I am thrilled and genuinely delighted to have played a part in delivering a world record. Having been involved in Procurement Transformations my entire working life, from HSBC back in the late 90’s to Global Automotive’s today, this is a first for me.

Having reflected on our achievement of deploying an integrated, SAP Ariba e-procurement and finance system in just 5 weeks, I thought I would put pen to paper and write a few thoughts on the achievement.

SAP Ariba SNAP is a fantastic solution for SME’s that offers many of the bells and whistles associated with SAP products at an affordable budget. The cost-efficiencies of this product make the benefits-case for an investment a straight-forward and attractive exercise. Supported by an extremely rapid deployment timeline make this a no-brainer for SME’s looking to lock in benefit from a Procurement and Finance Transformation.

Put simply; SAP Ariba SNAP will save you money, a lot of money. No CFO or execlikes to leave money on the tableand if you take the right approach, you will have a very heathy ROI.

The Approach

Ariba Snap has been described as;

‘A key mind-set for Procure-to-Pay, with the key ingredients of Speed-to-Value, adoption through change-management and Supplier Enablement.”

The main principles of the approach were to deliver the solution and scope quickly, with a clean and best practice design andsupported by a common-sense change management plan. This results in a rapid deployment and payback whilst driving user adoption and compliance.

At ES2P we like to challenge ourselves, being considered among the world’s elite in the SAP Ariba ecosystem is nice, however demonstrating it time and time again is for me, rewarding. As an organisation and as people, this drive is what we use for continual self-improvement. We have an objective to try to commoditise an SAP Ariba deployment, continually seeking to enhance our assets in order to make our deployments as painless and rapid as possible.

The World Record

On this basis we set out to not only beat the current world record, but at the same time to deliver a lot more in terms of scope. We didn’t just turn on a system, we designed it, build it, integrated approval flows and the payment process connectingto the hugely powerful Ariba Network. We delivered this impressive solution-scope in just 5 weeks – what an achievement for our team!

ExceleratedS2P’s Ingredients for a world-record implementation

You may be considering the value of a similar digital-change for your own organisation, in which case, the below best-practice guidance we used may be of interest;

A Savvy and committed client – Getronics are a model organisation in how to operate through digital changewhile collaborating with partners; professional, know their stuff, committed and responsive. The Getronics team made this happen and are the real heroes.

Clarity and Purpose– A very common drum beat to hear. However often the message falls short in some way. Take time to explain the benefit levers and how the core team will support the realisation of the benefits through their actions.

Design and decision making – Demonstrating design options in a demo realm brings everything to life. Watching paint dry is as much fun as an excel driven design phase – avoid! Every client and organisation are different in some way, but not so different as you would imagine. Sticking to best practice where possible is a solid design principle which in turn avoids overly complex designs. I still see hugely complex processes that make working outside of a system easier than inside, not to mention an army of support staff required to maintain it. Keep it simple!

Some design decisions particularly those that involve policy (e.g. no PO no pay) take time to consider and make. A Transformation partner will often complain at the length of time taken by clients to make decisions. Try and put in place a design authority who make timely decisions. That said, when considering critical points, take time to understand the implications on your business, your stakeholders and customers.

Resources – The magic wand approach doesn’t happen very often; people make it happen! Plot out carefully what internal resources are required, don’t just settle for “we need 30% of Fred for 5 weeks and 50% of Lisa”. Understand the roles and the activities.

Internal resources need access to decision makers and a finger on the pulse of the organisation – they get things done!

Close links and relationships with the Ariba organisation – Problems come up, it’s life, it’s how you deal with them that matters. In an Ariba context, as soon as an issue appears on a radar, you need to have the connections to find a solution before the issue surfaces. Having the right SAP relationships make the road a smooth one.

SI experience and assets – It’s certainly true at es2p, where we have deployed over 200 Ariba projects, that our experienced is unmatched in the marketplace. However, the most important factor is turning this experience into Assets, which (excuse the pun) accelerates the deployment. A dedicated delivery team goes without saying. Our guys are “le top”.

Final Thoughts

I have only touched the surface on what makes for a successful digital transformation. Other important considerations include; structuring the Business Case, Buying Channels, Operating Model options, Data Strategy etc. perhaps I will cover these in further articles in the future. For now, I hope some people find some benefit in what helped us achieve the fastest SAP Ariba deployment on the planet.

In time I’m sure we and perhaps others will deliver more in a shorter time frame. However, for now, when I look behind it’s nice seeing our footprints in the snow and pure untouched snow when I look forward.