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.
Now we’ll explore some of the challenges in 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 a few tasks prior to the Ariba consulting partner’s start date.
The SAP Ariba partner’s job is to walk you through these tasks. However, the customer must be prepared to identify their in-scope source systems. That includes the supporting master data that may exist outside of a transactional source system, as well as the types of transactions necessary for aggregation and enrichment.
An honest, accurate assessment of customers’ supporting master data for transactions allows the combined team to make meaningful decisions about the strategies employed during enrichment. 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 to 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.
1. Change Management
The change management aspect is 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 in our series: Change Management for SAP Ariba Success. There are tips in that series that will be invaluable for guiding users through this transition.
2. 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 offer customers their highest rate of return on investment.
Leadership can also reinforce their expectations without explicit messaging by appointing one or more “power users” to function as a resource. That may include complicated efforts, assisting new users in the tool, and overall product evangelization in the sourcing organization.
However, when making those appointments it’s to carve out adequate time for the power user to perform these important duties. CCP Global resources often function in this role during the transition to steady-state usage as leadership identified their power user appointees. That ensures that they will not be over utilized in their current role so that the care and keeping of Spend Analysis won’t be pushed to a back burner.
CCP Global encourages maximum user adoption by assembling an entire spend analysis training program. The program combines in-depth training for the 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 share their formal training with their colleagues to encourage and empower them to learn and appreciate the tool as well. 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 taking care 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.
Next in the series: Ariba Spend Analysis: 5 Tips