We've been on a research rampage lately at Spend Matters (and there's much more in our immediate pipeline to come than there's ever been). Our latest Compass publication just hit the site over the weekend: Getting the Most from ERP Procurement Applications -- Focusing on the User Experience and Content Management. We took it upon ourselves to write this paper to highlight perhaps the two most important two key areas of supplementary investment that organizations considering SAP or Oracle procurement should consider. By focusing on enhancing the user experience and driving successful content and catalog management (including search and shopping), organizations can get almost just as much from ERP procurement technology as they can best of breed solutions. The only hold-up is that companies can't go it alone with a single ERP partner -- other vendors must also step into the ring.
Despite the progress ERP providers have made in eProcurement over the years -- within the context of a rising to number of best-of-breed providers and the continued strength of Ariba -- they still face a number of fundamental challenges in delivering a truly integrated purchase-to-pay capability without the help of partners in auxiliary areas. In 2011, a major analyst firm published an update to their earlier eProcurement rankings, suggesting, "the ERP giants have enhanced their products greatly overly the past few years, so their functionality matches the specialists in most criteria and event exceeds it in other."
While we think this is an observant statement, at the same time, it's still important to understand where the ERP providers fail to deliver on their own without the help of partnerships and other third parties. The Spend Matters bottom line is that if you're going down the ERP eProcurement path, it's still extremely helpful to consider third-party vendors (including ERP partners) as early as possible in the software evaluation process. This is true regardless of whether you're migrating from Ariba or another tool or investing in P2P tools for the first time. Without a doubt, ERP transactional purchasing technology has come a very long way, but the last thing you want is to get marooned on a partially built island that might appear from an initial glance to look fully constructed as you approach the harbor.
When it comes to ERP procurement applications from SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft, far too many organizations don't think about continuous investment outside of periodic upgrade cycles. Yet by investing incrementally over time in a number of essential areas to get more from existing and planned investments, companies can create a magnifier effect on the returns their ERP P2P applications will provide. And more often than not, the true incremental capital outlay is minimal (and in some cases non-existent) provided procurement and IT organizations put their heads together and plan accordingly.
This Spend Matters Compass analysis focuses on two key areas where continuous and thoughtful investment matter, not to mention where the latest (i.e., 2H2011 and 2012) capabilities from third-parties can play an essential role in driving a multiplier effect on the initial investment. In each of these areas, we provide multiple elements and recommendations. These include core summary explanations and recommendations, select tips and tactics in each area that go beyond the headlines and suggested technologies/partners for consideration, many of which are closely linked into the ERP ecosystem already (i.e., BPO and partner relationships) for each of the following suggestions:
- Consider "Re-Skinning" the Interface for Core Buying Activities.
- Controlling the Shopping Experiences and Managing Diverse Catalog and Supplier Content
If you're considering the move to an SAP, Oracle or PeopleSoft eProcurement environment or want to enhance a deployment that's already in progress or installed, you owe it to yourself to read: Getting the Most from ERP Procurement Applications -- Focusing on the User Experience and Content Management. Download your free copy today (readers should take note that within the next 60 days, only qualified practitioners will be able to access this content for free).