Spend Matters 50/50: SAP – A Provider to Know in 2015

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SAP is obviously a provider to know. If you aren’t familiar with SAP, you have been living under a rock. SAP is essentially a holding company of many business units and acquired companies. It, of course, offers its SAP ERP product suite, but also offers its SRM product line that was a self-service e-procurement product (including catalog management) acquired from Commerce One. SAP also offers its SAP CLM and SAP Sourcing products that it acquired from Frictionless Commerce.

Most pertinent, however, to procurement is SAP’s acquisition of Ariba, which offers a complete cloud-based source-to-pay application suite and also the Ariba Network that is essentially a combination of an e-marketplace and a set of cloud applications (e.g., invoicing and payments) and enablement/connectivity services. SAP also purchased Fieldglass, a vendor management system (VMS), to support services procurement and contingent labor management. SAP also spent nearly $9 billion on travel and expense (T&E) management system Concur to support the expense management process for travel and p-card related spending. Finally, SAP bought Business Objects and used much of that technology for its Spend Performance Management spend analysis solution.

Dizzying, isn’t it? SAP clearly has the largest buffet in town, and it is best suited to customers who want a large provider with this type of inertia and scale under one roof (or to those who wanted the opposite when they purchased one of the best-of-breed products that SAP acquired). SAP, however, is working hard to try to connect this flotilla of software and services together at the platform level through a common database replacement (HANA), common mobile UI interfaces (SAP Fiori) and an emerging set of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings. As you might expect, it’s obviously an early work in process, but SAP is trying to continue to execute its strategy of being a stable one-stop shop of solutions that promises an integrated solution stack while also offering best-of-breed capabilities acquired through ongoing acquisitions.

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