Achieving strategic sourcing excellence takes more than simply locating the right suppliers that can fulfill your requirements at the right price. It also involves obtaining crucial insights to make informed decisions. 

In today’s highly volatile business environment, having a strong sourcing strategy in place is key when it comes to overcoming challenges such as supply chain disruptions and delays. However, many organizations have inefficient operations and limited supplier options, which means they may also lack a contingency plan or alternative suppliers they can call on to overcome such challenges. 

With a strategic sourcing plan, companies have the ability to get the best quality, price, and fit for their business needs, helping them stay competitive.  

To help organizations achieve their strategic sourcing goals, SAP has the guided sourcing capability for SAP Ariba Sourcing to help streamline and automate sourcing processes. It can enable users to identify and qualify suppliers, create and manage sourcing events, and evaluate bids and proposals. It can provide a structured and guided approach to sourcing, helping organizations to efficiently identify the best suppliers and negotiate the best possible terms for their procurement needs, allowing them to complete more projects with less effort. 

Want to cut costs, limit risk, and maximize supply chain savings?

The four key benefits of guided sourcing are: 

  1. Improved user interface: The intuitive interface can make it easier for users to navigate the platform, resulting in faster adoption and increased user satisfaction. The revamp of the user experience has led to improved usability, rapid event creation, enhanced search capabilities, and contextual help with tools like SAP Enable Now. This can ultimately lead to a more efficient and productive sourcing process for businesses. The platform also offers intuitive management of the strategic sourcing and request for x (RFx) event process, making it easier for businesses to manage their sourcing events. This streamlined approach to event management can help businesses save time and resources while also improving the overall effectiveness of their sourcing strategy. 
  2. Embedded analytics: The guided sourcing capability is at the forefront of innovation with features like no-touch procurement efficiency enabled by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Such features include recommendation of suppliers and content within strategic sourcing and smart upload in Microsoft Excel to easily import unstructured data as line items within a sourcing event in a matter of seconds. In addition to this, we plan to release a mechanism we refer to as “insights to action,” which can bring analytics back into the applications. This can enable business users to use insights and recommendations to help make decisions fast and effectively.   
  3. Cross-product integrations: Through integration with SAP Ariba Supplier Risk and SAP Ariba Category Management, guided sourcing can provide enhanced search capabilities with Supplier Lifecycle and Performance (SLP) criteria. It helps make risk information readily available so it can be accessed during the negotiation phase, while spend management data is made available via embedded analytics and SAP Ariba Category Management. This level of integration helps businesses make more informed sourcing decisions by understanding and managing the level of risk at an early stage of supplier engagement and having the ability to view and analyze spend by category, which can help in making the right sourcing decisions.  
  4. Enhanced capabilities via integration with partner applications: The capabilities of guided sourcing can be further extended through integration with partner apps endorsed by SAP, making it a comprehensive solution for companies looking to streamline their sourcing processes. For example, integration with Icertis Contract Intelligence (ICI) for SAP Ariba can allow for seamless collaboration between sourcing persona and legal personnel. Integration with Scoutbee Discovery for SAP Ariba Sourcing can allow customers to access new suppliers across the globe based on supplier and product characteristics.  
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The guided sourcing capability offers a wide range of benefits that can optimize and streamline the procurement process for businesses. From improved supplier management and enhanced visibility to cost savings and increased efficiency, the guided sourcing capability can provide a comprehensive solution for organizations to effectively manage their sourcing activities. By leveraging the power of guided sourcing, businesses can experience greater control and transparency in their procurement operations, ultimately leading to increased profitability and better business outcomes. With its innovative features, advanced capabilities, and integration with partner apps endorsed by SAP, the guided sourcing capability can be key to helping organizations that want to achieve strategic sourcing excellence.  

The capability is available at no additional cost for all licensed SAP Ariba Sourcing customers. For more information, check out this FAQ document

Salvatore Lombardo is senior vice president and chief product officer for SAP Ariba.

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