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Author's profile photo Nina Piury Arza

From Feedback to Action: How SAP Ariba incorporates Customer input

Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog. My name is Nina Piury, and as a Procurement Adoption Director part of Adoption Services Centre, I work closely with customers to ensure they are getting the most out of their software solutions.

As cloud software has become more popular, companies like SAP face the challenge of balancing customer needs and standardized features. While cloud software offers streamlined and efficient processes, it may not provide the same level of customization as traditional on-premise software.

The SAP Customer Influence program allows customers to provide inputs on the features and functionalities for cloud software in SAP products such as SAP Ariba. While it is not possible to accommodate every request, the program provides valuable insight for SAP to better understand customer needs and make informed decisions.

We understand the importance of rebuilding our customer’s trust in our SAP Ariba influence program, and we believe that working collaboratively with our customers is the key to achieving this goal. We encourage our customers to share their ideas and raise their voices, so that we can continue to improve and provide a product that they can trust.

So listen up, customers, If you come across missing functionality or behavior that you believe could add more value, or if SAP Ariba support informs you that a particular behavior is intended as per the design and not a defect, it’s likely that other customers have encountered the same need. This is precisely why we encourage customers to submit their ideas through the Active Influence Opportunities in Ariba. Your input can help prioritize improvements that are important to you and others. Vote for the request that match your needs, as the number of votes is critical in determining which requests get considered. Join us in shaping the future of SAP Ariba by sharing your ideas and having your voice heard from day one!

And if you cannot find an existing improvement request that matches your need, create it! It’s simple and quick, you just need to decide meaningful title (so anyone else can easily find it) and expose your business need! Do it and click on “Submit Improvement”.

If you feel strongly about a particular improvement request, don’t hesitate to communicate it to your Customer Success Partner (CSP) and other customers who share your views. Remember, the number of votes a request receives is crucial in determining its priority for implementation.

Considering the potentially long-term nature of this endeavor, it may be beneficial to inquire with your CSP about available adoption resources that can assist you in finding a suitable workaround for your specific requirements.

You might wonder what happens after you vote for or create an idea that receives a high number of votes, whether your effort and investment will be worth it, and how long it will take to see the idea implemented. While we cannot guarantee that every idea will be added to the roadmap or prioritized over other requests, we want to assure you that the Influence Program is taken seriously by our Product Management Organization. We are committed to improving the process, but we acknowledge that it may take time. We understand the frustration of not seeing immediate results, but we ask for your trust and patience as we work towards making the program more reliable for decision-making.

Let me continue clarifying how the SAP Ariba Influence process works:

  • Number of votes: Improvement requests are prioritized through voting so that Product Management Team reviews the ideas that have reached certain threshold of votes (it depends on the campaign). Normally, top ideas in each campaign are reviewed during bi-annual review cycle
  • Votes is not the only factor, other essential criteria must be taken into account:
    • Desirability: how many customers voted for it, and how many customers will benefit from it?
    • Viability: Is this improvement request globally relevant? And is this in alignment with SAP’s strategy for the product?
    • Feasibility: is the development effort realistic? Is this request workable within the product’s architecture?
  • What happens after the review? The number of ideas accepted to roadmap will vary every review cycle, the results are published through blog posts, you can always find them on the right clicking on any existing SAP Ariba campaign
  • Ideas that have little to no votes and have elapsed 3 quarters time frame will be automatically closed to help reduce backlog and ease of navigation for our community of customers.

Now that the process is clear, to recap, what do you need to do as a customer?

  1. Find and vote for improvement request OR submit improvement request in Active Influence Opportunities in Ariba
  2. Wait for Review: other companies can vote for it, and it needs to reach certain number of votes
  3. Review Cycle Communication: After the review cycle has ended, normally there is 1 cycle bi-annually, then a blog is posted with information on the accepted and delivered improvement requests.

In Active Influence Opportunities in Ariba you will find all SAP Ariba Campaigns. Clicking on a campaign you can see two key areas: Current timeline in the center and Blogs on the right

Check existing information reviewing timeline and posted blogs and remember that we want to listen our customers and we need you to improve!


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      Author's profile photo Francois Xavier BOTTA
      Francois Xavier BOTTA

      Thanks for this very clear explanation about the customer influence process. While I know most of it, it is always interesting to see it explained in a very structure way.

      Concerning the process in itself, from my different exchanges with other companies using ARIBA plateforms (suite or network), I hear a lot of frustration about this. Of course, because of the small number of customer influence requests being tackled every year by SAP (but for me this is normal as SAP has like everybody else some limitation in term of feature development)

      but MOSTLY because of what I call the "design bug" effect:

      Some features are built and published but clearly there is some basic design flaws in it (meaning the feature does not have any technical bugs but the design is missing something very important (and not customer specific) that don't allow to use it... In this case, a ticket to SAP support is useless as it is not a technical bug and they ask to create a customer influence that will take years to be done in the best cases...

      The example I use to explain this case is that I want to buy a new car, i go to the car shop, order the car , wait 2-3 months the car to be build/ Finally the car shop is calling me  because the car is ready to be pick up by me. Then I go to the car shop to get my car and when I see what has arrived, it is a boat... So yes technically a boat bring you from point A to point B like a car but only on sea and not on road.... So you complain to the car shop and their answer is "it has been designed like this", go to customer influence to wait for ton of votes (so at minimum 2years before it is done) and your stuck with something you cannot use....

      For me there should be 3 processes:

      1-technical bug process -> SAP support

      2- Design Bug process -> ? (I would prefer SAP support like old world SAP)

      3- request for enw feature -> Customer influence...

      Best regards