Spend Matters: Surround Strategies to Enhance SAP, Oracle and Ariba (Part 1)

Last week, we published a new Spend Matters research analysis on the P2P and eProcurement market: Surround Strategies to Get More From Existing ERP, eProcurement and P2P Investments. In the paper, among other observations and recommendations, we offer up five strategies companies can take to surround an existing eProcurement, invoice automation or broader P2P investment from the likes of SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Ariba, Basware and others. These are:

  1. Invest in a new user experience layer that creates a usability buffer and potentially adds new capability
  2. Augment existing eProcurement or P2P investments with third-party tools or solutions in targeted areas that improve the basic capability of the system itself
  3. Invest in complementary technology that goes beyond original capabilities
  4. Work with a third-party solutions provider that will provide technology and more services-driven capabilities
  5. Purchase new solutions that gradually consume their hosts

In a series of posts exploring these strategies we'll plan to explore each of these approaches in more detail, starting first today with the initial surround strategy model: invest in a new user experience layer that creates a usability buffer and potentially adds new capability. The concept here is for organizations to put in place a new user experience layer that creates a usability buffer and potentially adds related capability (e.g., federated search across internally hosted and supplier hosted catalogs, vendor websites) between the legacy investment and the user to support the original application's core functionality.

Of all the approaches, this is the one that comes closest to truly serving in a "surround" capacity. There are several options and deployment partners in this strategy, but most tend to revolve around the SAP ecosystem. A user can chose, for example, among the following options specifically designed to sit on top of an SAP SRM environment (and/or ECC alone) to serve as a complete or partial indirect procurement web front-end (e.g., search, shopping, requisitioning): Simplifying IT, Hubwoo (with Simplifying IT), IBX/Capgemini, WALLMEDIEN and even SAP (in 2012, SAP will generally release an optional new front-end to SRM).

Outside the SAP environment, a number of other providers can serve in a similar capacity with a focus on enabling a broader range of vendors (including SAP, but also Oracle, PeopleSoft, Ariba, etc.) These include: BuyerQuest, Coupa, SciQuest (higher education, life sciences/pharma, etc.) and Vinimaya, among others.

Depending on capability and configuration, these solutions go beyond replacing a frontline user interface. They can include the ability to search a range of punch-out sites, websites, inventory, and catalogs (either internally or supplier hosted). They can also allow users to more easily create groups, kits and bundles of related items and, in certain cases, allow searches based on multiple taxonomies, terms and structures (as users want to see items and services appear – not as they were originally configured in an ERP master code roll out).

If you're curious to learn more about how best to surround current implementations to extract additional value, we would encourage you to download: Surround Strategies to Get More From Existing ERP, eProcurement and P2P Investments.

- Jason Busch

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