Update to my earlier post:

In 2013, ASUG launched a cloud integration Influence Council which spanned several integration topics between SAP Business Suite (with a focus though on SAP ERP) and SAP’s recently acquired cloud solutions.  While the initial focus targeted cross-cloud solutions, this year the councils narrowed their focus further and formed separate groups – one very important one focuses on integration with Ariba.

At this year’s 2015 ASUG Annual Conference in Orlando, we had a chance to meet with SAP customers and partners in two scheduled influence activities and in one-on-one sessions on the show floor to get the ‘customer voice’ into SAP’s development of more simplified and streamlined integration capabilities between SAP Business Suite integration with Ariba.

Thank you for all who were able to join us onsite!

Special thanks to our ASUG (America’s SAP User Group) Influence Council Chair Person, Nick DeCenzo ,and our ASUG Influence program managers, SAP Product Managers for Ariba integration, and the SAP Customer Engagement Initiative team to provide a great venue to do that – at the conference and beyond.

Going forward we’re looking forward to an ongoing collaboration that you can join too – either via the ASUG Influence Council for Ariba Integration, or if you’re outside of North America, look for our upcoming SAP Customer Engagement Initiative project,Simplify the Integration of Ariba, Fieldglass and SAP Business Suite with New RDS Preconfigured Scenarios“.

What did we learn so far?

  1. Many SAP customers still need more information about the different cloud solutions from Ariba (Yes! There is more than one Ariba solution!) and how they compare or overlap with capabilities in their on-premise SAP solutions. These different Ariba cloud apps support different procurement use cases and capabilities which provide lots of flexibility to extend existing on-premise capabilities in different ways where it makes sense.
  2. Many existing SAP customers would like help comparing which Ariba capabilities can extend their already implemented SAP on-premise capabilities (e.g. SAP ERP, SAP SRM, and SAP Supply Chain or any combination thereof), and if they should consider migrating off of any of their on-premise solutions.  The good news is that their investments in their SAP solutions are secure, and SAP continues to invest in and support the SAP on-premise solutions, providing better integration between SAP ERP, SRM and Ariba in the use cases where it makes sense.  

    As a result, the ASUG group for SRM will discuss with several other ASUG groups (procurement, Accounts Payable and Supply Chain)  to offer webcasts which will help better define potential integration use cases

  3. Additional integration requirements were identified between the SAP on-premise solutions and the Ariba solutions, many of which are already on SAP’s development roadmap where customer insight and prioritization is already well underway and the council will support.

Want to join the discussion?

If you’re interested in participating in the ASUG Influence Council for Ariba Integration with SAP (ASUG members only),  or in the SAP Customer Engagement Initiative project, Simplify Ariba Integration with new packaged Best Practice scenarios, let us know.  Participants need to have a current “Feedback Agreement” (FBA) with SAP in place, and be able to participate in periodic one-on-one and group conference calls.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress!

Note – From my original post, sessions scheduled at SAPPHIRE and ASUG Annual Conference in Orlando included the following:

1. Preconference Deep Dive: Ariba & SAP Integration 101:

Arriving on Sunday or Monday?  During the all-day “Ariba & SAP Business Suite Integration 101” ASUG Pre-conference session, attendees will participate in a full-day deep dive workshop covering Ariba & Business Suite integration. Hear options, best practices, and the roadmap for Ariba Integration with SAP Business Suite and gain a deep dive into the integration options to simplify the integration including options for SAP HANA Cloud Integration, Ariba Integration Tool Kit, Direct Connectivity, and SAP NetWeaver PI, and what packaged SAP Best Practices are available in SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions.  We’ll have several “bring-your-own-PC” hands on exercises using offline simulations you can take home with you, and download project tools to help you get started.

During the lunch break, we’ll host Influence Lunch Table discussions with workshop participants, hosted by our ASUG Influence Customer Chair, Nick DeCenzo, and SAP Product & Package Owners including , Lisa Sammer, Cathal O’Sullivan, and Kirsten Loegering.

2. ASUG SAP Ariba Influence session in the ASUG Hub  on Wednesday, May 6th at 4:15PM

Join Ariba Integration ASUG Influence Council Customer Chair,  Nick DeCenzo and several Ariba/SAP Product Managers regarding future development plans and ASUG member needs regarding Ariba integration with SAP Business Suite.

