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Digitize & Transform Procure-to-Pay with SAP Ariba Solutions

August 03, 2017

Lack of visibility into payment status and related supplier inquiries. Manual, check-based invoice processing. Incomplete supplier information. Sound familiar? SAP Ariba solutions can help you overcome these challenges by digitizing and streamlining all your procure-to-pay (P2P) activities.

Sean Thomson, SAP, and John Hays, B4 Consulting, joined SAPinsider for a live chat on SAP Ariba. Read the transcript to get answers to specific questions and learn how packaged solutions such as SAP Ariba Snap! Procurement from B4 Consulting can help you remove complexity and reduce costs in the P2P process while giving you the essential tools to manage everything from source to settle. 

Live Blog Digitize & Transform Procure-to-Pay with SAP Ariba Solutions

Matthew Shea

Thank you for joining today's chat on digitizing & transforming procure-to-pay with SAP Ariba solutions. I am excited to be joined by SAP's Sean Thomson and B4 Consulting's John Hays.

Matthew Shea

Sean is an SAP veteran and has been instrumental in developing and bringing the SAP Ariba Snap! Procurement to market. John Hays, SAP Ariba Senior Consultant, B4 Consulting, Inc. John has led several successful SAP Ariba implementations for some of world’s leading companies throughout North America and is leading B4 Consulting Ariba Snap! Procurement projects.

Matthew Shea

To start the chat, I'd like to pose a question to both panelists: What exactly is Snap Procurement and how does it differ from standard SAP Ariba?

Sean Thomson:

Hi Matt - thanks for having us!!

Sean Thomson:

We listened to our customers and developed Ariba product that is fast time to value, best practices built in, and access to a marketplace with catalog content on day 1

John Hays

Thank you, Matt. Regarding SNAP, it is the critical elements of a procurement foundation at a minimum of complexity

Comment From Sarah McMullen

Hi Matt, we have had a lot of suppliers ask to come off Ariba due to the fees. Do you know how other Customers deal with this?

Sean Thomson:

Hi Sarah - Your suppliers can transact for FREE on Ariba Network. Send PO`s, Invoices, Order Confirmations, Ship Notices, etc... you should reach out to your Customer Engagement Executive (CEX) for information about LIGHT ACCOUNT in Ariba Network

Sean Thomson:

It is awesome!!! And makes our Ariba Network even more inclusive to businesses of all sizes. This Light Account is at the very core of Snap! Procurement as well.

Comment From Rick

Which ERP solutions integrate with Snap! Procurement?

John Hays:

Essentially al ERP systems can now be integrated to Ariba. The integration toolkit is both robust and broad enough to handle all aspects of the integration

Comment From Kit

Can you configure other categories to the guided buying landing page?

Sean Thomson:

Hi Kit - Yes, you can add additional categories that are specific for your business. It is easy to do as well. With Snap! Procurement, you get pre-built categories with content and forms for:

  • IT & IT Services
  • Office Supplies
  • Advertising & Printing
  • Marketing Services
  • Financial Services
  • Legal & HR Services
  • Facilities / Maintenance
  • Travel

Comment From Jodi

Can you restrict marketplace content by role or persona? Also by category?

Sean Thomson:

Hi Jodi - yes, you can restrict catalog content by role in the company and location of an employee. For example, if you have users in US, they will see content from our US Marketplace. If in UK, they will see content from UK Suppliers and Marketplace

Sean Thomson:

Now the cool thing about our marketplace is that you can control content by commodity... for example, there is an admin page where you can toggle on and toggle off what content your users to see and what now. In addition, your approval workflows and cost center information is also part of any purchase.

Sean Thomson:

These are unique value props to Ariba Marketplace! You choose the content for your users! No competitor can do this.

Comment From Jacob von Wildenradt

My Q is how does Ariba & ERP integrate? Does there exist a standard set of integration scenarios for each process within Procure-to-Pay that grant that no special development is need if SAP best practices are followed?

