SAP Influencer Summit, Dispatch 4: The SAP Procurement Portfolio (Part 1)

Even though I've written at length about SAP's procurement portfolio earlier this year, paying particular attention to recent developments in the P2P (i.e., SRM) and E-Sourcing arenas, I thought it worth spending a few posts providing an update on how SAP is positioning its broader suite of procurement capabilities, and how it is going to market with them. In this first post in this series, I'll touch quickly on how SAP positions its overall procurement-solution portfolio. To kick this off -- and before passing any judgment on the merits of SAP's overall strategy and solutions in this area -- it's worth quoting SAP directly on how it views its solutions in this area.

To wit, SAP's procurement portfolio is aimed at providing "a closed end-to-end process loop between sourcing and procurement [that] enables critical transparency from savings identification to the delivery of realized savings." Perhaps most interesting –- and in a shift from past solution architectural diagrams –- is that SAP has put spend analysis (or "Spend Performance Management," as it calls it) at the core of its solutions. Sourcing, SRM, and contact management –- not to mention a range of enabling capabilities and integration hooks and services –- surround this data-management and analytics core.

As a functional module and solution, there's not much new from SAP other than a new ( well, sort-of new) supplier-management module (but more on that early next week). In addition to supplier management, SAP continues to offer procurement and related products in the same areas as before, including spend analytics, sourcing, contract management, and operational procurement. It's offering these capabilities in three different ways, including a traditional installed (i.e., on-site) model, and On-Demand hosted by SAP and through BPO-enabled partners. It is important to note, however, that SAP's On-Demand products are limited to sourcing, contract management, and supplier management.

To deliver these solutions, SAP is working with a number of SI partners including Accenture, Wipro, Capgemini, IBM, Infosys, Tata, Deloitte, and Bristlecone. It's also working with a variety of infrastructure partners to deliver additional capability to its solutions. These partners include Open Text (for invoice-automation capability) and Adobe (SAP is using both Flex for its UI in spend analytics, and Adobe Interactive Forms to enable a richer level of interaction in the supplier-evaluation process).

Stay tuned for further reporting (and analysis) on what's currently in the SAP procurement suite, not to mention how its BPO (and managed sourcing/procurement provider) relationships are reshaping up.

Jason Busch

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