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Ariba Integration – A job for Design Thinking?

Last week I attended a design thinking workshop. Design thinking is an approach to solve challenges and accelerate innovation by combining three different interests: desirability, feasibility and viability.


Excited by what I learned there, I shared my newly acquired knowledge with a colleague. After discussing, we looked at areas where design thinking could be applied to topics we deal with every day at SAP. Currently, we work on the integration of Ariba procurement and sourcing solutions to SAP ERP applications. Could we use design thinking to accelerate innovation in even that topic? In order to answer that question, we simply applied design thinking to this particular scenario and tried to come up with an ideal solution!

So what’s important for a smooth integration to SAP Ariba apps? First, the integrators need to develop the business processes across the different applications. Wouldn’t it be great if they had already best practices and ready-to-go business process diagrams?

Our customers don’t want to waste their resources on paper work and manual processes. That’s why they decided to exchange documents with their business partners electronically on the SAP Ariba Network in the first place. This brought up our second requirement. Integrators need to properly configure the communication channels among the apps for those electronic documents to fly back and forth across the network. Wouldn’t it be great if they had best practices and ready-to-go configurations available?

Before going live with integration, you have to test it. Everybody who has done this before, would agree that developing test scripts on your own can be a pretty tedious task. Wouldn’t it be great if they had access to best practices and ready-to-go test scripts?

Obviously, it did not take long until our SAP Ariba Integration rapid deployment solution (RDS)  came to our minds. It contains best practices with business process diagrams, with configuration guides and test scripts. It already provides the necessary tools and, by the way, combines the three pillars of design thinking, namely; feasibility, desirability and viability.

Summing up our little experiment: we could have saved our resources and brain power on design thinking and just used the prepackaged SAP Ariba Integration RDS instead. The great news is that if you’re looking to simplify your own integration with SAP Ariba, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort and simply leverage the RDS!

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