John Hays:

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of SNAP is the pre-determined flows, processes, approvals out of the box. The structure is both robust and complete, essentially eliminating the need for customized integration. In my mind, there are few instances where the custom integration justifies both the up front and ongoing maintenance costs

Comment From Remy

Do users in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, UK, Germany, and Australia have access to content immediately?

Sean Thomson:

Yes, the marketplace is growing fast. We are up to 60m SKU`s from quality and vetted suppliers. It is available for users in US, Canada, UK, Germany today...

Sean Thomson:

And we just signed agreements with Mercado Libre that will make our marketplace available in Latin America.

Sean Thomson:

And now Mercateo is our marketplace provider for EMEA... and we are only going to grow here.

Comment From Kathleen

Are analytics provided? If so, how does the reporting look?

John Hays:

Yes, focused on the P2P lifecycle. As part of Snap, we have provided end to end capabilities to support the entire procure to pay process. Additionally, any data elements can be reported on

Sean Thomson:

Hi Kathleen - like John said... all the basics are reported on (approvals, spend by categories, invoices exceptions, accruals, etc...) you can set it up to have a weekly report sent to your stakeholders directly from the tool. Or download in excel and have fun with it!

Comment From Taylor

What are the supplier fees associated to this solution?

Sean Thomson:

Hi Taylor - thanks for asking this. Suppliers can transact on Ariba Network for FREE. As of 2017, Suppliers can transact PO`s, Invoices, OC`s, ASN`s... etc...

Comment From Carmen Martinez

Would you please talk about implementation?

Sean Thomson:

Yes, we go live in under 12 weeks. Our expectation is to demo back your Snap! Solution back to you during the kickoff project with your company`s Guided Buying Site... You will get best practices on day 1 out-of-the-box and can certainly adjust those best practices, but we want you to be transacting within 2 weeks in our marketplace.

Sean Thomson:

This is a different approach to the traditional Ariba! We are really excited about how the market is responding with this new approach

John Hays:

One other important point-supplier enablement and self-service are a critical aspect of the successful implementation and have been fully integrated rather than being an adjunct

Matthew Shea

Thank you for all the great questions so far! Keep them coming!

Comment From Deb

What is the upgrade path for companies that want to add functionality for the LE P2P?

Sean Thomson:

Great question, Deb. Snap! is the same P2P solution we deploy at LE customers but we focus on the features and functionality that are critical to growing businesses and deploy only those features. If you need additional features in the future, these are already included in your license and you can toggle them on at any time.

Sean Thomson:

That is the beauty of Snap!... it is a solution that is built to grow with your business

Sean Thomson:

Start with the basics. Get fast time to value in your key spend categories... and grow as your company is ready.

John Hays:

Sean makes a great point. Think of SNAP as the foundation, the bedrock. The various elements fit together to provide strength and resilience. Once The foundation is set you can add those features and functionalities that best meet your needs while minimizing cost and operational risk

Comment From Dawn

Are there limits on the number of POs and Invoices that SNAP! will host for free?

Sean Thomson:

Hi Dawn - yes, we have pricing tiers that make the commercials very simple. And there is flexibility built in.

Comment From Carmen Martinez

As I am understanding, it applies for non-SAP customers as well. is it correct?

Sean Thomson:

Yes, Carmen. Ariba SNAP is ERP Agnostic and we will deploy in <12 weeks

Comment From Kathleen

How do approval processes work? What do they look like?

Sean Thomson:

Hi Kathleen - you will get our best practice approval workflow out-of-the box. You can approve in Ariba application, in email, or mobile.

Sean Thomson:

Approval workflows have tons of flexibility. There are parallel approvals to accelerate process. There is a concept of a watcher, and user approval groups.

John Hays:

Out of the box approvals include role, dollar value, special situation. minimizing the need to build customizations.

Comment From Dawn

If a client has its suppliers recorded differently from the Snap P2P solution, how do you migrate a customer's new suppliers to the network, and how to you normalize the information recorded about suppliers?

Sean Thomson:

Hi Dawn - you can manage this directly in your P2P site. It is really the same as SNAP. You just need to mark those suppliers as email transactions (i.e. Light Account) in the Supplier Enablement section

Comment From Laurie

What is the process for suppliers to join the Ariba Network?

