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Since the time purchasing organizations have become an integral part of the corporate & strategic sourcing as a critical process, it has been drawing lot of attention from the top management. Loaded Purchasing Managers are faced with a pressure of making sure that their organizations sourcing practices are efficient enough to support them in achieving their goals with accelerated time-to-value & increased savings. Efficiency of the processes can be quickly realized if the best practices are in place, people are quickly finding information which they are looking for, stakeholders are always notified about the events, collaboration is happening easily, decisions-making is faster and results are consistent & justifiable. To simplify their life, many purchasing organizations have opted to structure their strategic sourcing processes in multiple phases or steps; each step represents one of the core processes of the sourcing for e.g. internal/market assessment or collecting supplier information.

 

SAP Sourcing offers a Project Management tool which provides a framework to model sourcing projects. The project management tool is extremely template driven so that organizations can create various templates that model either different sourcing category requirements or for example different sourcing projects depending on the value of the sourcing project. This template driven approach ensures a sourcing project that is consistent, efficient, repeatable, enforceable and auditable.

 

Many of SAP Sourcing customers have modeled 7, 9 or even 13 steps sourcing process in their projects. An example of a 9 Steps of Sourcing Project could be:-

Strategy Planning, Market Assessment, Vendor Evaluation, RFx, Awarding, Vendor Due Diligence, Legal Review, Contract Execution, Monitoring

 

 

Project serves a variety of purposes in the support of strategic sourcing, some of them are listed below:- 

a) The ability to define and model your best practice / sourcing approach / sourcing methodology in a template based project management approach to support and/or enforce a high quality and compliant execution of sourcing projects

b) The ability to use the project management tool as a tool to define and maintain a sourcing pipeline

Many organizations use the project management tool to define their sourcing plan at the beginning of the year to provide visibility to management and throughout the organization but also to provide a tool to effectively manage the sourcing pipeline by changing priorities, resource allocation, etc

c) It serves as the tool for the category manager to report and track completion of important project tasks and milestones so that everybody in the organization knows about the status or upcoming tasks of a project. It acts as the project execution guide line with baked in document templates, notification alerts and tasks and milestones that require completion.

d) It serves as a container for all project related documentation. This documentation can be in unstructured format like MS-Word documents, Excel Sheets, etc or it can be in a structured format using the forms feature in the project management tool.

e) It serves as an auditable project record that can be made available to anybody in the organization and supports a sourcing process that is compliant with corporate governance rules.

f) It serves as a collaborative environment in which a virtual project team can share information and collaborate on the execution of the project

g) It provides visibility by creating a single searchable repository of project information and project history

h) It’s extensibility allows customers to create unlimited additional attributes for their sourcing projects.

Many of our customers use the project management tool not just to model sourcing projects but to model projects for any kind of activity that occurs in the sourcing organization and that should be managed as a project. For e.g.  On-Boarding process for a new Tier 1 supplier or Annual Vendor Review & Due-Diligence Process.

 

Here is a very high level feature set of project management tool:-

  • Project Templates for accelerating time-to-value.
  • Schedule Tasks & Milestones creation with ability to define dependent events and ability to define responsible against those events.

           

  • Configurable phases to define multi step processes to model organizations best practices.
  • Configurable multi step workflow approval which can be defined on phases.

        

  • Adding Individual or group of collaborators.
  • Measuring Savings & Tracking.

         

  • Creation of RFx, Auction and Contracts directly from projects.
  • Various out of the box Reports such as Project Status report or Savings report.
  • Collaborating using Discussion Board, Chat & Attachments.
  • Ability to define questions (Forms) which can be assigned to collaborator to collect or research on project related information. Forms feature provide the ability to define process steps that team members must follow when completing milestones of the project.

            

  • Robust Search to quickly & easily find out relevant projects
  • Greater flexibility in extending the tool to model almost any type of business process.

