Hubwoo / SAP webinar: procurement improvement via supplier networks and enablement

Hubwoo and SAP recently hosted a webinar on Supplier Networks titled “ Electronic supplier enablement as a key driver to maximize spend under management”.

Don’t go away – the content was more interesting than what sounds like a bit of a dry subject!

If you don’t know Hubwoo, they offer all the SAP applications “in the cloud”, along with associated services (category or catalogue management support, event management, etc).  They have a very close relationship with SAP, and SAP can integrate and support clients seamlessly across the various deployment options (cloud, behind the firewall etc) including those provided by Hubwoo.

Jason Busch of Spend Matters spoke alongside of SAP and Chuck Scorpiniti of Shell. It was a very good session – and I know I’m biased, but Jason was excellent.

A key premise of the discussion was that the effectiveness of your “supplier enablement” process is directly correlated with success at getting spend under control. Industry average organisations have 53% of spend under management, and 29% of suppliers enabled.  Best in class have 80% under management and 64% enabled.  I’m not sure of the causality of this relationship – which is the chicken and which the egg - but it is undoubtedly true that you can’t get a grip of spend if you can’t get suppliers enabled (registered, details captured, approved etc).  Supplier networks are one of the key options to drive effective enablement and therefore supplier coverage and spend under management.

Jason spoke about the background to P2P. Automation is critical – and this is not just about collecting basic supplier data. Enriched information is now increasingly on the agenda – we want to collect information on diversity, or accreditations.   He recalled the “dark days of eProcurement” with “oversold software”. I too remember those early days when we spent an inordinate amount of time getting a handful of suppliers enabled with catalogues or punch-outs – suppliers who after all the effort, probably accounted for 5-10% of our total spend if we were lucky!

Much of that original challenge was actually about supplier enablement. Too much, Jason said, was done on a 1:1 basis rather than one to many. Networks emerged from EDI and can support this more effective and efficient approach to enablement – they can also close the invoice loop, and support content and catalogue management.

Jason then went on to discuss the “network of the future”.  It will be built to meet the needs of buyers AND suppliers; it will be truly many to many; and it will enable relationships, not just for procurement but for the whole business. He sees eventually a merging of transactional connectivity and supplier management capability within the network, supporting information management including risk, CSR etc. (The new SAP product – InfoNet – is moving in this direction).

The last part of the webinar features Chuck Scorpiniti of Shell talking about their particular case study, using the Hubwoo network for supplier enablement and related activities.  The business case, for example, was strongly based on savings in the electronic invoicing area arising from the implementation of the network. We won’t go into the case study now; but the whole webinar is still available here.  It’s well worth an hour or so of your time if you have any interest in P2P processes, or just generally in where procurement technology might take us next.

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