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Author's profile photo Consuelo Jimenez

Digital Transformation Trends and Opportunities: A Partner Perspective

We are just at the beginning of digital transformation among midsize companies and enterprises. Such is the opinion of Nicolas Mai, Senior Consultant SAP Ariba and Kevin Drescher, Consultant SAP Ariba of SAP partner, apsolut.

The two SAP Ariba implementation experts believe that digitalization is now a major driver of the economy. Cloud services, telecommuting, and artificial intelligence are just a few of the buzzwords that are consistently used to describe today’s workplace. In addition, digitalization is resulting in new business models at breakneck speed. An increasing number of IT consulting and development companies are springing up across the globe to take advantage of the business opportunity.

This all points to the realization that every company, regardless of industry, must consider who may be a possible future competitor and how to ensure a strategic orientation that offers more opportunities than risks. To be a leader, companies must invest in digitalization.

Data: All Pain or All Gain?

Data is the most powerful instrument of the current century” Nicolas and Kevin explain. However, one of the biggest problems is the heterogeneous IT landscape that can be found in most companies. This results in a lack of transparency and a large discrepancy in data quality across the enterprise. “Digitalization reveals this expanse of frightening whiteness that is data storage, and poses both great challenges and opportunities for companies.”

The introduction of a new software solution alone cannot solve the problems. “The master data quality must be presupposed, the processes must be considered holistically, the solutions must fit into the global strategy, and the mindset of both management and employees must change.”

These are the challenges that apsolut helps companies address and solve.

Procurement is not immune to these data challenges.

In a disruptive world, companies cannot afford to lag behind in digital transformation. They cannot afford to think in silos but must determine how they can be more accepting and adopting of new technologies.

Companies will have to invest in digitizing procurement over the next few years to reap the benefits of data insights. Although procurement is one of the five cornerstones of a company, it is still the case that many companies have not seriously considered digital procurement solutions for this function. A clear trend can be seen that transparency in the company must be increased – from supplier information to invoices. By using evaluable data, opportunities and risks in procurement can be identified at a very early stage, allowing a company to react more quickly.

At the same time, the buyer must also change. Simply automating processes so that procurement professionals can move away from daily operational procurement to become a strategic consultant is not enough.

How SAP Ariba Helps

SAP Ariba can be part of a digitization strategy, revealing exactly these same problems to customers. Ultimately, the procurement function can become a strategic partner to management and other departments. The data insights and dashboards that SAP Ariba provide can strengthen the knowledge and value of the procurement function within the company.

SAP Ariba provides the world’s largest B2B network for indirect and direct material trading partners. Through Ariba Network, suppliers can increase their sales and procurement buyers have a wide range of suppliers to achieve savings and risk mitigation.

Where Intelligent Spend Management Fits In

SAP’s Intelligent Spend Management (ISM) offering is part of a new procurement strategic decision and, as an end-to-end platform, can steer companies in a new direction from a procurement perspective. As part of ISM, SAP Ariba includes global best practice processes and an intuitive user interface that end-users today demand in the business arena.

Just as SAP ERP Central Component has been the heart of a company for a while. Now SAP S/4HANA provides coherent internal processes and is the leading system for master data management for most processes. SAP Ariba is a very sensible addition to the strategic expansion of the IT infrastructure and can be integrated with SAP S/4HANA. In combination, the picture is complete.

How apsolut Garners Adoption for SAP Ariba

SAP Ariba is a modern and future-oriented technology with a lot of potential. We help customers from the decision phase to rollout and support.

According to Nicolas and Kevin, apsolut places focus on three key areas.

First, SAP Ariba is a standardized cloud software, which means that customization is not encouraged. The next step is the implementation phase, during which we pay particular attention to user experience and adoption.”

The third main pillar includes change management and user training. With the introduction of SAP Ariba, processes that have been live in the company for many years are questioned, which can affect a department or an entire company. “We start with supplier onboarding, and then move on to the sourcing and contract processes, all the way to the order processing and transactions on Ariba Network.”

When apsolut is finished with an implementation, an operative buyer now has the opportunity to develop from being an “ordering point” to becoming a strategic partner. No one should miss this opportunity.

A special thank you to Kathryn Zwack, Nicolas Mai and Kevin Drescher, for partnering with me to write this blog post.

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