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Procurement 2011 Keynote: Keeping the Spotlight By Increasing Efficiency

by Dave Hannon

March 23, 2011

Dave Hannon

There wasn’t a lot of good news in the extended economic downturn, but  procurement organizations have seen at least one positive result: They’ve gotten a lot more attention than they used to due to the emphasis on costs. And the best procurement organizations have risen to that challenge by effectively reducing costs within their enterprises.

“The downturn was a chance for procurement to gain the spotlight and now they have to maintain it,” said Emily Rakowski, Senior Director of Procurement Solutions Marketing at SAP and a keynote speaker at Procurement 2011. One of the ways procurement can do that is to increase its efficiency, a top priority for procurement organizations, according to Rakowski. “Every procurement organization we talk with is trying to do more with what they have.”

Rakowski and co-presenter Chris Salis, Global Vice President, SAP Procurement and Operational Performance Management Solutions, outlined how SAP’s procurement solutions can help organizations live up to those expectations. In fact, they did more than outline the solutions available (we’ll get to that). Rakowski said “procurement is the living embodiment of the SAP strategy.”

How so? Well for starters, you know that SAP’s primary solution strategy today is threefold: on-premise, on-device and on-demand. And SAP procurement solutions are available in those three models currently. “SAP procureme nt is the perfect example of the strategy in action,” she said.

And Rakowski ensured Procurement 2011 attendees the company has committed to the procurement space going forward. And along those lines, Rakowski and Salis unveiled a few more highlights on the SAP Procurement solution roadmap.

SAP BusinessObjects Spend Performance Management (SPM) 3.0 is slated for availability the second quarter and will include enhancements to the Data Enrichment Classification tool. SAP Sourcing OnDemand Wave 8 will be available next week. Look for more advanced analytics capabilities in the procurement solutions, as SAP BusinessObjects functionality is embedded in them.

SAP will also continue to emphasize its on-demand and on-premise offerings for Contract Lifecycle Management, a “critical discipline not enough companies are focused on” according to Rakowski. SAP CLM 7.0 is planned for Q2 as well.

The keynote was also heavy on customer examples. Highlights included Siemens running SAP SRM over several ERP systems to push purchase orders to their various businesses, for example. Aetna cut its Sarbanes-Oxley reporting time from days to seconds using SAP CLM while Sarah Lee used SAP Sourcing to help drive cost savings of 22% or $240 million.

With all of that functionality at its fingertips, it’s a good bet that procurement organizations will be able to hold onto that well-deserved spotlight.

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