The first article in this series, SAP Ariba Spend Analysis: Helping You Make Informed Decisions, offered an overview of spend management, visibility, and analysis. That included the benefits of SAP Ariba’s Spend Analysis software and how employing that solution can improve your spend management efforts.
This entry will explore some of the challenges to be aware of when implementing and adopting the tool.
Challenges with Spend Management Implementation
The implementation team and organizational resources SAP Ariba offers when you engage in a Spend Analysis subscription generally make implementation straightforward. However, customers can prepare to make the most of the pre-implementation period by completing some tasks required by their resources prior to the engagement.
While the SAP Ariba team’s job is to walk you through these tasks, customers must be prepared to identify their in-scope source systems, including the supporting master data that may exist outside of a transactional source system, as well as the types of transactions considered in scope for aggregation and enrichment. Honest, accurate assessment of customers’ supporting master data for transactions allow the combined team to make meaningful decisions about the strategies employed during enrichment. In order to accomplish these activities in a timely manner, customers should be prepared to have functional and technical representation on the team, to provide contextual data decisions and perform efficient data extract and mapping.
Challenges with Spend Management Adoption
Upon initial implementation of Spend Analysis software, it is not unusual for a company to encounter issues with optimization and user adoption. There are three broad areas where we identify problems: Change Management, Leadership Expectations, and Training.
⁕ Change Management
The change management aspect is fairly common: people are resistant to change and if a solid strategy is not in place to encourage and enable users to adopt that change, many will not. We’ve written about that extensively throughout our various blog series, most notably in the final article in our Pre-Deployment Readiness series, SAP Ariba Pre-Deployment Readiness: Common Threads in Supply Change Transformation.
⁕ Leadership Expectations
Consistent messaging from all levels of leadership that reinforces expectations around use of the new Spend Analysis tool is crucial. Whether the SAP Ariba analysis module is your primary method for report generation, or the enriched data becomes part of a larger overall data lake via export, insisting that the enriched data is consistently refined, refreshed, and used for decision making will do the most for the customers’ return on investment.
Leadership can also reinforce their expectations without explicit messaging by appointing one or more “power users” to function as a resource for complicated efforts, assisting new users in the tool, and overall product evangelization in the sourcing organization. Care must be taken in these appointments to carve out adequate time for these important duties. Oftentimes, CCP Global resources have functioned in this role during the transition to steady-state usage as leadership identified their power user appointees, ensuring that they would not be over utilized in their current role so that the care and keeping of Spend Analysis would not be pushed to a back burner.
CCP Global encourages more user adoption by assembling an entire spend analysis training program. The program combines in-depth training for the aforementioned power users, as well as entry level classes covering navigation and basic ad hoc report creation.
Additionally, recorded training sessions are created to allow ongoing access for new users and those seeking refresher information. Written quick reference guides supplement Ariba product documentation with content specific to the customer and their own configuration.
Tying in training with leadership and power users, the most effective power users not only know the tool, but they also supplement any formal training with their own colleagues to encourage and empower them to do the same. In effect, these power users become ongoing trainers in the “train the trainer” model once steady state is achieved.
Preparation for implementation, as well as care taken to plan for change management, leadership expectations, and robust training are key to the successful use of SAP Ariba Spend Analysis. Ultimately, for companies to realize their maximum return on investment, users must be encouraged and empowered to adopt the tool. A quality consulting team can help a customer plan, execute, and excel in each of these areas.
Why CCP Global? We have more than 20 years of experience supporting our clients' spend management efforts. Visit our SAP Ariba Managed Support page for more information on how we can help you maximize your SAP ROI. For more information on preparing for an SAP or Ariba deployment, check out our series on Pre-Deployment Readiness.