Source to pay is a critical process for every organization. In a constantly evolving business environment, how does SAP continue to support this process with its portfolio of SAP Ariba Procurement solutions? Simple. We listen to our customers, track market signals, and deliver innovative technology designed to help businesses achieve the best possible outcomes.
This is our long-standing strategy, and we have no plans to change something that clearly benefits our customers. No one knows this space better than SAP. The introduction of SAP Ariba solutions more than 25 years ago revolutionized procurement processes for businesses. We’ve taken the investment, innovation, and integration across our product line to deliver a complete portfolio of solutions. SAP Ariba is the future of procurement, and everything procurement at SAP is now SAP Ariba.
SAP also understands that what works for one business, one industry, or one geography, may not play in another. Businesses need to choose the right source-to-pay solution partner – with a platform and ecosystem poised to ensure their procurement teams have the tools and actionable data they need to succeed in their increasingly essential and strategic roles.
As we’ve listened to our customers and the market, here is what they have told us are their critical requirements:
- The ability to see and analyze spend across all categories
- Intelligence-driven category management that leverages analytics, spend data, and market intelligence
- Robust contract management functionality
- Automated management of external labor and services
- Practical AI use cases that drive efficiency across the procurement process
Within the source-to-pay landscape, SAP delivers integrated solutions to help manage all forms of spend. Our solutions comprise a full suite of enterprise-level functionality spanning sourcing, category management, buying and invoicing, services procurement, supplier relationship management, contract management, and spend analytics. Additionally, we enable businesses to connect with suppliers across 190 countries via SAP Business Network.
As you evaluate source-to-pay solution partners, consider the following:
- The source-to-pay landscape is changing quickly. Stay current. Today, everyone’s perspective on the source-to-pay technology landscape is vastly different than it was even half a year ago. Be mindful of how your business is evolving, and assess providers based on how their vision and road map align with your future needs.
- “Best of breed” doesn’t always mean “best for your business.” SAP has demonstrated that in addition to the breadth of our solutions for source to pay, we can enable businesses to address their global requirements, handle high transaction volumes, and integrate into many back-end ERP systems.
- SAP’s ecosystem of partners enables us to deliver advanced functionality to our customers. We remain committed to ongoing development of core, native capabilities across our source-to-pay portfolio. At the same, our strategy is to augment this development in some areas with innovation and advanced functionality through partners. This allows us to add significant value rapidly for our customers.
- Having access to a global network of suppliers is a game changer. SAP Business Network, which can extend the source-to-pay process beyond the walls of any business, can give our customers unmatched access to a global marketplace of trading partners. In 2023, annual commerce on the network reached US$5.3T, with 746M B2B transactions.
Five Ways SAP Is Addressing Customers’ Strategic Needs
SAP has demonstrated its ability to balance product modernization, innovation, and our larger vision to enhance procurement capabilities in SAP S/4HANA with delivery of cutting-edge innovations that benefit our customers. Here’s how we’re addressing the critical requirements mentioned earlier.
The Ability to See and Analyze Spend Across All Categories
In our conversations with customers all over the world, this is one of their top asks. They are also asking for greater visibility into spend that impacts their sustainability goals.
Last fall we unveiled SAP Spend Control Tower, which offers advanced AI features and the ability to see across all spend in SAP cloud ERP solutions, SAP Ariba solutions, and SAP Fieldglass solutions. Visibility into data from SAP Concur solutions, SAP Business Network, and non-SAP solutions is also on our road map. This can enable businesses to uncover cost-saving opportunities and process improvements. SAP Spend Control Tower is expected to be available in the second half of 2024. See a demo to learn more.
Intelligence-Driven Category Management
In our 2022 and 2023 research with Economist Impact, category management was ranked as a top driver of digital transformation in procurement. Driven by this and our extensive market analysis, SAP released the SAP Ariba Category Management solution last summer, empowering businesses to realize better results in this critical area.
The solution can streamline category strategy development, execution, and monitoring at scale. Additionally, it can enable organizations to optimize source-to-settle processes with embedded analytics enriched with spend data and market intelligence. Watch this demo.
Robust Contract Management Functionality
SAP understands the importance of balancing risk and profitability within source to pay. To provide the additional advanced contract management capabilities our customers need, we entered into an expanded partnership with Icertis in 2022. This partnership helps ensure a joint product road map and deeper technological integration between SAP and Icertis solutions.
For SAP customers, integration with Icertis Contract Intelligence can allow them access to best-in-class innovations such as smart authoring, AI-assisted risk identification, obligation management, contract-driven insights for decision support, and the ability to have one contracting system for both sales and procurement – a capability no other source-to-pay solution offers.
Based on user evaluations, SAP Ariba solutions received these leader badges from G2.
Automated Management of External Labor and Services
Sometimes overlooked within the source-to-pay discussion is services procurement. That’s changing. A 2023 Future of Work Exchange report said 72% of enterprises plan to focus more extensively on ROI in their services procurement and statement-of-work management activities. The goal is to manage external labor and services strategically, applying the same process rigor there as with any other procurement category.
SAP Fieldglass solutions can enable you to transform how you find, engage, and manage contingent workers and services providers to maximize business value.
Practical AI Use Cases
SAP is embedding AI throughout the spend management process to help eliminate the mundane and elevate the strategic. Current use cases range from auto-complete and recommendation engines leveraging traditional AI and machine learning, to generative AI functions that can automate complex procurement processes. In 2024, we will continue to develop SAP Business AI use cases that help drive efficiency across spend management processes. Find out more about new generative AI scenarios.
In the Words of Our Customers…
More confirmation that SAP’s source-to-pay strategy is sound can be seen in the results we’re delivering for our customers. Here’s what they’re saying:
“[SAP Ariba] has no comparison in the market. No other software is even close. Best part is, once our supply chain executives get using it, they simply fall in love with it…Savings are immense.”Verified SAP Ariba user, via TrustRadius
“[SAP Ariba] stacks up by being a great, user-friendly platform that is easy to use.”Verified SAP Ariba user, via TrustRadius
SAP Ariba Sweeps the 2023 TrustRadius “Best Of” Awards
Each year, TrustRadius issues awards to vendors who provide the best offerings in their category. In 2023, SAP Ariba solutions won all four awards based on customer satisfaction ratings.
Leaning In to Our Source-to-Pay Strategy
As we’ve seen in the input from our customers, as well as assessments from analyst organizations like IDC, SAP’s source-to-pay strategy is producing solutions that help businesses run better. And that is SAP’s mission, plain and simple. In 2024, we’ll lean in to deliver solutions and innovations that continue to outpace the competition across the source-to-pay technology landscape.
Baber Farooq is senior vice president and head of Market Strategy for SAP Procurement Solutions.
Salvatore Lombardo is senior vice president, chief product officer, and head of Engineering for SAP Procurement.