Ariba 2022 Q4 Release: Best Upstream Features

This feature update, the final release of 2022, includes 89 new features. The biggest takeaway for us is in the number of updates and improvements to supplier management in general, making it easier and more intuitive to use. The other big news is SAP Ariba Contracts Integration with Icertis Contract Intelligence, which is also a top pick on our downstream roundup. Here are our picks for the top 8 upstream features of the Ariba 2022 Q4 release.

Configuring Ariba Updates

Many of the Ariba 2022 Q4 release updates require customer configuration. That means your Ariba administrator, whether in-house or as outside support, will need to configure and activate that update. It will not turn on automatically. You can read more about the three types of configurations here.

CCP Global proactively monitors and updates our clients’ Ariba system as part of our robust SAP Ariba Application Managed Support program.

The 8 Best Upstream Feature Updates of the SAP Ariba 2022 Q4 Release

1. Default best practice content for supplier request and registration questionnaires

Product(s): Strategic Sourcing Suite, Supplier Information and Performance Management, Supplier Lifecycle and Performance
ID: SM-31777
Integration: Automatically On

What we like about this feature: This update will look familiar to anyone who previously worked with the old Supplier Information and Performance Management (SIPM)module. It had a standard set of questions that was always available that you could choose to use or not use, and they became the default registration information.

Previously, clients were always surprised that it wasn’t a feature in SLP. In other words, they had to come up with their own custom default questions.

Now SAP is adding default content so you can start creating projects right away from your supplier registration. This will be more like the Ariba best practice contract or sourcing templates where the information, questions and workflows are in already in there. It also includes best practices for integration, so that will also be defaulted into the system.

However, it’s important to note that, while this feature is automatically enabled, it’s only for new customer sites. SAP is not going to turn this on and get rid of existing content for current customers. It will only be available in new site deployments.

2. Default supplier duplicate checks using Tax answers

Product(s): Strategic Sourcing Suite, Supplier Information and Performance Management, Supplier Lifecycle and Performance
ID: SM-33625
Integration: Automatically On

What we like about this feature: We like this so much that we could have made it both the client AND the consultant favorite.

In Ariba SLP the option to check for duplicates was always there, it was limited to only a few key field values.

The supplier request duplicate check currently searches for existing suppliers in your site’s vendor database, by a combination of:

  • Exact match to Dun & Bradstreet ID (D-U-N-S Number).
  • Strict match to the full supplier name.
  • At least a partial match to supplier name followed by a partial or full address match. At least a partial name match must occur before address matching is attempted.
  • If your site uses custom duplicate check, partial matches to answers are also used for custom duplication check. For custom duplicate check, the answer must match starting with the first character. If the answer contains any spaces, each space-separated word or group of characters is matched separately, and each must either fully or partially match starting with the first character.

That means, for example, if a supplier has moved, or perhaps rebranded to use only their initials instead of their full name, the supplier information may not match, especially if a DUNS Number wasn’t required.

With this change, the tax I.D. number becomes part of the validation process, which is great because the tax I.D. number never changes. It also saves time because you don’t need someone to do the manual research to see if it’s actually a duplicate if the fuzzy logic search simply didn’t catch it.

Not only does this simplify the supplier search and validation process, it also helps you keep your vendor master data clean, something that is crucially important for your organization. Clean master data makes your initial integration faster and easier and keeps you from experiencing ongoing challenges in your Ariba system.

3. Additional custom fields for supplier risk data

Product(s): Supplier Risk
ID: ARI-16778
Integration: Automatically On

What we like about this feature: Previously, Ariba has only allowed 15 custom fields in supplier risk. Now they are allowing up to 300 total custom fields across the risk category, which is a huge expansion.

What makes this so useful is that different industries care about different things. For example, a semiconductor manufacturer will care about something different than a company in the oil and gas industry or in retail.

In addition, the custom fields will contribute to the risk exposure score, which allows Ariba to be a much more customizable solution. That’s good news for companies that are looking for a very critical view of supplier risk and are mature enough to know what their risks are and what they mean to them.

We say “mature enough” because they’re going to have to assign risk scores to each of these fields, which allows customers to bring in a lot more risk data.