Sean Thomson:

Suppliers can join the network at discovery.ariba.com but they are also invited to network from the buyer in their Ariba site. This can be done as an invitation or when a PO is sent to supplier prompting

Sean Thomson:

Suppliers are our customers too. We used a lot of UX principles to change the game on how we can interact with suppliers on the network.

Comment From Paul

How much does it cost for suppliers to join the Ariba Network?

Sean Thomson:

Hi Paul - it is FREE for suppliers to join the network and they can transact with their customers too.

Comment From Dustin

Is the Snap Procurement catalog the same as the standard Ariba catalog?

John Hays:

it is the same. The difference is that we deliver a range of catalogs for day one

Comment From Carmen Martinez

From the customer side, is the investment handled by PO? Or transactions? Or connections?

Sean Thomson:

Hi Carmen - we price by volume. The number of documents (PO and Invoices per year) ... We allow unlimited users as we want everybody in your company to have flexibility to access the tool

Matthew Shea

Hi everyone, we have room for a few more questions before the chat concludes in 20 minutes.

Comment From Guest

What about SAP S/4HANA integration?

Sean Thomson:

We have native integration with SAP S/4HANA.

Comment From Devon

How does the Ariba offering differ from those of the competition?

Sean Thomson:

Here are the highlights:

  1.           Fast time to value (<12 weeks)
  2.           Best practices built in
  3.           Access to marketplace (content engine) that you control by commodity
  4.           UPGRADE Path!!!
  5.           Local Resources - local language support and real-delivery expertise
  6.           Integration is simple and easy
  7.           Commercial flexibility i.e. Unlimited users and low subscription price
  8.           Suppliers can transact for free in Network

Comment From Carmen Martinez

You mentioned MercadoLibre for Latin America, are there other customers in LA or Caribbean region?

Sean Thomson:

Yes, we have a large Ariba presence of Buyers and Suppliers in Latin America.

Sean Thomson:

We are super excited about this partnership too. I worked for Ariba in Latam for 3 years, so I know the market well.... it will benefit so much by having Mercado Libre pumping qualified content to our Ariba customers there. It will help with the tactical procurement culture that is in Latam!!!

Comment From Jacob von Wildenradt

What are integration scenarios between ERP and Ariba?

Sean Thomson:

Hi Jacob - first, we can integrate with everything. 42% of Ariba customers are non-SAP.

Sean Thomson:

With SAP software, there are 170 native integration points...

Sean Thomson:

The number of integrations is 8x of any competitor and covers the entire Source-to-Settle process

John Hays:

Jacob great question. In addition to the points Sean brought up, there are several strategies that can be considered, particularly if you are thinking about the efficiency of the enterprise model

Comment From Carmen Martinez

May I find brochures or whitepapers about Ariba Snap at SAP PartnerEdge?

Sean Thomson:

Sure... we will send to you directly. I think it is not in SAP PartnerEdge yet.

Comment From Guest

what does it mean to implement Ariba and move then to  SAP S/4HANA? which is your experience in having Ariba connected to GRC using Greenlight technology?

John Hays:

Regarding SAP S/4HANA, we have built the product with an eye towards future proofing. I would need more information regarding Greenlight to give you a complete answer. Please feel free to follow up with me directly. I can tell you that Greenlight adapters have been used successfully with Ariba in multiple instances

Sean Thomson:

Yes SAP S/4HANA Ariba is awesome... the core value prop is that it digitalizes your transactions from S4 to your suppliers in real-time. No more paper in the process!!

Sean Thomson:

You will know status of your orders, and your suppliers will know when they are going to get paid. And we save trees in process :)

John Hays

Please feel free to email me with any questions you many have on Ariba Solutions

Sean Thomson

Thanks to all!! We are really excited to introduce Snap! Procurement to the market. More exciting news to come... but finally we can get Mid-Market Customers the ability to take advantages of the Ariba Network!!

Sean Thomson

Remember when you think of Snap! you need to think of:

  1. Fast time to value
  2. Best practices built in
  3. Access to market (catalog content) on day 1
  4. Financial reporting and controls at your fingertips

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