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Things to take in consideration when migrating supplier-related files to SAP Ariba

In this blog post, I’m sharing my experience when migrating supplier-related files from a legacy system to SAP Ariba. I will cover how parts of this migration can be automated and some items that you need to keep in mind/track.

We often encounter that customers when moving to SAP Ariba to manage their suppliers, have lots of legacy data in the form of files and they want to migrate these data as files to SAP Ariba. First of all, SAP Ariba might not be the best place to store your supplier-related files, as it is not a proper file repository, but it is very convenient to have your supplier-related files close to where the rest of the supplier data lives. Why? The end user will use SAP Ariba to manage suppliers and it is good to have easy access to that data (files).

How can I prepare for this migration?

  • Data cleansing/check: Needless to say, it is important to go through a data cleansing/check exercise before doing the migration. There might be some data that is no longer relevant and given that you will be starting with a fresh SAP Ariba instance, it might be best to archive/leave data that is no longer relevant behind. For example, suppliers that the company has not had relationship with for X amount of time, suppliers that no longer operate/exist or information regarding old/expired qualifications/certificates which are no longer valid.
  • Get deeply familiar with the Supplier Data API with pagination, as it will help you interact with the supplier questionnaire and automate the file uploads for the different suppliers.

How can I store supplier-related files in SAP Ariba? You can use an internal questionnaire, create questions of type file attachment and attach the files to them. You can attach most common file types, e.g. PDF, zip, MS Word documents, MS Excel spreadsheets.

What should I keep in mind?

  • This can not be an external questionnaire as an external questionnaire requires intervention from the supplier and there are limitation on when you can update an external questionnaire, see SAP Help documentation.
  • Create a question per file that you want to store.
  • Maximum file size of an attachment is 10 MB. If your data is likely to have a file size greater than 10 MB, it might be best to use an external service to store the files, e.g. Sharepoint, and just reference the folder where the files are stored via a link.
  • Every time an attachment is updated a new version of the questionnaire is created.

What should I keep track of when looking to automate the process?

  • Supplier ID in the legacy system and the new supplier ID in SAP Ariba.
  • Every question of the internal questionnaire has a different ID. This question ID is required when attaching a file via the API. It will simplify things if you follow a naming convention when storing the files locally so that the script responsible of doing the migration can parse the file name and use the information to create the attachment. Note: The question IDs will also differ in your test and production realm.

Are there any limitations?

  • At the time of writing, the maximum file size that can be attached as a question is 10 MB. Nowadays, 10 MB might not be much, depending on the nature of the file, it can easily exceed 10 MB. This limitation exists when attaching a file via the UI and also via the API.
  • SAP Ariba doesn’t track the content of the file, so it is not simple to see what has changed in the file between versions.

How can I automate this process?

  • It is likely that extracting the data/files from the legacy system will not be straight forward or it can involve some manual processes. This can be automated by using SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation to access the legacy system UI and replace the manual process with a bot.
  • You can create a script to update a supplier’s questionnaire by using the Supplier Data API with pagination. An attachment can be attached to a question by posting a message to the /answers endpoint, e.g. POST /vendors/{{SupplierID}}/workspaces/questionnaires/{{QuestionnaireID}}/answers/?realm={{realmName}}. Note the KI_1234567 value set in the externalSystemCorrelationId node, this is the question ID mentioned before.
{
    "answers": [
        {
            "externalSystemCorrelationId": "KI_1694841",
            "attachmentAnswer": {
                "fileName": "Attachment.csv",
                "mimeType": "application.csv",
                "fileSize": 221725,
                "fileContents": "64 bit encoded value"
            }
        }
    ]
}
I hope this blog post gives you a better understanding of what is required to migrate your supplier-related files to SAP Ariba. Also, some of the limitations there are and things to keep in mind when planning/scoping the file migration.
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