Today on PRO — SAP and Ariba: Customer and Prospect Implications – E-Invoicing (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1 in this series.

Overview: This research brief provides a comparison and overview of different e-invoicing elements contained in solutions provided by SAP and Ariba (including invoice/data submission supplier portal, interoperability/integration, network connectivity, etc.). It explores current capabilities of SAP and Ariba (including partner solutions), comparative strengths/weaknesses, operating philosophies (e.g., network centric vs. network/connectivity agnostic) and alternative approaches in the market. This analysis will be of particular use to any prospect or customer of Ariba or SAP looking to develop an e-invoicing strategy, pursue a selection process or look to potential solution upgrades. It also provides insight into possible integrated roadmap and solution direction for SAP and Ariba based on an outside perspective.

Supplier Portal Capabilities and Discounting

Central to broad-based e-invoicing solutions are the ability to capture and manage AP-centric supplier information (e.g., collection of addresses, contact details, banking records, TIN numbers, W8/W9 records), as well as enable supplier self-service to check on the status of invoices and other request through supplier portal environments. Providers specializing in e-invoicing, such as Ariba, are likely to deliver stronger supplier-facing portal solutions to capture key details for ongoing AP-centric vendor management ...
Today, many of Ariba and SAP's competitors (and partners) in the e-invoicing realm offer basic AP-centric supplier portal capabilities.

Ariba itself, through the access provided to suppliers via the Ariba network, has more than solid foundational portal capability. SAP, through its various portal solutions, can enable foundational capability and access. SAP Supplier Self Services (SUS) and Biller Direct, for example, enable a portal environment for sharing and the interchange of basic information with suppliers (including both sourcing/RFX related and P2P related). Invoice Management, however, does not include...[continued on Spend Matters PRO]

E-Invoicing/P2P Interoperability and Integration (Buyer-Facing)

E-invoicing is not an island. In fact, one of the challenges of ERP-centric e-invoicing toolsets is a lack of native and simplified integration with heterogeneous systems – eProcurement (non ERP), multiple ERP/MRP systems and instances, services procurement/VMS solutions and different payment mechanisms/systems (e.g., p-card PO/p-card invoice, ACH, check). For example, SAP's partnership with OpenText provides native integration into SAP environments (it is in fact built on SAP code), but broader integration outside of SAP systems (e.g., VMS, third-party eProcurement) can become a material custom software deployment/development effort and is not something Spend Matters recommends...

E-invoicing (and P2P) competitors including Basware, Oracle, Verian, TradeShift and others will need to have more thought out answers to their off-the-shelf adapter/connector strategy for heterogeneous environments once a combined Ariba e-invoicing/network and SAP II environment are specifically launched and tailored for buy-side P2P integration...[continued on Spend Matters PRO]

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- Sheena Moore

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