User Experience Insights
Introducing Web Assistant into SAP Ariba Solutions
As the cross-product Product Strategy lead for SAP Procurement’s Influence and Road Map team, I’m tasked with supporting release readiness for a variety of areas, including user experience, spend analysis, and other topics that span multiple solution areas. One area that is a bit of a passion project for me is the introduction of in-app guidance across a broad cross-section of the SAP Ariba suite. To achieve that goal, SAP Ariba has started to introduce Web assistant from SAP Enable Now. I’m very excited to see our efforts starting to bear fruit, but also want to be sure everyone understands the bigger picture of what we’ve done so far, and what we’re still planning to do.
Web assistant will provide users with context-sensitive help, including documentation, videos, and learning content, along with guided tours and information about what’s new in the application. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear how this is being offered and many people interpret it to mean the guidance will be available throughout the suite, in one big bang. I hope to clarify that here and properly set expectations. The reality is that we’re rolling Web assistant out in specific applications as our road map allows. The good news is that it’s already been included in our November 2020 guided sourcing capability release, with in-app guidance available to end users, including context-sensitive information based on the page the user is on, guided tours of common processes, and learning modules associated with a given page’s capabilities.
Screen shot of Web assistant in Guided Sourcing
Our May 2021 release introduced 3 more areas integrated with Web assistant. Two of them are within Ariba Network, with guidance included for the new Supplier Portal and Trading Partner Registration components. This is a welcome addition for suppliers who may not be as familiar with our solutions and need a little extra help in navigating a new interface. Web assistant was also introduced in May to Product Sourcing, which is used for direct materials spend. In this case, the ability to create custom content with an SAP Enable Now license was added, allowing customers to incorporate their own guidance, including documentation, videos, and more, into the user experience via Web assistant.
For August, the guided sourcing capability will also be releasing the ability to add custom content (see Release Readiness page in Connect). As mentioned above, the guided sourcing capability already includes standard content released last November. An additional benefit of having the license for custom content is that when both standard and custom content are available, customers with an SAP Enable Now license will be able to add their own content, as well as modify the SAP Ariba standard content, in order to offer any customer-specific documentation, policies, or terminology.
In terms of upcoming release plans, subject to change per our standard road map disclaimer, the following releases are currently slated to include a number of additional Web assistant integrations:
November 2021 (2111)
- Product Sourcing plans to release standard content
- Supplier Lifecycle and Performance plans to release standard content for Supplier Search
February 2022 (2202)
- The new guided contracts UX plans to include standard content
- Supplier Lifecycle and Performance plans to release standard content for Supplier 360 pages
- Supplier Lifecycle and Performance plans to release custom content for Supplier Search and Supplier 360 pages
- Commerce Automation within Ariba Network plans to release standard content
- Guided Buying plans to add standard and custom content.
Ultimately the goal is to continue broadening our Web assistant coverage, expanding further across SAP Ariba and even into cross-solution scenarios across SAP Ariba, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP Fieldglass, providing standard content for in-app guidance for all users, along with the ability to add custom content with an SAP Enable Now license.
I hope you’ll take some time to explore the Web assistant content currently released in solutions you use, and keep an eye out for upcoming releases to take full advantage of this tool that helps drive user proficiency and makes adoption for new users much easier. For a February 2022 update, please see my new blog on status on Web assistant in SAP Ariba.