This Guest Perspective was written by Salvatore Lombardo

SAP recently shared exciting updates to the new guided sourcing capability for SAP Ariba Sourcing solutions. As many ASUG members may already know, SAP Ariba Sourcing had the same look and feel for years. Strategic buyers, sourcing analysts, category managers, and other decision-makers have trusted the familiar interface for their sourcing needs, and it has served them well. These updates and new functionalities relate to the SAP Ariba Sourcing solution—specifically to the guided sourcing capability, modernizing eSourcing.

These improvements arrive at an ideal time for customers, as global trade restrictions and supply chain issues have made eSourcing more challenging and have even threatened business continuity. I’m excited to share with ASUG members the details of our modern eSourcing solution, which has an improved user experience, more intelligence, and improved efficiencies.

The guided sourcing capability meets the needs of these unique times and the challenges that many ASUG members may face. It offers a more intelligent, intuitive solution for managing strategic processes and RFx[RI(1] events. This ensures that users can source the materials they need when they need to. It also introduces efficiencies that accelerate event creation, so team members have more time for risk mitigation or securing on-time delivery.

With guided sourcing, a procurement team can:

  • Manage projects and create RFx events from a single page
  • Automate RFx event creation with autonomous procurement features such as Smart Excel Import
  • Message peers and team members from within the interface about project and RFx event activities
  • Facilitate the multi-round bidding process to effectively move from a long list to a best, final offer
  • Realize bidding gains from the advanced bid analysis engine

The Journey to Simpler, Easier eSourcing

Muhammad Alam, the new GM for SAP Business Network and Chief Product Officer for SAP Intelligent Spend and Business Network Solutions, recently spoke with ASUG. In the discussion, he highlighted the importance of the user experience (UX). He also emphasized UX reliability and availability in ensuring that customers get the most value from SAP solutions.

With the guided sourcing capability, SAP continually invests to improve functionality. In line with our mission to improve usability and the UX, ASUG members will find that in the latest release, usability has exponentially improved. Creating RFx events is faster, search is enhanced, and contextual help is available.

The user interface is much more intuitive, which can speed up adoption among users. It also improves the overall experience by still addressing complex eSourcing requirements. Likewise, executing an RFx event is much faster. In fact, customers are realizing a 50% improvement in time to create an RFx event. Project and RFx event management are much more intuitive.

I also want to highlight the Full Projects functionality, which is extremely helpful with strategic sourcing initiatives.

Some capabilities are included below:

  • Process and Project insight areas provide visibility into task and phase completion, as well as into created RFx events and supplier participation. Users can navigate across all sections from a single page, and they can choose from multiple actions. They can also track a project’s progress and get a summary of project components.
  • Collaboration with messaging, contract workspaces, and quick links: team members can easily communicate with colleagues and suppliers through interactive messages. They can also find helpful links.
  • The Tasks area has a new look and feel, plus the ability for you to edit or create new tasks directly in the project. Starting and finishing tasks is much easier and intuitive.
  • Tasks and Phases are displayed on the homepage, saving navigation clicks to another page to locate tasks. Users can create, rearrange, and complete tasks on a single page.
  • The RFx Events and Documents area is updated. You now have the ability to create project placeholders at the template level and create ad-hoc RFx event placeholders. Users can upload documents, create RFx events and subprojects, and organize their content.

The capabilities of SAP eAuction have also improved. Supported eAuction types are English, Dutch, and Japanese reverse auction, as well as traffic light bidding. Strategic buyers can create, monitor, and award reverse auctions from the guided sourcing interface along with a great auction monitoring cockpit. We plan to add more auction types in future releases.

Another time saver is the Smart Import feature. Creating an RFP event can be time consuming. Smart Import uses ML capabilities powered by SAP to convert spreadsheets in RFPs so that buyers can quickly and easily populate line items in an RFP event. Strategic buyers are guided through the process to minimize manual errors. Consequently, they can quickly and accurately create an RFx event and source the specific materials needed.

Now Is the Time to Adopt Guided Sourcing

Guided sourcing is completely self-service, meaning it can be adopted by customers when they’re ready and rolled out to users based on permissions. This provides the ability to gauge users’ comfort levels and help them onboard to guided sourcing when they’re ready.

Another advantage of guided sourcing is the synergy between old and new. The user interface for guided sourcing can co-exist with the classic SAP UX sourcing solution so that users can create strategic projects and events in both interfaces. This allows users to transition as they get more comfortable with the enhancements and improvements.

Now’s an optimal time to move to guided sourcing. It’s the most modern, intuitive, and streamlined way to manage eSourcing. Customers can transition from the classic UX to guided sourcing easily and gain all the advantages needed for modernized eSourcing.

Guided sourcing is available at no extra cost to customers, as part of the SAP eSourcing solution. ASUG members can learn more here. Also available are Guided Sourcing Dutch Reverse Auctions and Guided Sourcing English Reverse Auctions videos.

Salvatore Lombardo is SVP, Chief Product Officer, of SAP Procurement.

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