SAP recently announced that it was integrating SAP Ariba solutions with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, creating an end-to-end source-to-pay process and bringing consistency across solutions. ASUG recently sat down with Vasee Rayan, the global VP of solution management for SAP Procurement Solutions.

Vasee has been responsible for the road map of the Ariba Network and also is the chief process owner for the intelligent enterprise source-to-pay initiative at SAP. ASUG spoke with Vasee about the integration between SAP Ariba and SAP S/4HANA and what it means for customers.

Jim: To start out, please walk us through the SAP Intelligent Enterprise strategy.

Vasee: The SAP Intelligent Enterprise Framework is a holistic program to deliver intelligent and integrated business processes to an enterprise. Source-to-pay, recruit-to-retire, lead-to-cash, and design-to-operate are the subprocesses addressed by the program. The source-to-pay functionalities we just announced happen to be something that I'm leading.

In the past decade, SAP acquired several cloud solutions. All these acquisitions added additional capabilities to the core SAP enterprise solutions. Over the years, SAP Ariba invested in tighter integration with SAP solutions, and we have delivered about 225 integration touchpoints already. While SAP Ariba has done all these great things since the acquisition, SAP customers felt they were not sufficient. When they look at integration, they feel that it is not about the technical integration alone. They were looking for business-process-level integration with SAP applications. This was one of the focus areas of the intelligent enterprise program.

To address customer expectations, SAP established several suite qualities that every line of business will adopt for delivering end-to-end business processes in the future. Examples of the suite qualities include consistent experience, aligned API-based integration, domain model alignment, identity and access management, automated provisioning of applications, and definition of a reference architecture. With the delivery of the five source-to-pay subprocesses, we have adopted the above-mentioned suite qualities as well.

Jim: How long has this been in the works?

Vasee: From an execution standpoint, we started to work on the five subscenarios along with the adoption of suite qualities about 12 months ago.

Jim: And was this integration something that customers had been asking for?

Vasee: Several integrations already existed between SAP Ariba and SAP applications. We are now moving to an aligned API-based approach of integration that adheres to the newly defined suite qualities across SAP. By taking this approach, we are delivering against our customers’ ask for providing a consistent integration approach across all SAP applications.

For the source-to-pay subprocesses that required integrations between SAP Ariba solutions and SAP S/4HANA Cloud, we leverage SAP Ariba Cloud Integration Gateway (CIG), which is built on top of the SAP Cloud Platform to consume the aligned APIs. This is now our standard way to provide an integration solution for customers in the cloud that is completely managed by SAP. We take care of all the integrations with SAP S/4HANA Cloud to support the delivered source-to-pay subprocesses. By making this the standard for integration, we are able to provide a simple and fast self-service approach for our customers’ integration needs.

Jim: Let’s move on to the new end-to-end source-to-pay process for SAP. From an organization's perspective, what is the benefit of having this process? Does it save time, money, or both?

Vasee: Customers can expect to achieve productivity gains and cost savings, and reduce their overall TCO.

Jim: What can users do now that they previously weren't able to do?

Vasee: For customers leveraging suite solutions from SAP, a functional buyer working in SAP S/4HANA Cloud can leverage SAP Ariba for sourcing their requirements and establishing a contract that is made available for future call-offs against the contract within SAP S/4HANA Cloud. With guided buying, a casual user can requisition contracted items from a catalog and create the purchase requisition in SAP S/4HANA Cloud that can be aggregated to create a purchase order and sent to the supplier in the Ariba Network. The supplier can further collaborate on the purchase order confirmation, shipment, and invoices with the buyer and the accounts payable users in SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Customers will have a seamless experience when they use capabilities across SAP Ariba and SAP S/4HANA Cloud to complete the end-to-end process.

Jim: We're in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is an issue that's top of mind for a lot of our members and SAP customers. How will everything we’ve discussed today assist SAP users as they go about trying to conduct business in this new landscape?

Vasee: Supply and demand are very difficult to manage in a crisis. We are seeing some companies that are willing to donate food to schools and food banks, but they have no idea where the demand is coming from and how big it is. One of the source-to-pay processes we have delivered has the ability to satisfy such a need, where the consolidated requirements can be sent to the Ariba Network for the donors to have visibility and collaborate on the fulfillment of the demand.

We are also seeing a lot of companies pivot from their core business to build out respirators, ventilators, and other vital necessities, leveraging their manufacturing capacity. Identifying alternate suppliers leveraging the Ariba Network—which has about 4.6 million suppliers—and SAP Ariba catalog solutions are other ways that we are helping companies during this crisis.

Those are some examples where companies are benefiting from solutions we have already delivered with SAP Ariba and SAP S/4HANA Cloud from a source-to-pay standpoint.

Jim: Vasee, thank you so much for your time!

Watch this on-demand webcast to find out how the city of Tacoma successfully implemented SAP Ariba.

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