P2P and SAP/ERP Integration: Business Needs (and Workshops) Should Come First

When it comes to P2P and ERP integration, business needs should always come first. Indeed, it is essential to address the requirements of line-of-business users before making technology choices and trade-offs.

Business objectives should also take precedence over technology preferences – at a minimum, they have to be well coordinated with all stakeholders, not merely the IT department. While it is almost cliché to point out that technology is an enabler of the business, in order to develop a working strategy for integration, business issues must come before IT concerns or requirements.

Spend Matters' experience suggests that this process is best started by conducting internal integration workshops centered on the P2P implementation that includes all stakeholders.

These workshops are a balancing act; while allowing the integration team to work on different topics, there is also a need to avoid over complicating the process by injecting too much IT (or business) detail. In a perfectly balanced scenario, business and technical integration strategy become one – with support from all stakeholders. To achieve this, organizations must start with a process that begins by defining scope, methodology and a work plan.

But what should be a part of the workshop program?

We recommend, as a first step, defining processes owned by the P2P solution and those managed by the ERP system(s) or otherwise as well as defining integration approaches for ERP and technologies used based on business drivers (e.g. web services, secure flat files, SAP iDocs, BAPIs, or regular flat files).

But there’s more.

Stay tuned as we continue highlight many of the key observations and recommendations from Spend Matters white paper, Cloud P2P Deployment: A How-To Guide to SAP and ERP Integration with eProcurement and Beyond (free download). Authored by Xavier Olivera, P2P lead analyst, Jason Busch, founder and managing director, and Thomas Kase, vice president of research, it includes many lessons learned from the integration trenches.

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