How important are Templates to the SAP Procurement Community Part 1
It’s around us, we see them, we feel them, we use them, we save them, we hone them…any guesses SAP Procurement folks.
Am referring to Templates that we use inside the system, the templatization capabilities inside our suite of products SAP SRM, SAP Sourcing, SAP Contract Life cycle management, SRM MDM Catalog and SAP ECC (MM business content).
Let’s start the discussion with some key questions to ask
1) Have you ever optimized your work with Templatization capabilities inside the Procurement suite?
2) Do you know where they are available?
3) How do you actually hone these templates to suit your specific enterprise need?
4) Can you give some examples of sample templates used?
5) What are the various flavors in templates to suite different stakeholders?
6) What is the typical approach to modeling a template that’s used for a specific commodity inside the application?
I was working on templatization capabilities across the business objects in the SAP SRM suite of products (Objects: RFx, Auctions, and Category & Contract Management). The exercise was to model every intelligent template that we had used outside the tool, study them, map them & then make it available inside the product and leverage over the capabilities already available in the SAP Procurement Suite.
The aim was to enrich the initiative around re-usability & optimization. Since most of us Procurement folks have worked with customers across various industry verticals and also in the procurement / SRM function in the past, it wasn’t difficult to identify 4-5 commodities and build frameworks around them. The Templatization framework can be applied to any Procurement Business object (Ex Shopping Carts, RFx, Auctions, Projects, and Contracts etc)
Phase 1: We identified 5 enterprise-wide commodities commonly used (Ex, MRO, Office Supplies, and IT Hardware). This step is mainly done so that the effective usage of templates and process provides up-stream data for effective commodity driven Spend Analytics.
Phase 2: Map model and design the templates on the SAP procurement platform
– Pick a few templates across business objects commonly used (Ex, Projects, RFx, Auctions, Contracts, Xpress, User Defined objects, Shopping Cart etc)
– Identify some tangible metrics upfront that would have some KPI’s that could be reported for process efficiency post template deployment inside the Procurement applications.
Phase 3: We built these templates on SAP SRM, SAP Sourcing, SAP CLM, SAP MM. Aim is to use standard functionality with 5% customizations if required specific to any industry vertical.
Even if the tweak calls for some customization that requires some minimal development, don’t shy away from the activity, as the re-use inside the system drives some key performance indicators that aids process efficiency over the long run.
The Illustrative below shows the approach & Methodology
What knowledge base was required from folks in the SAP Procurement space?
- Suggest commodities that were sourced /contracted in the past / ongoing initiatives.
- Provide inputs on what kind of artifacts could bring in value in Strategic Sourcing (RFx, Auctions, Category & Contract Management)
- Evaluate a sample set of category templates or any Framework documents (ensuring no IP violation)
- Let us know if any frameworks or standards like UNSPSC driven sourcing framework is being used in the current forte (ensuring no IP violation)
- Sourcing specialists / Buyers / Contract Specialists and all similar target audiences provide feedback on the way they have standardized the usage of templates to make work easier and re-use for a recurring need. So data was available in the form of spread-sheets, word documents or even stand-alone forms that were built on a non SAP platform like SharePoint, Documentum, and Adobe PDF etc.
In the follow-on Blogs, I would discuss on the Phase 1, Phase 2 & Phase 3 activities in greater detail and all the other sequels will have sample templates and the way you identify and build them in SAP.
We will touch upon 1 template under each application SAP SRM, SAP Sourcing, SAP Contract Life cycle Management and SRM MDM Catalog.
Will also give you some dope on how model service specifications in SAP ECC can be efficiently crafted for a selected service hierarchy to suit a quick hierarchy generation for a specific category/commodity of interest and how effectively they can be templatized; watch the sequel blogs to learn more
More importantly, do share your views on similar initiatives that you would have carried out in your challenging Procurement assignments.