Last year the ASUG Cloud Integration Influence Council was run as one council with a bigger cross-cloud solution and technical focus, but has since been split into separate influence councils focused on specific cloud solutions.  In several cases in the past we collaborated with the existing SRM focus/influence group as well where possible, and will continue to do so.  During this session we’ll have several SAP Product Management teams represented to hear your ideas and requirements, and to share their areas of development where SAP is actively seeking ASUG input via integration between ASUG Influence Councils and SAP CEI projects.  Join us to learn more!

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4 Comments

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  1. Paul Hardy

    I have not used Ariba for a while, but what might need improving is the master data integration e.g. for vendor master records, catalogues and the like.

    At the time I was trying to integrate SAP with Ariba, uploading CSV files into the Ariba network was the only option and that seemed rather old fashioned.

    I was talking to someone from a big mining company, a lot of their expenditure revolved around purchase requisitions created from SAP PM work orders, and they wanted the work order number visible in the Ariba purchase order. At the time of that conversation I am not sure that was possible.

    On the plus side, the turning point for me came when Ariba started releasing monthly releases of bug fixes and minor enhancements, to supplement the major release which occurs every year.

    Moreover, some obvious gaps that existed when I started playing with Ariba have now been plugged e.g. support for schedule agreements, blanket purchase orders, the ability to supress the price if you did not want the supplier to see the total PO value for whatever reason. Some of this was developed by Ariba specifically for the organisation I worked for.

    I also like to think I helped improve the standard Ariba product in my little way, pointing out some errors in the PI Java mappings e.g. when you created a PO in Ariba from an SAP IDOC a value went in one field, if you changed the PO in SAP generating a change IDOC the field in Ariba did not change but another field did. I found the problem, sent the fix to Ariba and all was then well.

    In summary I think Ariba has come forward in leaps and bounds from where it was at the time SAP acquired it, and the future looks bright.

    Sessions at ASUG where people can point out any remaining gaps to Ariba personnel can only be a good thing.

    I think the day will come when people look back at the time when purchase orders and invoices were sent on pieces of paper in the same way we now view sending telegrams.

    Cheersy Cheers

    Paul

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    1. Marian Harris Post author

      Thanks for the feedback Paul, it looks like you’re not in North America, so I’m guessing you may not be at the SAPPHIRE & ASUG Annual Conference in Orlando this May, but it would be great to learn more about your experiences. Our team creates the packaged SAP Best Practices and RDS solutions, and we’re several releases into packaging up the most common integration scenarios between SAP Business Suite and Ariba Network, and Ariba Procure-to-Pay.  We have ongoing development cycles where SAP customer and partner input is very welcomed.  Let me know if you’d like to participate in our upcoming projects for our next Ariba and SAP Fieldglass projects.

      Thanks again!

      Marian

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      1. Paul Hardy

        Dear Marian,

        I am not in North America I am in Australia, so I will not be at SAPPHIRE in Orlando this year. However it is possible I will be presenting at TECHED in Las Vegas later in the year. In any event, we are not starved of SAP conferences here in Australia!

        Sadly where I work we no longer use Ariba, the reasons are far too complicated to go into, but I think we went about two years too early.

        At my company we have made great strides in automating the AP process e.g. OCR and a really state of the art supplier invoice workflow within SAP. I have given talks on this subject at SAP conferences in Australia.

        It is easy to think that the invoice receipt process is simple i.e. three way match between PO, GR and invoice, but there are literally 100+ different things that can go wrong. That is why you get figures being bandied around like it costs a company $50 to process a supplier invoice for $10. My experience is generally that is not an exaggeration which is why my organisation in general and me in particular have thrown so much IT effort into solving this problem.

        I have also worked on assorted point to point B2B solutions, and while these work well, especially after the replacement of the Business Connector with PI, really the way forward is the hub Ariba promises to be.

        The idea of a hub is that the buying company just has to connect to the hub (Ariba) once, and each supplying company only has to connect to the hub once, and thus there is no geometric progression of point to point interfaces.

        Ariba needs to be 100% sure that this is what it is promising and this is what it is delivering. There have been so many companies in the past that have promised such a thing and failed to deliver. If Ariba can succeed where so many others have failed then it can literally change the world. If it fails however it is another nail in the coffin of the enormous benefit that B2B can bring to the table.

        Cheersy Cheers

        Paul

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        1. Marian Harris Post author

          Hi Paul,

          Do let us know if you’re at TechEd in Vegas and it would be great to meet.  Thanks for your input and we’ve already circulated among our team and several Product Management teams too –   Great personal insight that many with a primary background in SAP solutions understand very well.

          Thanks again!

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