The SAP "Source to Pay" Roadmap

At Sapphire, SAP shared their source to pay roadmap for 2008-2010 on quite a high level. Still, I commend them for being open with their vision. I've written about many of the functional and architectural enhancements for 2008 already. But to sum it up, the 2008 SRM, Sourcing, and analytics releases will bring, in SAP's words, enhanced "procurement excellence", greater services procurement capabilities, enhanced sourcing, additional spend analytics and increased deployment flexibility. By 2009, SAP plans to make good on its collaborative supplier management vision, extend its services procurement capabilities further, fully integrate the legacy E-Sourcing (Frictionless) application into the SAP suite (which will have taken about 1/3 of a dog's life to do), deploy invoice management capability, and enhance risk & compliance analytics.

What's in store for 2010, you ask? SAP noted in both the presentation that provided this information and the slide that I copied down that the roadmap is subject to change. However, given current planning, SAP is planning to further enhance its supplier management capability in 2010 (let's hope they finally pay more attention to the need to enable more of a company's versus just a select few), "purchasing planning and optimization, best in class sourcing, best in class contract lifecycle management and extended invoice management".

So how does SAP's vision stack up to the rest of the market? It's not bad, honestly. SRM 7.0 will provide the fundamental building blocks to tightly integrate all of the objects and workflows within SRM with the rest of an SAP ERP deployment (including eventually SCM, PLM and other areas). This is no small feat. However, by 2010, the market will look dramatically different and what is best in class today could look entirely different tomorrow. I trust that once SAP SRM 7.0 is in place, that SAP will be more nimble as a fast follower of others, but I doubt that Waldorf will ever be truly best in class from an application standpoint relative to smaller providers that can move at 5x the innovation pace. Perhaps they'll prove me wrong. SRM 7.0 will be a big step in the right direction when it becomes available. But customers should not base any decisions on a roadmap. They should wait for SAP to deliver on promises, especially considering that past SRM releases have either been delayed or canceled (from a G/A standpoint).

- Jason Busch

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