What The End Of SRM Means For SAP Users
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What The End Of SRM Means For SAP Users

Support for SAP SRM expires in 2025. As a result, companies have to re-map their complex purchasing processes, some of which have been built up over many years. The solution: S/4 Hana and SAP Ariba - in combination.

Some processes are not offered in the Digital Core by SAP (S/4 Hana) or only to a limited extent. As a result, IT managers will have to implement their processes with hybrid approaches (on-premise and cloud) in the future. Similar to a hybrid car, two different technologies work in tandem to achieve the best possible results.

In practice, for most business transactions this means that sub-processes must be mapped either in S/4 Digital Core, in the Ariba Cloud or Ariba Network. In “Guided Buying”, for example, the user starts with “Ariba Buying” and enters the process via the Ariba catalogue. The purchase requisition and purchase order are carried out in S/4. Ariba then maps the cooperation with the vendor, while everything related to goods and invoice takes place in S/4. Companies benefit from the strengths of both solutions: S/4 offers immediate insights with real time and dynamic planning and analysis. Ariba offers a comprehensive solution for catalog-, offer-, sales- and invoice management including compliance and tender processing as well as the world’s largest B2B marketplace.

The combination creates a hybrid model that optimally maps purchasing processes with standard SAP functions. In this way, complex processes remain maintainable and companies benefit from the latest releases at all times. Further advantages are real-time monitoring and exception management for quality deviations, consistent traceability and lower inspection costs.

The two sides of the cloud

Many companies want to use S/4 Hana on-premise. The application is exclusively available to customers, just as they are used to in R/3. In addition to full transparency of data and processes, Own Plant Operation offers scope for individual developments. Ariba, on the other hand, comes exclusively from the public cloud. This promises flexibility and connectivity as well as the security that patches and releases are always applied automatically. There is therefore no additional effort required to maintain the infrastructure.

But in contrast to its advantages, the cloud is still a challenge for some IT managers: According to Crisp Research experts, they have concerns about data protection and uncertainties about technological requirements. They also see great challenges in mapping existing applications in the cloud. The SAP environment in particular is full of in-house customizations that have been implemented precisely for customer-specific requirements and often with considerable up-front investment.

IT managers are also striving to return to the SAP standard and thus want to make processes and systems more efficient, conserve resources and free up resources for innovation projects in the long term. This results in reduced maintenance costs and the possibility to react proactively to market requirements.

The Ariba Cloud offers out-of-the-box integration scenarios that companies can use quickly and easily. In addition, the solution has numerous interfaces so that it can be combined with other systems.

As in any transformation process, it is important to secure the support of your users during the change process when converting from SAP SRM to S/4 and Ariba. One challenge in the hybrid procurement model is that users work on two different interfaces. Which processes should be mapped in the current (and future) business situation under S/4 or Ariba is also a question of costs.

This is a complex task for IT departments, which many companies can hardly master on their own. Numerous components have to be taken into account. In order to successfully move into the hybrid future, many companies therefore rely on experienced experts to accompany them on this journey.

E-3 Magazine (German) April 2018

About the author

E. M. Ordóñez del Campo, T-Systems

Elena María Ordóñez del Campo is Senior Vice President SAP Solutions at T-Systems.

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