Picture shows the team from SBN at the "SAP User Group SIG Lead - Meet SAP Expert". It was a two day event where Innovation Team leaders from several User Groups got the opportunity to sit down with SAP experts and get the latest news and RoadMap within their solution area at SAP in Walldorf.
Author is 5th person, in black dress with pattern
The Expert session was hosted by Christine Hofmann (Area Product Owner S/4HANA Sourcing and Procurement Development) and Johan Holm (Solution Manager SAP Ariba). In addition to me there were 3 participants from the French, the Belgium and the Swedish User groups. We spent most of our time on Questions and answers, and in between they showed us some slides and demos.
The plan for Procurement in SAP is a joint roadmap between S/4 Hana and Ariba. We can do the whole procurement process in S/4 Hana in the next version or we can choose to integrate functionality from Ariba within the process (S/4 Hana + Ariba) . The integration of Ariba in S/4 Hana is native and seamless and is found as tiles in the S/4 Hana launchpad.
Ariba offers ‘Guided buying’ as an integrated tile in the S/4 Hana launchpad (delivery Q2 2018).
It will be possible to have the whole R2P process in S/4 Hana in ver. 1809, except Guided buying. Next version will offer the possibility to replicate ECC contracts to Ariba for use in the Guided Buying process.
The Service Hierarchy is available in Ariba from April 2018, in addition to Limit PO and ‘Hide price’ functionality. Sourcelist/Inforecord is currently not available. Neither is possibility to add ‘standard texts’ (SO10) in PO’s from Ariba. Validation of bank data and address data will be delivered in Q2.
Chat functionality will be available both for vendors and buyers in Ariba : ‘Collaborate Requisitioning’. Will offer Skype and SMS functionality, but will not be supported from ‘Guided buying’. In S/4 Hana we will have the Copilot chat functionality. Supplier data from Ariba can now be sent to SAP MDG. The vendors answers to mandatory questions in the onboarding process in Ariba Network is mapped to Vendor master fields. There is a bidirectional sync between vendors in Ariba and SAP.
The most exciting news is the introduction of an AI tool for freetext items. Preferred Vendors will be recommended for the purchaser, using Machine learning and text recognition. ‘Intuitive recommendation for additional buying’ is a thing we will see in Ariba the next two years. Also a sourcing interface using Leonardo, AI, chatbot, etc. AI will be useful in work with contracts. First delivery will be in Q3.
The User group participants from Belgium and France pointed out that Ariba is not as easy as it is promoted to be. It was a hazzle to set up the technical integrations and the vendors thinks it is difficult to fill all the mandatory questions when they onboard the Ariba network. The user interface in Ariba Network is not good and Johan told us this is under improvement. They are creating a new Supplier portal in front of Ariba Network with a ‘LinkedIn’ look&feel. Here it will be possible to add supporting documentation, etc. The Ariba Network still has a low number of vendors onboarded in Norway and the other Nordic countries.
In S/4 Hana both ME57 , ME21N and ME41 is replaced by Fiori enabled screens. The RFQ functionality has been improved : user can now send the same RFQ doc to all bidders instead of creating one document to each. Still the user needs to manually type in the bid responses. In SRM the bid responses can be loaded into the system automatically, which is a big advantage and something we will loose in S/4 Hana. ME59/Auto PO functionality will be like it is. In general there is not a lot of new and exciting functionality in the purchasing applications in S/4 Hana. These applications are usually just a conversion of the screens from SAPGUI to Fiori with some simplifications. I asked SAP in an internal ‘Procurement Roadmap workshop’ why there are so few changes/improvements in this area. The reply was that the core procurement processes is as they always have been and they didn’t see any point in doing changes here.
SAP stated that SRM is still planned to have a ‘sunset’ in the end of 2025, together with SRM-MDM (the catalog) and SRM SUS. There will be no replacement of the catalog or a vendor portal in S/4 Hana. This functionality will be available in Ariba.
The Supplier evaluation will disappear with SRM, but we will find a copy of the purchasing related part in S/4 Hana. S/4 Hana offers a Supplier evaluation functionality with Realtime evaluation of ‘hard facts’ (prices, quality, inspection lots, etc) from ver. 1709. The module have a ‘Soft fact’ part as well with questionnaire’s to internal employees for evaluation of the vendors’ deliveries. Supplier Management in Ariba is so far not integrated with S/4 Hana
Christine showed us a slide with the different scenarios of S/4 Hana and Ariba for the future of procurement and this is something we need to look into when we are ready for the S/4 Hana journey. Johan (from Ariba) told me that if we do the sourcing process starting from Network orders or Work orders, then we should do the whole process in S/4 Hana and forget Ariba for sourcing.
SRM Customer Connection will still continue to give customers possibility to influence SRM functionality, but in my opinion we should rather spend time on influencing the S/4 Hana functionality. Currently there are a lot of good functionality in SRM which is not available either in S/4 Hana or Ariba.
Our goal must be to fight for retaining important functionality from SRM in future versions of S/4 Hana.
There was a question about how we can get info about the new functionality delivered in S/4 Hana and Ariba. The answer is the updated Roadmaps delivered every quarter. Ariba has monthly releases. They also recommend to read the S/4 Hana simplification document. Links to documents are found below.
Links to important info:
The slides attached and the transform procurement whitepaper, which explains the strategy of Ariba and S/4. https://www.sap.com/documents/2017/05/c6230025-ba7c-0010-82c7-eda71af511fa.html
SAP Roadmaps: (Link will remain and is updated frequently)
S/4HANA Sourcing and Procurement: https://www.sap.com/products/roadmaps.html?search=Sourcing&sort=title_asc#pdf-asset=42aac0c6-c37c-0010-82c7-eda71af511fa&page=1
S/4HANA Cloud: https://www.sap.com/products/roadmaps.html?search=S%2F4HANA&sort=title_asc#pdf-asset=d6cd955d-c37c-0010-82c7-eda71af511fa&page=1 (is updated with each quarter, Sourcing and Procurement included as first LOB)
What’s new in S/4HANA with each release:
«Feature scope» for 1709
A short summary by T G Vermedal, Principal Analyst Information Technology Architecture, Equinor