Towards building a Resilient, Customer Centric & Intelligent Procurement Enterprise – SAPPHIRE NOW 2021
The pandemic brought disruption in all spheres of businesses, but supply chain remains as one of the most affected areas of the global economy. According to SAP, 90% of fortune 1000 companies suffered some form of procurement/supply chain disruption or interruption over the past 18 months. From stagnant production lines, obstructed logistics, out of order supply chain to empty retail shelves, it was a chaos all around. One of the key areas of supply chain, which remained a major concern for companies was ‘Procurement’. Although the changes mentioned above happened overnight, there was steady and progressive change in customer behavior – according to SAP 73% of customers state that traceability of products is relevant information for them. Companies have also realized that it’s just not about the 3Cs – Cost, Control and Compliance anymore, rather to be able to add value with spend management, keeping the environmental and social factors favorable are goals.
What SAP has to offer?
SAP offers a holistic set of integrated solutions in the areas of intelligent spend management, SAP S/4HANA, and Experience Management to ensure the focus shifts from enterprise centric to a ‘Customer Centric Network Economy’ based approach. They also want to make all end to end procurement processes digital for clients to ensure a continuous flow of data.
The solutions would also need to be simple, user friendly and tailored to the needs of the end user with the application of ML and AI. SAP Business Technology Platform would ensure same procurement experience across all channels. IDC states that SAP holds 33% market share in the procurement applications software market. The solutions are also designed to help companies reduce the risk quotient like SAP Ariba Supplier Risk Management. SAP has recently introduced ‘Responsible Sourcing’ solutions to address material traceability with knowledge about actual effects on the businesses and even the planet at large. They have also offered Trading Partner Portal for SAP Business Network which connects all the dots in the supply chain collaboration. They plan on integrating and offering unified data model workflows which enables network wide intelligence for suppliers and buyers in the process.
Apart from SAP Business Network, some of the other key offerings of focus are – SAP Ariba Guided Sourcing, SAP Fieldglass Assignment Management, and SAP Concur Detect. They have re-emphasized the value in the offering OneProcurement which comprises two modules: Sourcing and Supplier Life-Cycle Performance from SAP Ariba. SAP also vouched for its solution around Ariba API Framework which would enable efficient end-to-end procurement processes.
SAP is trying very hard to help companies understand their spend in real time and thus are able to innovate and re-imagine business processes. SAP promises that with its solutions, business processes would also be more collaborative and sustainable in the long run.
What Infosys has to offer?
According to Dinesh Rao, EVP – Head Global Services – Enterprise Package Application Services, organizations are making a priority to go ahead with digital transformation. They are also heavily inclined towards an enterprise wide cloud adoption that would enable them to scale, innovation, introduce newer services into the market. They’re also focused on organization resilience and security for their entire organization structure, and procurement being one of the most important digital processes needs taking care of.
- Infosys is trying to move its clients towards Live Enterprises, which would enable them to re-imagine business processes and entire user experience by bringing agility in the process of digitization. It would also help companies turn into intelligent enterprises with the use of AI and in turn enhance customer experience.
- Infosys also offers Cobalt, which is a set of services solutions and platforms, powered by the community of cloud experts and practitioners which would help customers/clients to navigate to digital transformation.
To counter disruption like the COVID-19 pandemic, companies would need to master the art of resilience, flexibility, constant innovation as well as rapid time to market. To fully transform the supply chain, companies need to start by investing in procurement solutions. Infosys is currently helping with the digital transformation for a client in Automotive industry where they’re focusing on bringing SAP S/4HANA, SAP SRM and Fiori, to help navigate the transformation.
What are Vendors/Partners saying?
- According to partners, key digital trends for sustainable business transformation would be in the areas of forecasting and real time risk management using AI & ML. Automation enablement using RPA Adoption is one of the ways business specially procurement would be self-sufficient. They also believe that positive outliers were due to decades of focus on areas of Lean Manufacturing, Just–in–time inventory management and preemptive stance on use of technology for procurement and supply chain modernization.
- Partners have reiterated the beliefs of SAP that when it comes to gaining agility and flexibility as an organization, it is evident that digitization is the only solution.
- There are a few challenges been pointed out by the partners like in the areas of budget allocation to future technologies, and does it mean companies need to compromise on priorities of today. The solution comes in the form of belief extended by key executives who understands the value digital technologies in procurement can provide.
- The partners have also talked about the implementation and use of prescriptive analytics instead of just predictive analytics, which would ensure that procurement processes are self-aligned.
- Last but not least companies are very interested to understand if they decide today about a technology, does it make it easier or harder for them to expand that footprint, and gain incremental value in the future.
To counter present and future disruptions, the call to action on digitizing and transforming procurement has just never been louder. Seeing the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, it’s essential and urgent to able to develop capabilities robust enough to respond to challenges and changes. Procurement executives around the world are also keen on ‘Supply Chain Transparency & Traceability’ to be sure of the origin and flow of goods. They also are focused on ensuring ‘Sustainability’ in the business processes.
Companies via SAPPHIRE NOW are being motivated to focus on value driven strategic actions and spend less time in manually managing processes. SAP has put special emphasis on the benefits of using Guided Sourcing power by Ariba and how it makes the entire procurement process simple, efficient, and intelligent.
Finally, SAP along with its partners aims to fundamentally change the procurement experience and, in a way, make it more intelligent, guided, and autonomous.