SAP SRM Mini-Summit Notes

This morning, I'd like to welcome back a regular guest columnist to Spend Matters. Brian Sommer is a Senior Fellow at Azul Partners, founder of Tech Ventive, and author of the blogs Services Safari and Software Safari. I asked Brian to share his thoughts on last week's SAP Influencers Summit, specifically the mini-summit within the event on their SRM suite. I had wanted to attend but had too many project and travel conflicts as the year winds down. However, Brian did a great job covering the key facts and announcements. I'll also add some color to his observations and notes in the coming days.

At last week's SAP influencers summit, I attended a mini-summit on SRM.

John Zepecki of SAP led off the multi-hour event. John covered a number of themes that are eerily reminiscent of a talk that I've heard Jason Busch give many times over the last few years. Specifically, John discussed how the role of the CPO is being elevated in companies and how the CPO role is rising in importance. This was highlighted via pictures of current newspaper and magazine headlines. He also discussed how CPOs are being recruited from outside the organization and even from outside procurement circles. Finally, he discussed the enormity of savings that companies can achieve via optimizing their procurement and supply chain.

John highlighted the following complexity factors that are impacting today's CPOs:

-- corporate social responsibility
-- supplier labor practices
-- geopolitical risk
-- total landed cost
-- total system quality
-- Sarbanes-Oxley and purchase controls
-- Green supply chain
-- supply chain disruptions and contingencies
-- supplier viability
-- customer data privacy
-- off-shoring and outsourcing
-- supplier business continuity plans

Of the above, total system quality, total landed costs, and supply chain disruptions and contingencies were identified as key issues in 1987. All of the other items have been building in importance over the years to create a more difficult job for the CPO.

John shared some statistics relative to the SAP SRM ecosystem. He pegged the current SRM customer account at over 3500. The e-Sourcing customer count currently stands at approximately 135. SAP expects this number to increase by 45 or so new customers by year-end. These numbers include the Frictionless customer base. Frictionless was acquired by SAP approximately 18 months ago. With the enormity of SAP's installed base and sales force, I questioned whether this expected customer count represents a significant uptake of the e-Sourcing product.

SAP has four main SRM products: xSA (spend analytics), e-Sourcing, xCLM (contract management) and SRM. xSA and xCLM are SAP cross-apps. In short, here are the plans releases for these products for the next year:

Q3/Q4 2007 -- e-Sourcing 5.0, xCLM 1.0, SRM 2007
Q2 2008 -- e-Sourcing 5.1, xCLM 1.1, xSA 2.0
Q4 2008 -- Business Suite SRM 7.0

Here's additional detail for the individual products. Given the speed with which the presenter moved through these items, I did not capture all of the enhancements planned for each release. Here are the partial product roadmap plans:

SRM -- Q4 2007

-- simpler user interface
-- more efficient spot sourcing
-- greater workflow flexibility

SRM -- Q4 2008 -- SRM 7.0

-- enable operational sourcing as a purchase requisition in ERP
-- verify ERP invoice against contracts for higher compliance
-- greater services procurement functionality
-- increased alignment with ERP

xSA - Q3 2007 -- version 1.0

-- spend aggregation

xSA - Q2 2008 -- version 2.0

-- greater spend analysis sophistication
-- integration into these sourcing module

xCLM - Q3 2007 version 1.0

-- document repository centralization

xCLM - Q2 2008 -- version 1.1

-- utilize duet capability for contract authority and clause creation and Microsoft Word
-- fulltext search
-- Improved amendment process, capabilities for contract changes
-- enhanced contract flow creation capabilities

eSourcing - Q3 2007 version 5.0

-- an enhanced RFI sophistication
-- materials management integration

eSourcing - Q2 2008 version 5.1

-- support for IBM eight I ask, HP -- UX, SQL server platforms

Brian Sommer authors the blog: Services Safari

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