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Has the SAP Procurement skill-set expanded? Time to do a reality check, its skill-set expansion time

1.0 Overview

My favorite topic in Procurement these days, the SAP + Ariba Story, this is standing out to be one of the biggest challenge and benefit story for SAP and Ariba together. I have ben working with several customer RFP’s that are talking about the integration aspects of these solutions together, or evaluating one over the other.

I think it’s a win-win, for the customers and the partners and also consultants that would be working, implementing or strategizing their procurement road-maps with the new SAP Procurement + Ariba together strategy. I just did a transformation project of a mix of an SAP Procurement + Ariba land-scape on a PaaS (Platform as a Service model) and let me tell you, its interesting when you look at a combined platform, with the Ariba Business Network, leading you with a network based approach to procurement.

In the past 6 months, there have been several twists and turns with the new SAP Procurement and Ariba joint strategy and the market kind of resonated with this move. Its very clear from a few LinkedIn in-mails, direct messages on twitter and also direct mailers and job postings and recruiters trying to reach-out with the want of a mixed skill set.

diverse skill set.jpg

Image courtesy

Let me give you a few examples:

  1. Job Direct mailer: Tridip – we are looking at an SAP Procurement analyst that has experience in the following SAP SRM, SAP ECC (MM), Integration to the Ariba Network, SAP SPM and SRM on HANA is desirable.
  2. Job In-Mail LinkedIn: Tridip – are you interested in taking up a pre-sales role for our Ariba practice based out of Canada, since you already have a strong SAP Procurement skill set and your previous project as demonstrated on LinkedIn around SAP -> Ariba On-Demand transformation, client would be ready to sponsor you to Canada since it’s a requirement for a mixed skill set for someone that can talk the SAP Procurement and the Ariba story

   3.   LinkedIn Direct message: Tridip – How important is it for me to learn Ariba to survive in the SAP Market, I am an SAP SRM / MM consultant

   4.   SAP SCN direct message Inbox:

        a)    Tridip I want to add you to my network as I want to understand the gap in my skill-set from an Ariba stand-point

        b)    Tridip, I am feeling lost with SAP’s Ariba acquisition, I am an independent contractor, should I go for any Ariba certifications, can you help me, do you know how much it costs and what I need to do?

        c)     Tridip – what is Dynamic Discounting, my client wants me to make a recommendation to him, I don’t know Ariba, can you help point me to the right Ariba contact person for this please, much appreciated!!!!!!

…Phew!!!! These are just a few that stand-out, but I cant stress more that folks are feeling nervous of a SKILL SET EXPANSION SYNDROME

2.0 It’s a 2 way street

Not only do SAP consultants have to worry about this, even Ariba consultants would be looked at from cross-functional skill-set requirements.

This simply means those SAP Procurement consultants that have SAP SRM or any other SAP skill sets as primary need to work on their Ariba side of the skill-set. If not for Ariba product know-how, at least from the integration aspects with the Ariba Business Network.

On the other hand, the Ariba primary consultant, needs to understand how to integrate an SAP platform to the Ariba solutions / Ariba Network.

3.0 What does the SAP Procurement + Ariba Skill set look like, must have and nice to have matrix?

NOTE: This skill-set matrix is articulated purely based on my experience and what customer desires from the consultant lately. This is not SAP’s recommendation. Since I am not an Ariba expert, I cannot comment on the Ariba primary skill-set, but for the Ariba consultant, the integration to SAP back-ends is a must have.

For an SAP Procurement consultant

skill matrix.jpg

4.0 What is the latest SAP Procurement strategy?

You can download the latest SAP Procurement and Ariba together strategy from the SAP Service Marketplace (you will need an SID for this)

The presentation is called RUN BETTER WITH SAP + Ariba , Road-map for Line of Business Procurement.


5.0 How to get these skill sets added?

    • Identify yourself in up-coming projects that require these pieces working together or independently, don’t shy away or be low on confidence, if you are offered the delta
    • Get the latest content for all these products from the service market-place (i.e Configuration guides, install guides, RKT’s, OKP’s and related content
    • Try to get hold of a paid / free sandbox or an IDES server, that will help at-least see these solutions in action and theory.
    • Slice and dice these solutions, challenging your-self as a Solution Architect to understand their fitment in an ideal/customer based road map. While doing this try and bring in the dimension of the new SAP Procurement + Ariba strategy into the mix
    • Don’t loose any opportunity to work on any RFP’s or RFI’s that come your way to propose one solution over the other or a combined road map.

