Procurement is one of the most crucial activities within every organization, and operating an effective and efficient supply chain has a significant impact on your bottom line. Unfortunately, doing so is often easier said than done. Luckily, there’s a solution—a single integrated platform can help transform your supply chain, procurement, and contract process to help you attain higher sourcing savings and manage your spend. And that solution is called SAP Ariba. 

Read on to learn more about what SAP Ariba is, what its features and benefits are, and why you should look for a consultant that’s not merely well-versed in SAP, but specifically in Ariba as well to help you with your next project.

Let’s dive in. 

What is SAP Ariba?

Put simply, SAP Ariba is a cloud-based solution that allows your buyers and suppliers to do business on a single platform. The solution was developed in 1996 by a company called Ariba and was acquired by SAP in 2012. (Thus the new name: SAP Ariba.) 

SAP Ariba’s process areas include SAP Ariba Sourcing, SAP Ariba Discovery, SAP Ariba Buying, SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing, SAP Ariba Contract Management, SAP Ariba Spend Analysis, Ariba Supplier Risk, and SAP Ariba Supplier Lifecycle and Performance.

SAP Ariba integration can improve your overall vendor management system, saving you money on the procurement process and simplifying how you do business in general. SAP Ariba is the only solution that addresses the full sourcing and procure-to-pay process. On top of that, it also has the largest B2B network in the world. The SAP Ariba Network is referred to as the “backbone” of SAP Ariba. It facilities the interaction between purchasing departments or buyers and sellers by allowing you to communicate with your suppliers securely in the cloud. 

The network consists of more than 4 million suppliers and buyers in over 190 countries, and nearly $3 trillion in commerce is exchanged through it annually. That makes it larger than eBay, Alibaba, and Amazon combined in terms of commercial value.

How Does SAP Ariba Work?

SAP Ariba Network offers users a platform similar to other online marketplaces, like Amazon. Businesses and vendors can list their products on Ariba by using the platform’s store functions. SAP Ariba also enables users to manage corresponding catalog features for each product, like master data and price maintenance.

Ariba Network also provides users with role management for procurement functions. SAP Ariba can help organizations create granular compliance guidelines and authorizations to ensure that all purchasing processes align with their internal policies and regulations. Users who leverage SAP Ariba Network for procurement purposes also have tools and reports at their disposal to simplify operations regarding supplier selection.

Users can utilize SAP Ariba’s customizable options to tailor the platform to meet their needs and improve user experience. Ariba users can use filters to hide certain suppliers and categories to streamline purchasing processes. With these features, organizations can make purchasing a breeze. Additionally, SAP Ariba offers full support and integration with SAP S/4HANA.

What Functions Does SAP Ariba Offer?

SAP Ariba offers many functions to help procurement specialists at organizations manage every part of the supply chain and assist in purchasing. Learn more about Ariba’s offerings below.

Supplier Management and Strategic Sourcing

Ariba makes it simple for users to manage important information like supplier data, lifecycles, performance, and risks. SAP Ariba’s Discovery solution handles contact management and tendering and provides detailed spending analyses.

Connect Partners Along a Supply Chain

Organizations can leverage SAP Ariba to connect partners along their supply chains to ensure that there are no interruptions in production.

Optimize Financial Supply Chains

Ariba has features to help users optimize cash flow and manage financial liabilities within their supply chains.

E-Procurement Enables Swift Purchasing

E-procurement assists users and organizations in completing all their electronic purchases in a timely and effective manner.

Seamless Integration With SAP and Third-Party Platforms

SAP Ariba can integrate with SAP S/4HANA and other third-party systems to ensure users have all their data and applications on a single platform.

Benefits of SAP Ariba

SAP Ariba allows organizations to transform spend management with a solution suite integrated into the digital core of SAP S/4HANA. Here are some of the key benefits of SAP Ariba:

  • Simplifies procurement and sourcing process with integration to SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) and other ERP software
  • Provides transparency and scalability into supplier risk, compliance, and sustainability management 
  • As a cloud-based solution, you can access it from anywhere, and setting it up requires lower initial capital costs
  • Customize your supplier onboarding, segmentation, and qualification according to location, category, and business unit
  • Gain access to the Ariba Network with more than 4 million connected companies

Who Is SAP Ariba Suitable For?

SAP Ariba is ideal for medium to large-sized organizations that need help digitizing and simplifying their purchasing and procurement functions. Users can leverage Ariba’s functions to procure direct and indirect materials and assist with purchasing services. SAP Ariba can operate as a stand-alone platform or fully integrate with SAP S/4HANA to give users full flexibility and access to more features available across the SAP ecosystem.

From SAP SRM to Ariba

Many organizations that previously used SAP’s SRM (Supplier Relationship Management) platform with SAP ERP to handle their supplier relationships and business relationships are switching to SAP Ariba in light of the new ERP product generation. Since SAP S/4HANA provides full integration with SAP Ariba and other solutions, the company will discontinue maintenance and updates for SAP SRM in 2025.

SAP Ariba is poised to become the SRM platform’s successor. The company has also given users a tool to seamlessly migrate their data from SAP SRM to Ariba called “Transform SRM.”

SAP Ariba Mobile App Features

SAP has made mobile device access to SAP Ariba solutions a main component of the product’s strategy. The initial iterations of the SAP Ariba mobile apps supported approvals and basic lookups. Currently, The SAP Ariba mobile app supports viewing both previous and current approvals, tracking and requisitions. These mobile apps can run on a variety of devices, like phones and tablets for example.

Users of SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration for Buyers can look at the SAP Ariba Supply Chain via the mobile app. Users can monitor key supply chain procurement documents, such as scheduling agreement purchase orders and other complex PO types supported in SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration for Buyers. These include advanced shipping notifications (ASNs), monitoring the availability of supply and receiving alerts for unconfirmed items as well as order confirmations. The app can help users include full item details. A variety of capabilities including drilldown search and also communication options, allowing users to call or email suppliers to help resolve identified issues in real time.

Work With an SAP Ariba Consultant

It’s fair to say procurement has never been more complicated. As we continue in this new world of uncertainties and unprecedented worldwide economic slowdown, operating an effective and integrated supply chain system remains critical to your company’s success. Making things even trickier is the fact that while SAP Ariba can help you collaborate with your suppliers (and find new ones altogether), getting it to play nicely with the rest of your SAP ecosystem can sometimes be a challenge. Luckily, we’re here to help.

If you’re ready to take on this new world of procurement, Surety Systems has you covered. Our senior-level SAP consulting team has the experience you need with Ariba in particular, as well as with standard SAP business processes as a whole. Not only can we help you transform your procurement process by implementing Ariba in the first place, but our consultants can also ensure successful integrations. Click here to check out how we tackle SAP Ariba integration challenges. 

If you’re ready to get started with SAP Ariba, contact our expert consultants today.