In the two initial posts in this series, I discussed some of the basic functional and integration-focused enhancements planned for SAP E-Sourcing 6.0. In this post I'll provide some details on a number of other enhancements that users and prospects can expect as well. And in a final post to come, I'll provide a few final details including background and trends that SAP is seeing in deployment approaches. Ironically, in the earlier posts in this series, I started with the deeper functional stuff and ignored the surface-level enhancements -- which are in fact what everyone will see first. Indeed, with E-Sourcing 6.0, SAP has rolled out an entirely updated user interface that brings it closer in line with the broader SAP family of solutions.
Depending on your perspective, the fact that E-Sourcing 6.0 now looks and feels like the rest of SAP will either be a positive or a negative. Personally, I'm optimistic about the enhancements, as a number will make it easier for users to interact with and navigate the sourcing application. But perhaps this is no surprise as SAP spent an extensive amount of time testing the proposed enhancements and changes with current E-Sourcing users.
I had the chance to quickly try out the application at Sapphire and here's what I saw and learned. The first thing users will notice is the navigation flow has changed. For example, project management, which was historically under the sourcing, now has its own tab, to allow users to more intuitively use and refer to projects that may or may not include sourcing as well (e.g. contract management). SAP designed changes like this to enable users to do things more quickly from list views rather than having to drill down multiple levels into items (which was a direct request from the user base).
In general, 6.0 attempts to mask some of the complexity and configurability of the E-Sourcing application by simplifying the user navigation experience. The navigation pane on the left hand side of the screen provides a new look and a quicker means to access certain areas of the solution as well. Or consider how in the past, for example, E-Sourcing contained all of the content to a single core window. Now, E-Sourcing relies on new windows and pop-ups to guide users more quickly and intuitively through specific actions.
Users also get a new workbench when they click into a specific module or tab (rather than just having a higher-level workbench). It is also easier to quickly discover more about projects without clicking around. Within the RFX area, for example, the application shows the number of attachments you might have without requiring that a user click on the section to see. While I've only touched on a handful of the specific elements of the UI change, hopefully it's provided enough detail as a cursory exploration. If you're using SAP E-Sourcing today or even remotely considering it down the road as an option, I'd strongly suggest checking out the new interface and seeing what you think. And if you do and have a minute, post a comment with your thoughts.