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Author's profile photo Terry Penner

Let’s Play: Make winning procurement moves with SAP Business Technology Platform and enterprise analytics

Get firsthand experience with enterprise analytics for spend management and procurement on the SAP Business Technology Platform with a free trial.


When people talk about procurement leaders, a wide variety of analogies often pop up. Sports heroes who score a winning touchdown at a crucial moment. Firefighters who extinguish fires and save their organization from disaster. And sometimes, we may even hear about about four-star generals directing their resources with strategic precision.

But lately, procurement has been feeling less like those grandiose stories and more like a never-ending chess game. Constant worldwide procurement disruptions mean that every move procurement organizations make can change the nature of their business’s competitiveness and the response of their competitors and customers.  And in rare cases, like the fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit, their efforts can send a one-of-a-kind startup into a meteoric rise to a full-scale international sensation in a stunning triumph over adversity.

Yet, procurement leaders cannot let themselves feel as confident as Beth Harmon. The pieces on the 64 squares on a chessboard are constantly changing, making it challenging to control and dominate the game. But with access to the right enterprise analytics, they can make better predictions to move their business closer to their goal – declaring checkmate on their competitors.


What you personally know is not always important

Spend happens in a lot of different places in a business – and not every purchase makes sense on the surface. Business requirements and market dynamics are changing so quickly that buyers usually react to only the information in front of them without knowing how other areas are affected.

It’s true – what a decision-maker personally knows is true isn’t always what’s most important to the business.  A clear view of spending activities across the organization and the performance of vendors and suppliers is needed to continuously discover the risks and opportunities for every part of the company. To solve this need, enterprise analytics solutions need to be embedded in every step of the procurement process.

For SAP customers, combining SAP line of business solutions like SAP Ariba, SAP S/4HANA Cloud and the SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite with SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud solutions in the SAP Business Technology Platform can bring together the purchasing needs and activities of finance, supply chains, HR, operational spend, and the customer experience.  Each of these solutions are cloud-based and have the capability to link with your business-critical SAP (including ERP) and third-party data.

Spend Analysis Advanced Reporting

For example, the prebuilt SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud visualizations and data models for the SAP Ariba Spend Analysis solution offers a standardized approach for extracting spend analysis data. With an interactive reporting user interface, prebuilt data models, enhanced visualization, and analytics stories, it delivers quick time to value (see figure 1)

Figure 1: Dashboard on Areas with Opportunity for Additional Savings

With enterprise analytics, procurement organizations can give all business areas an enterprise-wide overview of general spending activity, emerging buying behaviors and trends, and compliance performance. Business functions can then assess gaps in their supplier fragmentation and opportunities for optimizing favorable payment terms, consolidating tail spend, improving compliance, and limiting sourcing risks. Furthermore, executive decision-makers can better optimize their pricing strategies by understanding purchase price variances, aligning internal costs, and reducing supplier costs.


Enterprise Analytics for SAP Ariba Procurement

Enterprise analytics is also available for SAP Ariba Procurement solutions to measure indirect buying compliance as well as handle sourcing more strategically (see Figure 2). Organizations can visualize their percent spend with each preferred vendor, contracted suppliers, and purchase order. With this information, they can then determine how much of their total spend is sourced appropriately and calculate actual savings rates for the overall business or specific events or categories.

Figure 2: Dashboard on Maverick Spend for Each Company Site

When integrating enterprise analytics and procurement solutions together, organizations can better enhance their productivity and working capital position. For instance, finance teams can quantify how many invoices are processed by each full-time staff member, the presence of invoice exceptions, and the rate at which invoices can be completed through automation. Meanwhile, they can maximize the number of discounts captured to increase their costs.

Let’s play

As in chess, a key to business success is not to hesitate and act overly cautious but to move forward with confidence. That level of self-assurance can only come with analytics-driven design that help identify needed improvements as well as predict emerging trends, opportunities, and risks.

And that’s the beauty of the advanced reporting and analytics for SAP Ariba Spend Analysis and SAP Ariba Procurement.   Enterprise Analytics for spend management and procurement not only helps buyers become more informed, but also provide a different view that focuses procurement behaviors on what the entire business needs to succeed today and tomorrow.

Get firsthand experience with enterprise analytics for spend management and procurement on the SAP Business Technology Platform with a free trial.

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      Author's profile photo Venkatakrishna Pothula
      Venkatakrishna Pothula

      Hello Terry Penner,


      Very nice article , Thanks for sharing.