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Seldom, does an Enterprise solution transform in a way “where we question the holy cows and more importantly give birth to an idea, than rationalizing with BPR or transformation.

Hence the birth of SAP Supplier InfoNet bringing in that paradigm shift in the way we look at “Supplier Relationships” or should I say “Trading Partner Relationships” read more…

Whenever I have to explain Paradigm shift nothing is more convincing than the graphic below that depicts the message from Kuhn who used the duck-rabbit optical illusion to demonstrate the way in which a paradigm shift could cause one to see the same information in an entirely different way.

1.0 The Past

Just unquote my domain experience in the Supplier Relationship Management stint at Mercedes Benz, we were always asked this question by our CEO, how, damn it how, can I get visibility into a multi-tier scenario? To predict what could disrupt my #supplychain beyond my first tier of suppliers

We had stringent QS9000 policies that mandated us to get a PPAP signed off with a suppliers-supplier to ensure quality rolled up + a clear cut visibility into the quality into an n-tier Supplier Relationship.

2.0 The Future: The revolution has begun

Am sure, if I had SAP SupplierInfoNet at that time, we could have taken our Supplier Relationship Management to the next level, just by punching into the software and understanding where we stood in our predictive Supplier Metrics.

This clearly means, there has been a paradigm shift in the way Procurement is looking at Supplier Networks and what Supplier risks can be monitored & mitigated with Predictive supplier metrics and KPIs rather than waiting for Doomsday.

3.0 This Blog

This blog is a curtain raiser overview blog and will have multiple sequels to it, where we would be discussing in-depth some of the pressing, successful Go-to-Market capabilities that SAP Supplier InfoNet brings with it.  The blogs to follow, will discuss each functionality with a real-life business scenario. This will accompany lustrous screen-shots to help you feel closer to the SAP SupplierInfoNet Solution.

To help you understand the functionality in a Procurement scenario, we will wear the hat of a Commodity Manager to visit each use-case in detail, so that you can feel the power in your hands.

Predictive KPIs, Alerts, Dashboards, Business Social Networking, Debarment are some of the buzzwords that will be used recurrently in our posts.

4.0 Early Reviews on the SAP SupplierInfoNet Solution from the world outside (Critics)

The application already has raving reviews from Supply Chain analysts, bloggers and Industry Subject Matter experts on forums such as Spend Matters, Gartner etc, it has been a showcase solution at #SAPPHIRENOW, #SAPTECHED and continues to draw customer attention. There are lots, but here are an important few

Friday Rant: The Transformation of Procurement Within SAP Is Finally Here

Jason Bush (Spend Matters) thoughts around the SupplierInfoNet launch

http://www.spendmatters.com/index.cfm/2011/5/20/Friday-Rant-The-Transformation-of-Procurement-Within-SAP-Is-Finally-Here

SAP Making Strides in Procurement and Supply Chain: Part Two      

By Bill McBeath New developments in SAP’s procurement portfolio, an inspiring use of their technology in rural South   Africa, and Services Procurement-related enhancements, and more.

http://www.clresearch.com/research/detail.cfm?guid=2C369B5A-3048-79ED-9933-3EE215D1BCAB

It brings a new concept of having the visibility into the supply chain to the Nth Tier, if you have done Supplier Evaluation and Supplier Risk assessment in the past, you would be aware that you can go min into your first tier of suppliers and by sweating it out, may be the second tier, but not beyond that.

5.0 Social Media – the new platform for business social networking: A crowd-sourcing approach

  • With Social Media being the emerging platform for success, everyone has taken the red-pill and am sure that in the days to come, every enterprise will tap to the hub to mine most of the crowd sourced marketing strategies. Gone are the days where penetration marketing was the only way to get into the flesh of the customer, now, with this paradigm shift, we will see various stake-holders that matter to the metric, share and mine at the same time, the result: Trust Worthy – Customer Driven data and feedback that one can vest confidence on.
  • The SAP SupplierInfoNet stands unique as a Business Social Networking hub for enterprises that would use the 4 step strategy to help determine visibility into the Trading Partner Relationships.
  • Share and pass information outside the enterprise to help a trading partner platform that impregnates Customers, Suppliers, Hubs.
  • When you aggregate spend in a multi-tier scenario, the magnum advantage is something that you could have never imagined, this helps showcase a stronger relationship with a Supplier or a Customer which was never the case earlier. This is the concept SAP SupplierInfoNet calls “Achieving a Critical Mass of Participants” aggregating the relationship proved that there exists “A Significant Degree of Overlap” which was never captured before.
  • The Value of The Pool Expands Exponentially with Incremental Network Growth.

6.0 What was the Game Changer to crafting this Successful concept of Intelligent Supplier Networks

  • Clearly differentiating the existing Information Pools or “Networks”, this is source data that needs to be trusted
  • Combining the overlap in KPI experiences and mapping it to the multi-tiered view is more promising
  • Creating a Pool to suck-up relevant current data feeds, news feeds from trusted pools and making it more qualitative to pump blood into the heart of the SAP SupplierInfoNet solution

7.0 Understanding Information pools or “networks”

 a) Consumer based pools, what is it?

  • Not updated frequently.
  • Inconsistent results leveraging biased opinions (driven by users like you, me or the internet is the Wiki Source).
  • Inaccurate predictions of future behavior based on historical trends.

Example: Trip Advisor, Angies List etc

b) Commercial based pools, what is it?

  • These are 3rd Party sources for information, could be latent and not depicting the current situation.
  • These are more trusted sources of information, though there could be incomplete and inaccurate information and significant latent data that’s not a depiction of the current state

Ex: NACM, Dun & Bradstreet, OSHA etc

8.0 What does the pooling results in: What does the outreach into the n-tier pool result in?

–          Predicting behaviors built on historical and current information

–          Combining the overlap in KPI experiences and mapping it to the multi-tiered view is more promising

–          When you combine the overlap – interesting insights and behavior the gap diminishes gap from one data base to fulfill another and depict a real state

–          External news feeds, data feeds, relationship from receiving and trading, suppliers are also customers,

–          Create Pools of Supplier performance KPIS, anonmysing them, protecting privacy and helping you understand the behavior of your trading partners

–          Get balance of your trade insights and get multi-tier views

9.0 What’s in the heart of the Solution: how it works

1)      Customers Push information to SAP (prior to launching into cloud)

2)      SAP Cleans, harmonizes, and anonymizes the information behind the firewall

3)      SupplierInfoNet aggregates the data, maps the predictions to it and puts it into the Cloud

4)      Customers and Trading partners receive Alerts that matter to their enterprise via Mobile, e-mail or even directly upon logging into SupplierInfoNet and viewing the Dashboard

See the schematic below to understand the flow


Stay tuned for the sequels to understand more of this solution, we don’t want you to be lost in never-ending content, the future of the solution will be embed in our sequels, so follow-us

10.0 SAP Procurement : The Social Outreach

And as always, here’s leaving you on a sign-off note to be tuned in Socially into our SAP Procurement timeline

Please follow @SAP_Procurement on twitter for the latest trends from the SAP Procurement portfolio of solutions, you can also follow my handle @tridipchakra for a dope of procurement xChanges in the SAP world (articles, blogs, whitepapers).

Focused hash-tags for SAP Procurement: #SupplierInfoNet #SAPSRM #SAPSourcing #SAPCLM #procurement #SAPSLM and there will be more in the making.

You can also contact Vineet Seth – vineet.seth@sap.com, Head of Product Management & Marketing, (for more information on customer engagements for SAP SupplierInfoNet)

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