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Supplier Enablement: Setting the Stage for a Successful Performance

Imagine a full orchestra, with an ensemble of string instruments, brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments. The entire orchestra is led by the conductor, who provides direction for the entire performance using their baton and the movements of their arms and hands. The conductor’s role is integral to the entire performance as they unify the musicians and their instruments, set the tempo, and the sounds that shape the entire symphony. Now, imagine what would happen in the absence of the conductor. How would the musicians find their direction? Could they continue to play in harmony without the conductor interpreting the composer’s score?

A successfully implemented procurement solution is like a well-harmonized orchestra. The network, just like the concert venue, is where all parties gather. Both buyers and suppliers have to be on the network for transactions to take place, just as a performance is only possible when both the audience and musicians are present. Having the technology in place, with the buyers and suppliers ready to transact doesn’t guarantee success. Programs must be in place to create the connections between these different components that will drive and accelerate real business value.

Our Supplier Enablement Program acts as the conductor for your procurement solution. Your suppliers, like the musicians, each have a unique set of capabilities and skills, but all with the same goal of creating harmonious business relations. Without supplier enablement, the musicians would be present at the show, but without direction and guidance. They might still play their instruments, according to the score in front of them, but it isn’t the same. They aren’t creating music. As with your procurement solution, it can work without suppliers being enabled, but you may not be realizing the full value of your investment.

This is why at SAP Ariba, we’ve built best-in-class supplier enablement programs and developed world class supplier enablement experts. When your suppliers have access to the right expertise, they join smoothly and successfully, enabling you to do business with them in a mutually beneficial way. At SAP Ariba, we know how important supplier enablement is to the ultimate success of our customers and we invest in enablement resources to ensure suppliers are set up for success from the very beginning.

 

It’s about more than just technology

Some procurement vendors do away with supplier enablement, touting the simplicity of their platform. However, at the core of a successfully implemented solution is people, not just technology. Your suppliers aren’t all the same; they vary in size, requirements and maturity levels. A self-service sign-up process, as appealing as it sounds, isn’t always going to suffice. A lack of enablement support opens up the potential for confusion and friction for your suppliers, potentially leading to the same challenges of manual processing, non-compliance and overall inefficiencies– problems that the solution was meant to solve in the first place.

When suppliers understand the value for them in joining your procurement platform, they are more willing to adopt. As with an orchestra, the conductor’s interpretation and pacing of the music means that individual musicians will ultimately have more appreciation for the composer’s score.

 

Leading practice goes a long way

Supplier enablement is much more than technical implementation and support. That’s only half of the equation, the other half is the industry expertise and leading practice advice required to fully realize the value of the solution. Supplier enablement is closely tied to reducing procurement operating costs, increasing spend under management and negotiating leverage. There is no substitute for the experience that enablement experts can bring to the table to achieve these outcomes. That’s why we offer an experienced community of experts, as well as a robust partner community, to ensure frictionless adoption for all suppliers.  We treat suppliers as customers. With over 700 experts, fluent in over 20 languages and located in 9 locations across the globe – we are dedicated to enabling suppliers onto the solution in the way that best fits their needs.

When you embark on the journey of adopting a procurement solution, ensure a conductor is in place, so each of the musicians’ talents can be realized in a harmonious symphony.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about our supplier enablement services, watch this short SAP Ariba Supplier Enablement video or download our Supplier Enablement Overview PDF.

 

As always, you can find me on Twitter @eamonida.

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