Don’t think me unkind, but those procurement pros who were in Orlando last week and spent all of their time at the ISM conference missed another great procurement event just up the road nestled within SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW / ASUG Conference. And those who left SAPPHIRE early on Wednesday missed a steady stream of customer and partner case studies and/or presentations during the day and a great performance by Sting (hence the extra links in today’s article) at the Amway Arena at night.

(1) Overview

As “friend of the site,” General Gus Pagonis knows well, moving thousands of people and the equipment to support them while keeping everything on a tight schedule is a difficult undertaking. Tremendous credit is due to the SAP team that managed and organized the event. SAPPHIRE was an impressive event that filled the entire Orlando Convention Center bringing together approximately 14,000 members of the SAP ecosystem including customers, partners, influencers, employees, and even competitors. Tens of thousands more joined the event online and watched the presentations virtually (Sidebar: if/when my presentation becomes available to view, I’ll link to it or embed it here).

Now SAPPHIRE has a much broader focus than strictly procurement/supply management so stop before you start comparing it to any other procurement-themed events. I just wanted to share the overall size of the event to provide some context to those who have never attended.

(2) Portfolio Synchronicity

There was a strong showing by the teams that manage the solutions that comprise SAP’s “Procurement Portfolio.” These teams view themselves as the “poster-child for the SAP deployment strategy of on demand, on premise, and on device.” Much in the way that these teams carved out an active, interesting, and very well-defined space within the larger conference, so too have the teams have combined to develop an active, competitive, and defined set of solutions within the larger set of SAP offerings. This is something that did not happen overnight, for what started out as an “SRM” or eProcurement solution with roots dating back to Commerce One a decade ago has evolved via acquisition, partnership, and organic development into a robust solution suite that can check many solution ‘boxes’ – eSourcing, contracts, supplier performance management? Check via the Frictionless acquisition. Supplier Network? Check, via the growing Hubwoo network? Spend Analysis? Check with the Spend Performance Management offering which may be one of the best kept secrets in the sector. On-Demand or On Premise delivery? Check. Supplier Information and Benchmarking? Coming soon via an interesting offering called Supplier InfoNet. There was great synchronicity between the different teams who have become more focused on checking the boxes to cover the entire business process than the teams or legacies behind the different solutions.

(3) Customer Stories

While there was a steady stream of procurement content on each day, on Wednesday, I was able to sit in on and occasionally participate in customer presentations, panel discussions, and roundtables. To give a general flavor of the discourse and avoid sharing too much information, I will share my tweets which capture many of the day’s highlights:

Heinz regards improvement from SRM 5 to SRM 7 as significant, ‘much better UI & functionality’

Heinz, another company seeing real value from a ‘No PO, No Pay’ policy

Heinz 65% of indirect spend currently captured in catalogs

Heinz indirect procurement transformation – high catalog utilization – goal is 80% of indirect

User adoption strategies – J&J: intuitive apps; Barclay’s: change management; Invista: early stakeholder involvement

Invista is telling a great ROI story for sourcing and procurement story

Invista used savings from eSourcing to fund additional technology investments

Barclays driving a harmonization effort to move to one system and one source of truth for sourcing/procurement

J&J utilizing SAP SPM for spend visibility to build roadmap for seamless, automated sourcing process

BASF European team reports its PO process cycle time improvement >50% with SAP SRM / Hubwoo Network combo

BASF transformation of P2P processes driven by the Hubwoo Supplier Network

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