Recently I had the opportunity to deploy cloud-based software
from Ariba (an SAP company) at the world’s fourth-largest multinational and
fifteenth-largest mobile-phone service provider (by subscribers). This Germany-based
company had implemented the on-premise SAP Contract Lifecycle Management (SAP CLM)
application a few years back but decided to move to the cloud with Ariba’s
upstream modules for sourcing, contract
management, supplier information, and performance management.
The company’s objectives for its spend management program
- Disrupt and streamline the end-to-end procure-to-pay
process by integrating existing systems and providing greater visibility, driving cost reductions
- Replace one of its third-party tools
Internal Adoption Assessment
After the customer conducted additional assessments
and made incremental modifications to the internal user adoption-plan
deliverables for subsequent deployment phases, Ariba held several workshops
with representatives from different areas of the customer’s business to assess:
- The level of adoption needed to achieve the desired business results
- The effort and strategy needed to achieve that level of adoption
- The indicators and metrics that could be used to measure the level of adoption
Internal Adoption Planning
Ariba worked closely with the customer to plan the detailed activities needed for
communication and to train the audiences affected by the new cloud solution.
- The communication plan identified each communication objective, message content, creator,
sender, receiver, and medium, as well as timeframe and receiver message response options.
- The training plan identified the specific knowledge and skills needed to perform system
tasks by each user group. The plan also recommended appropriate training media,
including quick reference guides (QRG), Web-based training (WBT), classroom training, and
knowledge transfer (KT) sessions.
Cloud vs. On Premise
It’s also interesting to note what the company saw as the major advantages of transitioning
from an on-premise to a cloud solution from Ariba.
The cloud solution is an affordable solution capable of growing with them – one that offers the
flexibility of anywhere, anytime access without investment or the need to lock up the capital in IT infrastructure.
Initial Services and Software Investment
One predictable monthly payment covers everything from infrastructure and software support to daily
back-ups and software upgrades.
The subscription model converts traditional IT capital expenses into an operational expense, which
can dramatically improve cash flow.
Implementation services tend to be less than for on-premise solutions, since installation,
infrastructure prep, and some configuration tasks are completed by the software-as-a-service
Although it varies by project size and scope, the implementation time tends to be less than for on-premise
solutions, since installation, infrastructure prep, and some configuration tasks
are completed by the SaaS vendor.
The Ariba team includes project managers in a hybrid role (having the functional lead for on-site deployment)
and a customer executive manager, who is formally enabled to take over the
responsibility of supporting the customer after go-live.
Customer Support and Shared Resources
Shared resources provide functional demos, knowledge transfer sessions as well as remote back-up
coverage when needed.
Fifteen hours of Ariba’s Best Practice Center (BPC) support is offered to customers for help/advice with
advanced functionality and best practices.
Documentation / Knowledge Sharing
Knowledge is available on the Ariba Knowledge, Ariba Connect, and Ariba Exchange platforms; Ariba
Consulting Council blog; and Ariba Commerce cloud.
Having used a customized on-premise application several
years prior to transitioning to the cloud, the customer experienced less
flexibility with the limited customizations allowed during initial stages of
cloud service deployment.
SAP CLM and the Ariba upstream modules provide the functionality the company needed to achieve the
benefits of a streamlined process. Customers that prioritize ease of use (UI) and supplier collaboration in
the cloud usually opt for Ariba solution, while those that prioritize tight ERP-SRM system integration opt for SAP CLM.
Future releases of SAP and Ariba software intend to deliver better integration capabilities with cross-platform / cross-solution
enhancements and an improved UI to help drive down the total cost of ownership.