….Am sure you are smart enough to identify other creative ways of getting there.

6.0 Key Take-aways from this Blog post?

    • Learning is a continuous way of staying on top of agile twists and turns; there is no need for panic, as we are still in the initial stages.
    • Take criticism (on your existing skill-set) as constructive judgment and work towards getting a world class Procurement skill-set. (SAP/Ariba)
    • Try and take certifications, if you are not able to get a project that automatically provides a platform for enhancement of these skill-sets.
    • Try and catch-up with #Social media for SAP Procurement and Ariba (check the section below on the social side
    • More important, stay positive and document and share every piece of learning and update your Social Co-ordinates with these new skill-sets on LinkedIn.
    • Follow blog for great thought leadership around future of business networks, cloud, procurement, souring & spend management.
    • Ensure that you audit yourself at-least on a 3 month horizon to check, where you stand from the skill-set enhancement stand-point.

Lets continue the story and collaborate on this post to check what your point of view is, when it comes to a SAP + Ariba combined skill-set to align with the market trends

would love to hear from you

7.0 SAP Procurement and Ariba: The Social Outreach

Engage with the SAP Procurement and Ariba via these channels and join the conversation


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  • Hi Tridip,

    This is quite informative and made us realise the importance of carrying multi-skill profile. With the merger of Ariba and SAP, it’s now more important for both the skilled professionals to come together and share our knowledge base. Your article clearly signifies that Ariba + SAP combined skill will be a win-win situation for both an Ariba as well as SAP expertise. This will really help us in planning our roadmap for a successful career.



    • Hi Amit,

      thanks for the feedback, yes its extremely critical to know what the gaps are and plug them, the articulation is a mere rendition of what I have felt with the pulse of the market

      stay tuned, cheers


  • Great capturing of the present buzz and consulting mind.

    Integration circles is the best value add; while solution architecture still remains as deep dive for consulting in contrast to a panoramic diversity for corporate function. Know your customer before you recourse”

    • Hi Kaustubh,

      nicely stated, yes, the consulting mind is the mind that will be played in the days to come and being a solution architect to understand and road-map the portfolio will be the biggest challenge and the key to all

      it will be a win-win for the entire base



  • Hi Chakabraothy,

    This is really helpful, 🙂 🙂 the way you presented this blog is Really interesting 🙂 🙂 .

    Thanks for sharing you all experience 😉 😉 .



    • Hi Giri,

      I am glad you were able to picture the intent of this compelling subject around skill-set empowerment, I am sure you have understood what it takes to plug these gaps

      now its realization phase

      All the best



  • Once Again …fantastic articulation!! Congrates Tridip..

    Being an SRM Consultant & a Learner, I always had a Q in my mind, that what is beyond CS, ECS what most clients work with ? ( obviously, hard to find engagements where clients are really interested in SUS, SPM etc, )

    Well, this acquisition is giving ‘kind of’ open opportunity to SRM consultants, to diversify their knowledge but looks scary for an ARIBA consultant. I would look for comments in this regard.. (Just kidding 🙂 )

    I would definitely study more on integration interfaces but it limits my analysis since I have never seen an ARIBA screen so don’t know what it really had which SAP is going to fulfill through this integration which is not in SAP SRM? Not sure if SAP is providing IDES sort of system in ARIBA space too!

    Looking forward to hear more from you in SAP – ARIBA space.


    Vipin Bhardwaj

    • Hi Vipin,

      glad to see your interest in the area, for now the energy will take you to the next level with the Ariba know-how, it will be a lot of learning and interesting twists in the skill-set empowerment story

      Good luck



  • Hi Tridip,

    Thanks for sharing  valuable information. You blog is motivating information for procurement consultants to understand their current skills and directing them towards to upgrade the skills.



    • Hi Govardhan,

      it goes without saying that the skill sets upgradation is very very important

      How a consultant will find the way to do that, would be the most challenging part

      Good Luck



  • Hi Tridip,

    A little tip: when you give a link to the SAP Service Marketplace like here for the roadmap, you’d rather replace the ad-hoc domain and server address by the generic “always on” and the load balance will the redirect to any server available. So in this case, the current roadmap from Q3 2013 is always available here: .

    In addition, the roadmap will be updated regularly. Thus it’s preferable to access the page where SAP is publishing the roadmaps and navigate to the one you are interested in. In this case it is the one for Line of Business Procurement.

    Kind regards,


  • Thank you Tridip for this informative blog. Definitely useful for folks looking for expanding their Procurement related skillsets.