At SAP’s CPO Circle South Africa event, experts explained the importance of procurement professionals in modern business.

Carlos Mercuriali; SVP Intelligent Spend Management & Business Network, EMEA-S

Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) are important strategic players in modern business and should be equipped with the right technologies to perform optimally.

This is according to SAP SVP of Intelligent Spend Management and Business Network, Carlos Mercuriali, who was speaking at SAP’s CPO Circle South Africa event in Johannesburg.

Mercuriali presented the keynote address at the event, after which SAP experts spoke about the company’s industry-leading procurement solutions.

This included SAP Business Network, which was covered by Senior Solution Specialist Cyril Rathogwa and Head of SAP Business Network for EMEA-S, Ayan Chakraboty.

Rathogwa explained that the SAP Business Network solution comprises a comprehensive collaborative system that includes several powerful features:

  • Qualtrix – Connects procurement data with real-time human insights to make data-driven decisions and actions.
  • Guided sourcing – Streamlines user experience for creating and managing sourcing projects and events.
  • ERP integration – SAP Business Network seamlessly integrates into your existing ERP.

Chakraboty then highlighted how SAP Business Network bridges the gaps between procurement and suppliers in the following ways:

  • Fulfilment – Buyers can collaborate with suppliers to shift product schedules or alter product mix.
  • Logistics – Delayed shipments are highlighted so schedules can be adjusted and operational bottlenecks can be detected.
  • Invoicing – SAP Business Network automatically generates digital invoices that are easily accessible for procurement and suppliers.
  • Payments – SAP Taulia offers dynamic discounting and supply chain finance.

SAP Fieldglass

Basel Alshawa, Head of SAP Fieldglass for EMEA-S, was next to speak, and explained how the SAP Fieldglass solution makes it easy to source on-demand labour and expertise.

Fieldglass integrates into SAP Ariba, SAP Business Network, and SAP ERP to help CPOs monitor which service providers are delivering more value.

This makes it easier to determine which providers should be used for important business tasks.

Industry insights

SAP’s CPO Circle event provided an opportunity for senior procurement leaders from top South African organisations like Nedbank and SARS to discuss the state of procurement in the country, too.

Kaunain Nurani, SAP EMEA-S GTM and Transformation Lead: Intelligent Spend Management and Business Network, complemented this discussion, and explained that procurement has become an important driver of organisational innovation.

“There is a stereotype about CPOs and procurement that implies these professionals are just number crunchers, but CPOs no longer see themselves as that stereotype. They have access to data that has turned them into trusted advisors,” said Nurani.

Retief Ferreira, Partner Operations Consultant at PWC, said that in addition to the above, procurement departments have become important players in finance.

“If you know where you’re spending your money, you know where you can improve, particularly in terms of having the right suppliers and getting new ones where appropriate,” said Ferreira.

He also highlighted the importance of using local suppliers – both in terms of costs, and in terms of social responsibility.

“We have a responsibility to develop local suppliers when they are available,” he said.

Click here to learn more about SAP’s procurement solutions.