Journey to intelligent procurement with SAP Ariba
Accenture adopts SAP Ariba’s Guided Buying on SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing SaaS for an improved user experience and increased procurement savings.
Accenture’s global Procurement organization uses SAP® Ariba® solutions to manage more than $4.5 billion of spend every year. The release of SAP Ariba’s Guided Buying capability on SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing software-as-a-service (SaaS) led Accenture’s Procurement and IT organizations on a digital transformation journey to adopt the new capability and to move to a new generation of procurement.
The vastly improved solution enables Accenture users to be faster, more cost-effective and more compliant. This change enables Procurement to drive a more aggressive content enablement strategy, digitize buying approaches and open the door for artificial intelligence (AI)-powered automation. These factors help drive an improved user experience and increased procurement savings. The intuitive solution embeds contract pricing into the buying experience, directing Accenture buyers to contracted prices for an anticipated savings of more than $20 million annually.
"We are transforming procurement into an intelligent portal solution that guides people to the right channels, seamlessly and intelligently."
– KAI NOWOSEL, Accenture Chief Procurement Officer
To deliver the new solution Accenture mobilized a program team from Accenture’s Procurement function, internal IT organization, Accenture Technology, and SAP Ariba. The teams were organized into three work streams—business enablement, technology enablement and change management—working in parallel for six months on the initial go-live followed by a 12-month global deployment to more than 68 countries.
This approach enabled Accenture to successfully deploy SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing in defined waves over a year. The program team leveraged the Accenture SAP Cloud Platform Center of Excellence assets, agile methodology and cloud experience. They made high reuse of SAP Ariba-specific process documents, requirement templates and configurations, enabling them to stand up solutions quickly. And, a global design allowed Accenture to develop and deploy 80 percent of the solution in the first deployment and greatly accelerated subsequent deployments.
“With the deployment of SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing delivered,” says Patricia Miller, Digital Transformation Lead for Accenture’s Procurement Plus function, “Accenture continues its journey by pivoting its foundational deployment toward continued content refinement and enablement and transformation to a new and next-generation of procurement and development of an intelligent platform.”
Key focus areas include:
Accenture continues to grow its product and service catalog and contract content by increasing and enhancing content continuously. One aspect is enabling SAP Ariba Spot Buy, the capability to buy commoditized items directly from such marketplaces as eBay, allowing Accenture to offer a wider array of products and reduce catalog setup and maintenance effort in these categories.
Accenture continues to enhance the Guided Buying capability including a new capability to proactively advise employees on the purchase options of IT accessories when they exchange laptops. Accenture is also exploring collaborative requisition functionality to use with service vendors and continues to improve the user experience overall.
Manual efforts to address procurement-related legal and regulatory requirements were built into the online buying workflow. This shift from offline to online digitized Accenture’s entire scope of procurement operations, reducing manual workload, improving processing turnaround time, while also providing end-to-end transaction transparency and audit traceability.
A more intelligent platform with predictive analytics that is more attuned to end-user needs is a goal. One area in development is the use of predictive analytics to identify and assign the general ledger to requisitions and non-purchase order invoices. Accenture is also evaluating the use of a virtual assistant and ways AI can enable touchless processing through value-added automation.
SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing has transformed the buying process for Accenture employees, enabling users to be faster, more cost-effective and more compliant in their purchasing activities. Buying options, purchasing policy and content navigation are intuitive and integrated into the buying experience and enable Accenture to direct buyers to contracted prices for an anticipated savings of more than $20 million annually.
SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing is one of the first and largest SAP Ariba Guided Buying instance globally. It offers digital value-added services and capabilities and increases contract compliance. Recently, Accenture’s intelligent procurement SAP Ariba solution was selected as a Digital Trailblazer winner of the 2019 SAP Innovation Awards. Accenture continues to leverage new capabilities with an evolving, real-time platform through agile delivery of new capabilities.
Accenture’s Procurement and IT organizations continue to partner with SAP Ariba to inspire and influence its technology road map and are proactively planning for SAP Ariba innovations as they are being developed.
"Embracing a digital mindset and committing to the SAP Ariba platform has positioned Accenture to take advantage of continuous innovation with each new release and apply the New now."
– ELI LAMBERT, Procurement Technology Lead, Accenture Internal IT