Capabilities for Procure-to-Pay Suites, 28 November 2022.
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