In this final post on Simplifying IT's SBx product (See installments 1, 2, and 3 by clicking these links), I thought I'd attempt to do a few things. First, I'll share some quick feedback from a reference user I spoke with (which will also help potential customers understand the characteristics which may -- or may not -- make it a good solution for their needs). Second, I'll offer a summary of what the solution does for those who haven't followed this series closely or who would like some summary bullets to share with colleagues. Finally, I'll offer some parting opinions on the solution.
The Simplifying IT customer I spoke with represents one of only a handful of organizations deploying or using this brand new product. They are currently operating in a development environment test phase. The procurement technology lead I spoke with in charge of the program was no stranger to SAP SRM (he was part of the original 3.0 implementation team at his company). He opted for SBx because on top of SRM 5.0 primarily to extend the capability and ease of use of the product.
As one example regarding the benefits of SBx, he suggested the fact that "everything on one screen" will greatly simplify things for users, who won't have to scroll up and down. Moreover, they'll have simple access to information on a single page without requiring multiple clicks -- requisitions, POs, other related activity, etc. But perhaps most important in the buying decision, the company found that SBx was a step towards change in the right direction in terms of overall user friendliness and ease of use for vendor selection, compliance and related areas. This company plans to go live with the product shortly across five global sites, as the test phase is "going well."
For other companies looking for ways to extend the capability of earlier versions of SAP SRM or are not interested in deploying SRM but want to leverage their core SAP components with a greatly enhanced indirect purchasing capability, Simplifying IT may very well offer the right combination of:
- A flex-based front-end that brings an application that looks and feels over a decade old into the modern applications era
- A greatly enhanced (not just simpler) UI that simplifies navigation, help requests, etc.
- Streamlined workflow and approvals that enhance compliance
- Improved cross-catalog and site search and content/catalog information discovery and presentation capability
In Spend Matters view, Simplifying IT does not address all of the underlying challenges of SAP SRM (e.g., invoice automation/management, content/catalog management, supplier enablement, etc.) but what they've done is nothing short of remarkable despite the holes that remain. Sure, there's risk in going with Simplifying IT -- they're a very small company -- but honestly, you'll pay a single on-shore Accenture SAP SRM implementation specialist/expert at least two and a half times as much as the annual cost of the application (which includes implementation). So in short, if you're a company on SRM 5.0 or earlier, and are not planning on upgrading to SRM 7.0 in the near future -- or simply want to reevaluate your options in the context of an upgrade or not -- you have absolutely nothing to lose in at least walking through a demonstration of Simplifying IT's SBx product. SRM 7.0 users may want to take a quick look as well. I guarantee it will bring a smile to your face.
And for all those companies without SAP SRM but with an SAP back-end and related modules (MDM, MM, PS, CS, PM, etc.), Simplifying IT could very well be the 70% procurement solution for you at 10% of the cost (or less) of an SAP SRM roll-out. Of course, what Simplifying IT has done at the end of the day is to show how behind-the-times SAP is with its front-end from a transactional indirect purchasing perspective -- and how much catching up it has to do with Coupa and others when it comes to deploying a solution that is intuitive, simple and easy to use.