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Author's profile photo Falko Feldchen

Moving from SAP Supplier Network Collaboration to SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration

By Falko Feldchen,SAP

 

Introduction

For any company using the SAP Supplier Network Collaboration (SNC) solution to collaborate with their direct suppliers on demand forecast, inventory positions and procurement transactions, SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration (SCC) is a solution to consider. Beyond adopting the new generation of SAP cloud products and preparing for the end of support of the SAP SCM suite, what does the journey from SNC to SCC look like? Let’s consider the lessons learned from similar migrations.

Big thank you to Julien Serres, at Deloitte, who worked on this article with me.

 

What are the main differences between SNC and SCC?

 

Customization – The first thing to have in mind is that SNC was an on-premise solution, and SCC is cloud-based, which comes with additional considerations (pros and cons). Connecting to a public could solution means for instance adopting a fit-to-standard approach as much as possible during the solution design phase, and having in sight the continuous improvements that will be delivered in the quarterly releases, as per SAP’s product roadmap. While cloud-based solutions still come with options in terms of configuration, the offered configuration frame still needs to be considered. With SCC, it is for instance possible to define transactional rules applicable for procurement collaboration at global, supplier group, or individual supplier level.

 

Administration – The platform on which SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration is built is shared by hundreds of thousands of buying and supplying organizations around the world. Each organization is responsible for its own user access management, and while the data shared is still under control of the buying entity, you no longer have to manage access matters for your supplier’s users, and change compared to SNC, which required the buying organization to also manage their supplier’s users.

 

Business community – Where the SNC supplier portal offered suppliers integration to a single buying organization, SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration is based on the SAP Business Network, where suppliers can transact with multiple buying organizations using the same portal, increasing the value of adopting the solution. Suppliers can use the Web UI interface to transact with their customers, but they can also directly integrate their ERP to their client’s ERP (through the SAP Business Network), supporting high volume relationships (see below). SCC also opens the door to multi-tier collaboration, allowing multiple partners to collaborate on the same document (buying organization, supplier and 3PL for example).

 

Supplier connectivity – SNC allows suppliers to connect manually to a web portal, and any requirement for system-to-system electronic collaboration currently requires separate solutions and maintenance. SCC provides more flexibility, as it comes with multiple connectivity options ranging from a purpose-designed supplier web UI, the possibility to manage most of transactions by uploads and downloads of Excel or csv files, system-to-system integration and interoperability with non-SAP networks.

 

No master data prerequisites – Another difference between the two solutions is that there is no master data prerequisite to use Supply Chain Collaboration. To phrase it in SNC terms, there is no equivalent of CIF interfaces to maintain synchronization of master data between ERP and Network. Only transactional documents are exposed on the supplier portal with SCC, which streamlines the overall integration by removing one of the main root causes of error, especially during the transmission of purchasing documents to suppliers.

 

Supplier enablement – As an on-premise solution, SNC requires heavy involvement of the customer in supplier enablement operations, requiring a dedicated organization with resources to manage those time-consuming activities. With SCC, support for supplier enablement services is embedded in the subscription contract for the solution with SAP Ariba. During implementation, as well as once the solution is live, SAP allocates resources to continuously support its customers with supplier outreach and training activities. System-to-system integration scenarios are also supported by dedicated members of the SAP team.

 

Why can using SNC today be a project accelerator for adopting SCC?

 

After several years of using SNC, users are already familiar with the concepts and requirements of collaborative supply chain. Business stakeholders are fully aware that supplier adoption is a key success factor for that type of project, and already have an organization in place to support supplier enablement activities. They also understand the expectations and ways of working of their suppliers in an environment supported by a collaborative solution.

 

A similar logic applies as well to processes in scope. It will quickly become obvious during the Explore phase of the implementation project that the brand new construction of SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration has been built with the bricks of the SNC core processes. The user base involved is very likely going to be the same and the main process steps will be identical: order placement, confirmation, ASN, goods receipt, invoice, forecast, inventory. As the whole project team already speaks the same language, scoping and general design discussions are typically very efficient, which allows for a shorter overall implementation timeline.

 

What challenges should you expect?

 

Same game, same players, but slightly different rules. Even though there is a real functional continuity between SNC and SCC, as in any new implementation project change management should not be ignored. SCC comes with a set of new concepts to fully embrace to make the most efficient usage of the solution: supplier groups, transactional rules, supply chain monitor, to give a few examples. This change management workstream has also an important part to play when business users raise a red flag in case functions/features existing in SNC are not covered by SCC, not matter whether those features were custom or even important for the business.

 

The typical rollout strategy for SCC and its implications on phasing out SNC have to be clearly explained and understood. Unlike other SAP Ariba solutions, SCC is not a solution that you deploy in a “big bang” manner. As countries often have their own organizations and local requirements, the common approach for companies with an international footprint is to deploy each country (or region) one after the other. Within one geographical entity, not all suppliers will go live at the same time, but following a “flight plan” composed of successive supplier enablement waves. The direct implication is that SCC and SNC will coexist for a period of several months, depending on the number of suppliers to onboard. SNC can be decommissioned only once all historical suppliers have been onboarded on SCC.

 

As in any system transformation project, migration of open documents can also be a source of concern. How do you manage end of life for purchase orders initiated on SNC and not closed before the transition to SCC? The answer depends on customer context and will be developed during the detailed design phase. Typically, however, solutions identified are often simpler than what could have been expected, for two reasons:

1/ The flight plan for SCC is composed of recurring enablement waves. The volume of purchasing documents to be handled during each cutover depends on the number of suppliers going live during that wave, which usually remains quite reasonable.

2/ In most scenarios, existing purchasing documents can be preserved and simply sent to the new supplier portal in a few steps. Some precautions should still be taken, such as no having open ASNs at the time of transition or making sure that no document is being transitioned in a partially received state.

 

Conclusion

 

The move from SNC to SCC is more than just a technology transition for your direct procurement and supplier collaboration activities. SCC comes with extended collaborative capabilities that can take your business to next level. With years of experience using SNC, your company will be in a great position to successfully implement SCC.

 

SAP and Deloitte have joint experiences supporting customers in modernization projects of that kind. Together, we will leverage on this experiences to make the most of this new solution, maximize supplier adoption, and create value to drive your business forward.

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