 

SAP Sourcing Project Management tool is very closely integrated with the other tools of the product such as RFx, Contracts and Auctions which means that the purchasing manager can directly initiate these sourcing events from a Project and setup & track various tasks & milestones against these events. Also customer who are using SAP Spend Performance Management tool (SPM) for analyzing spend can identify opportunities across categories and create SAP Sourcing projects directly from there, this elucidates how SAP Sourcing Project Management tool can serves as a catalyst for complete Analyze To Contract processes.

 

I highly recommend existing or potential SAP Sourcing users to get a live demo of project management tool if they haven’t already, this tool has many many benefits some of which I have listed above. Hope you have enjoyed reading this blog :-).

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6 Comments

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  1. Tridip Chakraborthy
    Hi Mahesh,
    Nice blog again, content is perfect, just wanted to give you some feedback on the look and feel, the content is too heavy, but very comprehensive.
    Please include some pictures diagrams etc.
    Also wanted to know more on how SAP Customers are effectively using the forms feature on the Sourcing Project Business Object, can you give some classic examples of what SAP recommends when you use the forms feature inside the SAP Sourcing Project
    I have tweeted this on my twitter handle and also mentioned @SAP_Procurement so that there is maximum visibility to your blogs and folks can have a greater understanding of crafting their Sourcing KPIs using effective Templatization capabilities for performing Sourcing Project Management.
    …More pictorial blog the next time, are my 2 cents to you, Cheers Tridip
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    1. Mahesh Jeswani Post author
      Tripid,

      Thanks. I have to admit that I have been little lazy lately :-). I just updated this blog with some more screenshot. Hope you and other readers get some benefits out of it.

      Mahesh

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      1. Tridip Chakraborthy
        Hi Mahesh
        Yes, now the blog looks appealing and perfectly mashed with content driven with pictures.
        I have promoted this blog on twitter and the linked in forums and definately folks that have tuned in will get to read more now and connect with the schematic representations
        great work.
        Regards
        Tridip
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    2. Mahesh Jeswani Post author
      Hi Tripid,

      Forms feature of Projects tool provides the ability to define process steps that team members must follow when completing their tasks or milestones of the project. Customers are using Forms to enforce previously developed best practices. Forms has a question and answer format which enables project team members to use the it interactively as they progress through the project.

      There is a audit trail which tracks the last response of a form question and the date that the response was received. It creates an audit log identifying who responded to the question and when.  Collaborators can use the audit trail to gets goods or bads of the project.

      There is a Form Library in the product which is  pre-defined set of forms that serve as a knowledge repository for best practices.

      e.g. Purchasing Manager before starting a sourcing project can create 2 general Forms, a.) Project Justification which can have questions such as Identify Current Spend on given Category? or Identify Resource Availability to Execute the Project? etc., b.) Project Audit which can have questions such as Did the team have access to legal department? or did the project had any approval issues?
      Managers can assign questions to different team members and track the completion of it.
      every new project can just re-use the 2 forms above using Form Library..
      Hope this helps clarify the functionality.

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      1. Tridip Chakraborthy
        Hi Mahesh,
        Thanks a lot for providing some real-life examples with the forms feature, yes I resonate with your thoughts and we had taken the implementation of the forms feature to the next level, by having it like a task check-point follow-up tool, when communicating along with Stakeholders that are responsible for tracking all the quadrants of the SAP Sourcing Projects module.
        Its a great tool that works much better than the e-mail collaboration to maintain the audit trail of the tasks and responsibilities that one Sourcing team member throws at the other and also a one-stop shop for the Project Sponsor to have 360 degrees visibility into the Project, I am sure different folks would have used this feature differently, but to achieve one resonating goal which is “Sourcing Excellence”
        Cheers…Tridip
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        1. mySAP PLM

          Hi Tridip

          Good explanation on the SAP sourcing projects module.

          Kindly clarify how  the project integration happens – is it through PPM module or cProjects or through RFC /IDOC interacts with R/3 Project.

          It will be great to throw some light on the integration part.

          Regards

          PP

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