Best of Spend Matters: SAP

Supplier Enablement and P2P Roadblocks -- Catalog and Content Management (Part 1) -- One of the areas where companies often fail when it comes to bringing as much indirect spend under management as possible is catalog and content management. These tools enable the P2P experience by focusing on supplier self-service, multi-catalog search, configuration, and what we'll term "virtual punch-out," which includes distributed content search, aggregation and presentation of information (not to mention the application of specific rules to this distributed data). Providers in these areas can enable technically savvy business users (not IT) to administer the overall content and catalog management program once it's up and running. (Part 2)

Examining SAP Supplier InfoNet (Part 1) -- In the early years at Spend Matters, I remember being impressed by the concept of Open Ratings, a vendor that sat between the software and content worlds. Open Ratings' solution attempted to predict whether or not a supplier would remain financially viable based on a combination of financial, credit and related inputs. Although their execution was not always perfect -- and they were held hostage by some of their content providers over third-party data until D&B, one of their major content sources, finally acquired them -- it is clear that Open Ratings was the pioneering solution voice in the supply chain risk management sector. (Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5)

SAP to Source Risk Data From Cortera, Endorsing an Upstart Content Enrichment Provider (Part 1) -- Earlier today, SAP announced that the Cortera Risk Data and Reporting solution had become an "SAP-endorsed business solution." SAP customers will now have the ability to easily integrate Cortera supplier risk content into SAP's BusinessObject Spend Performance Management application through the SAP BusinessObjects Data Enrichment and Classification OnDemand solution. A mouthful, I know, but essentially SAP has partnered with Cortera to allow the virtual OEMing of data that competitors such as Ariba and Oracle are "sourcing" from D&B (although clients actually contract on Cortera's paper, not SAP's, in this particular case). This whole content partnership thing can be a bit confusing however, since in general, it's possible to integrate any type of risk enrichment data from any provider into any spend visibility or supplier management toolset, even if your vendor does not have a partnership with the provider you want to use. In fact, in some cases, companies might have credits with D&B and others from another piece of the business (e.g., trade credit, sales) that they can apply on the supplier risk side of the equation. (Part 2)

Hubwoo and SAP Look Forward -- Which Dog is Wagging Which Tail? (Part 1) -- Two weeks ago, I had the chance to speak at Hubwoo's Americas user event (they held their European event the previous week). For those who know how close Hubwoo is to their patron, the location of the event would not surprise you -- the SAP HQ in Newtown Square. The US event was well attended (at least 30 practitioners) including a number of who spoke frankly about their experiences, opportunities and challenges. Hubwoo provided four customer awards at the event. Sara Lee won for supplier enablement. Consol Energy took the prize for "significant ROI," Ecopetrol claimed victory for "spend under management." And Honeywell came in first for "catalog content enablement." (Part 2 and Part 3)

Negotiating With SAP -- Weighing Different Advice on Tactics for Q4 Smack Downs (Part 1) -- Earlier this month, Forrester's Duncan Jones published a detailed SAP sourcing op/ed in the form of a research brief titled Three Key tips to Optimizing your Commercial Relationship With SAP -- Encourage SAP to Adapt to Current Licensing trends Forrester subscribers can access the research here. Even though we're not SAP (or even more broadly speaking IT negotiation and sourcing experts) here at Spend Matters, the topic is worth discussing given the substantial percentage of readers it affects. Duncan frames his argument, saying "many sourcing and vendor management professionals are currently facing tough negotiations with SAP, which does over 40% of its license business in the fourth quarter." He then frames the challenge that companies face in preventing rising maintenance costs while budgets and value delivery decrease, achieving an appropriate price level on license purchases and resisting unreasonable non-compliance claims. All in all, Duncan's work represents an opinionated primer on a topic that certainly goes past SAP in much of its general advice. (Part 2)

-- Brianna Tonner

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