What’s Up, SAP Companion? An Update on User Enablement in SAP Procurement
It’s been a while since Andy Rubinson’s last blog post about the status of embedded help integration in SAP’s procurement solutions, specifically SAP Ariba solutions. Since then, the Web Assistant used for providing embedded help to end users was rebranded to SAP Companion, a component of SAP Enable Now. With this post, I’d like to give you an update of where we currently stand regarding SAP Companion integration in SAP’s procurement solutions and what our user enablement strategy looks like.
SAP Companion in Procurement Solutions Built on SAP BTP
While embedded help has been an essential part of our user enablement strategy for some time, it is part and parcel of procurement solutions that are built on SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), including SAP Central Invoice Management, SAP Ariba Buying, base edition, and SAP Ariba Category Management. Did you know that these solutions not only offer a state-of-the-art, intuitive user experience but also come with a built-in integration of the SAP Companion framework?
As a result, end users now benefit from embedded help right from day 1. In addition to context-sensitive help for fields and screen areas, we aim to include learning tutorials for the most common workflows directly in the app – and completely for free! Those of you familiar with SAP Companion know that the framework allows us to provide embedded help content throughout the entire software lifecycle. This includes onboarding content for first-time users, help and tutorials for casual and more advanced users, links to enablement assets on SAP Help Portal and other platforms, and information about new and changed features directly on the user interface.
Curious what our user enablement strategy looks like? Take our brand-new SAP Ariba Category Management solution, for example. The following screenshot shows the SAP Ariba Category Management homepage. (Please note that the visibility of apps depends on the user role, so not all apps depicted here are visible to all end users).
SAP Ariba Category Management Homepage
You open SAP Companion by clicking the question mark in the shell bar. The help panel includes information that’s relevant for the page you’re looking at. A link tile provides access to the documentation on SAP Help Portal.
Let’s check out the Manage Taxonomy app. When you open SAP Companion, the default view is for context-sensitive help.
Context-Sensitive Help in SAP Ariba Category Management
To access the available learning tutorials, click the academic hat icon in the help panel.
Learning Tutorials in SAP Ariba Category Management
Learning tutorials guide you through a screenshot-based simulation of the most common end-to-end workflows. If tutorials are available for an app, they are shown in the help panel. The Learning Center button takes you to a repository of all tutorials available for the solution.
As of the first follow-on release, you’ll find an additional icon in the help panel. This allows you to view information about changes and new features since the last release.
SAP Companion in Classic SAP Ariba Solutions
But what about the classic SAP Ariba solutions, that is, solutions that are not built on SAP BTP? For those of you who aren’t familiar with the way SAP Companion works in these solutions, let me highlight some aspects in which embedded help in a classic solution differs from embedded help in a SAP BTP-based solution.
In a classic SAP Ariba solution, embedded help is available on selected pages. In some of these solutions, the icon for launching SAP Companion is located to the right of the page, while the question mark in the shell bar provides access to the SAP Ariba Help Center, a support tool. In addition, customers with an SAP Enable Now license can add custom content or extend the standard content provided by SAP.
The following screenshot shows embedded help in SAP Ariba Supplier Lifecycle and Performance.
SAP Companion in SAP Ariba Lifecycle and Performance
Here’s an overview of the classic SAP Ariba solutions that provide embedded content via SAP Companion:
|Solution/Capability||Standard Content||Custom/Extended Content Option||Learning Tutorials||SAP Companion Icon|
|Guided buying capability for SAP Ariba Buying||Yes||Yes||Yes||In the shell bar|
|Guided sourcing capability for SAP Ariba Sourcing||Yes||Yes||Yes||To the right of the page|
|Direct Spend Sourcing capability for SAP Strategic Sourcing Suite||Yes||Yes||Yes||To the right of the page|
|SAP Ariba Supplier Lifecycle and Performance – Supplier Management dashboard||Yes||Yes||Yes||To the right of the page|
|SAP Ariba Risk – Finding and Event Collaboration||Yes||No||No||In the shell bar|
|SAP Business Network for Trading Partners||Yes||No||No||In the shell bar|
|SAP Business Network for Procurement||Yes||No||No||In the shell bar|
|SAP Business Network for Supply Chain||Yes||No||No||In the shell bar|
A similar overview is available on SAP Help Portal. Unlike this blog post, SAP Help Portal content is updated regularly, so make sure to bookmark the SAP Companion – Supported Applications and Content Scenarios page.
Summary: User Enablement in SAP Procurement
While we continue to update and enhance existing SAP Companion content for our classic SAP Ariba solutions, our focus going forward is on new procurement solutions built on SAP BTP. For these solutions, we provide standard content right from the start – allowing your users to get started as quickly as possible.
Let’s summarize how SAP Companion integration differs between procurement solutions based on SAP BTP and classic SAP Ariba solutions:
|SAP BTP-Based Solution||Classic SAP Ariba Solution|
|SAP Companion icon||In the shell bar||Depends on the solution – either in the shell bar or to the right of the page|
|Availability of embedded help||On all pages (with few exceptions)||On selected pages|
Automatically on, but can be disabled via parameter*
For more information, see Setup of SAP Companion for SAP Ariba.
|Custom/Extended content option**||Currently not available||
For more information, see Setup of SAP Companion for SAP Ariba.
* Exception: You can’t disable SAP Companion for Finding and Event Collaboration, which is integrated in SAP Ariba Risk.
** Requires an SAP Enable Now license
The missing possibility for customers with an SAP Enable Now license to add custom content or extend the standard content provided by SAP is indeed the only, albeit temporary, caveat I must add for procurement solutions that are based on SAP BTP. We’re working at full steam to enable these options and will inform you as soon as they are available. So stay tuned for updates!
To conclude, here’s a collection of helpful resources, most of them already mentioned throughout this blog post:
- Introducing: SAP Companion – Your Adoption and Productivity Layer
- SAP Companion – Supported Applications and Content Scenarios
- Setup of SAP Companion for SAP Ariba
- SAP Central Invoice Management
- SAP Ariba Buying, base edition
- SAP Ariba Category Management
And now I’d love to hear from you! Do you use SAP Companion in your procurement solution? Any feedback you’d like to share? Post your comments below or feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.