That makes it more crucial to know what you want to put in there because these are CUSTOM fields and you have to be very targeted toward the information you want.

The challenge we see is in the latter: many companies may not have the maturity to do this with their existing data, but that’s where a knowledgeable consulting partner comes in handy.

4. SAP Ariba Contracts integration with Icertis Contract Intelligence for SAP Ariba solutions

Product(s): Icertis Contract Intelligence platform, Ariba Contracts, Ariba Strategic Sourcing Suite, Ariba connector for Icertis, Source-to-Contract Suite
ID: SC-16239
Integration: Customer Configured

What we like about this feature: The enhanced Icertis/SAP integration of their contracts modules was the big news at last month’s Spend Connect Live conference in Dallas. It’s also one of our picks in our roundup of the Top Downstream Features of the SAP Ariba 2022 Q4 release.

Ariba is introducing this contracts integration with Icertis Contract Intelligence so a client can move from Ariba contracts into the intelligent contract authoring features of Icertis. This allows for a much more comprehensive contract authoring experience.

While this is customer configured, this is a case where you probably need an Ariba service partner to help with the configuration as it can be very complex and many companies may not have the in-house technical knowledge to be able to configure the APIs required for the integration. CCP Global has in-house experts with extensive experience in configuring Icertis both manually and automatically.

5. Prepopulate region, category, and department values from request or registration to process qualification

Product(s): Strategic Sourcing Suite, Supplier Information and Performance Management, Supplier Lifecycle and Performance
ID: SM-30932
Integration: Customer Configured

What we like about this feature: This time-saving enhancement prepopulates commodity, region and department values in the qualification surveys with entries from supplier request or registration.

Before this, if you were creating any other qualification process you had to go back and reselect these values. Now you don’t have to manually select these when you’re doing a qualification, they will pull from the other forms. This is something that was previously available to carry over data from request to registration, but wasn’t possible for the other surveys.

It’s just a convenience because you don’t have to move away to the other forms to see what the values are. This is helpful if you don’t know the values off the top of your head when you’re creating a qualification and will prevent mis-keying data and reduce a manual process step.

6. Default country/region-specific tax ID field data for Tax questions

Product(s): Sourcing, Strategic Sourcing Suite, Supplier Information and Performance Management, Supplier Lifecycle and Performance
ID: SM-34629
Integration: Automatically On

What we like about this feature: This adds standard country and region tax ID data into the tax question. Previously, you had to custom configure the tax matrix associated with the tax question, which meant you had to add in every single countries’ tax validation patterns based on what was allowed within your ERP.

With this improvement, if you want to enter a tax I.D. for France (for example) it will automatically have the validation pattern associated with a French tax I.D. There will also be sample data that will allow for them to know what the validation pattern should be, as well as standardized field mapping.

This ensures that people are not entering incorrect tax identification information for various countries which may cause errors in their ERP or other third-party systems consuming this sdata and if they have specific requirements to their ERP that are different from whatever the standard is they can edit the file, but they don’t have to populate it from scratch.

7. Creating sourcing requests in guided sourcing

Product(s): Sourcing, Strategic Sourcing Suite
ID: SS-29103
Integration: Automatically On

What we like about this feature: The great thing about Guided Sourcing and Guided Buying (which is being further improved in 2023 with Buying 360), is that they create an interface that makes it easy for users who don’t traditionally work in procurement or buying to create requests or, in the case of buying, place orders.

With this update a casual user who may only have access to the guided sourcing interface would be able to also submit sourcing requests, rather than just creating sourcing projects.

8. Make items read-only for event participants in guided sourcing

Product(s): Sourcing, Strategic Sourcing Suite
ID: SSR-4170
Integration: Automatically On

What we like about this feature: Much like the SAP Ariba Q3 Release there are a lot of features in this update associated with guided sourcing improving upon what it can already can do.

This one is nice because it allows you to make certain items read only in Guided Sourcing. The best use of that is if a supplier has already quoted an item to you, you can lock the price down so they can’t change the quoted price later on.

If you think about the fact that guided sourcing is really directed at a less experienced user, you can see how helpful this is because they may not understand that a price can be changed after the fact. This forces that lock-in there so there’s no confusion about pricing and submitted quotes.

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