Please click here for the first post in this series, analyzing some of the general capabilities and core features of SAP's On Demand Supplier Management product. This analysis is based on a recent Spend Matters Compass Report: Supplier Management Market Observations: Recent Trending, Musings on SAP's Core Offering and General Deployment Pitfalls (for all Solutions) to Avoid. The report can be downloaded for free (registration required) via the previous link.
Spend Matters believes that the potential for vendor management greatness -- yes, we're too deep in this subject matter for our own good -- is there in SAP's Wave 7 release. Consider the configurable executive dashboards, the many data points captured and tracked, etc. As background, SAP has deployed several iterations of its sourcing application over the years. At the time of evaluation, "Wave 5" (version 5) appears to be what is in actual use in the marketplace. According to SAP, the Wave 6 released was not broadly adopted because Wave 7 came out shortly afterward. Several clients have now implemented Wave 7, but in the short-term these clients have decided not to launch public 'walk-in' supplier registration portals, instead opting for private registration links, at least at the time of our research into SAP On Demand Supplier Management deployments in 2011.
Moreover, Wave 8, which is now generally available, adds additional features as well, including greater flexibility in uploading scorecard definitions as well as enhanced granularity around tracking specific KPIs/metrics. From our perspective, the solution looks attractive and appears to deliver much of the best-of-breed content. In fact, the best-of-breed vendors doing business with SAP-based companies should be concerned.
From an internal usage perspective, both Wave 5 and Wave 7 present a relatively straightforward (if not overly intuitive) supplier management functional cockpit. In comparison to best of breed vendors, we believe SAP is not far off the mark with its earlier release, and achieves comparative or superior basic usability -- from workflow configuration to survey creation to KPI tracking and reporting -- with the latest instances of its supplier management module.
For our full analysis of the solution, you can download our Compass research brief on SAP Supplier Management here.