#Supply Chain#Procurement#Technology

SAP: Transforming within procurement

Catherine Sturman
|Jun 3|magazine15 min read

The rise of new apps, cloud services and mobile technologies has transformed the way in which consumers live and work. With increased expectations and need for businesses to adapt against ever-changing market conditions, businesses want information at the click of a button in order to gain insights how to manage spend, strengthen relationships with stakeholders and suppliers, and to look at potential processes to unlock savings.

With a GDP of $2.4trn, Southeast Asia remains the third largest population in the world, and is a significant driver behind a number of digital services. Businesses are looking for services and technologies which enable increased scalability and efficiency, providing significant value for money.

The region has seen an unprecedented rise of small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s). Over 7bn people will be connected to the internet by 2020, granting businesses with the need to uncover new opportunities within procurement, and develop a robust, digitally-savvy workforce which enables technical innovation.

SAP is responsible for developing solutions, applications and services enable business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. The company’s focus is to help customers transform into intelligent enterprises by leveraging the cloud and building a digital business framework. In order to execute this successfully, SAP has had to transform its procurement services.

“We’ve been focusing on adopting cutting edge technologies and solutions, and have been adopting SAP Ariba’s full suite,” explains Regional Procurement COO Lead Deepak Gopalakrishnan.

Procurement 2025

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Our suppliers have been with us for a long time and are trusted partners, bringing innovation and cutting-edge products, technologies and services to our doorstep”


By 2025, it is predicted that the procurement sector will become one of the most significant value creators for businesses worldwide. Consequently, SAP is placing increased focus in this area, safeguarding its future interests and enabling further business opportunities. Whilst procurement has mainly been perceived solely as a traditional governance function, Deepak explains that “SAP Global Procurement Organization has positioned itself as a value enabler,” and focuses on outcomes, rather than solely policies and procedures. SAP now strives to provide long-term sustainable business practices, and drive service value throughout a number of strategic and corporate objectives, communicating these goals to its stakeholders.

“We have a very clear ambition to help our lines of business by becoming a business value enabler,” he says.

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Supplier partnerships

Transparency and the mitigation of potential risks remain key objectives within SAP’s procurement organisation, which extends towards its relationship with its local, regional and global suppliers. “Our suppliers have been with us for a long time and are trusted partners, bringing innovation and cutting-edge products, technologies and services to our doorstep,” comments Deepak.

Increased collaboration through Ariba Business Network will only seek to strengthen these relationships and the development of new products and services. With an understanding of each parties strengths and challenges, SAP is able to deliver value for money through new technological innovations and remain efficient and transparent throughout its procurement services, whilst remaining competitive in the markets in which it operates. 

SAP Ariba

Utilised by over 2.5mn businesses, SAP’s end-to-end solutions enable businesses to successful manage its risk and supplier information through one centralised platform. Clients are able to receive enhanced analytics, incorporating risk alerts, the delivery of supplier and performance management.

“It’s about bringing market knowledge to the table,” Deepak adds. “SAP procurement is helping the lines of business of the company  to run better and how to run simple.”

“The company has always believed in pioneering in areas that it has expertise in. We’ve got a robust organisational structure which helps us drive strategic initiatives as well as operational efficiency.”

With focus on providing increased transparency and credibility, procurement teams will become adaptable to such technological shifts, where it will be essential for the industry to speak with not only suppliers and partners.

Staff development

These changing shifts within procurement will only become successful if SAP continues to house a multi-skilled workforce, with advanced knowledge in a number of business areas. To this effect, it empowers its staff through a number of training and development programs.

Exposing staff to different faces of the business is something highly encouraged within SAP’s procurement organisation. Deepak explains: “Within procurement, we’ve always believed in calling ourselves ONE global team. We give people opportunity in cross-geographical assignments and responsibilities, which help them get maximum exposure.

Adopting a learning culture and gaining a diverse workforce, he stresses, is not just about training, but obtaining the best possible knowledge sources in the market. “We encourage people to have a clear development plan and opt for learning opportunities that are relevant to their work

Unmatched service delivery

SAP continues to improve lives of people in the communities we operate in, and helps businesses run at their best. Supporting businesses in their digital transformation journeys by providing end-to-end solutions which are unmatched in the market, its end-to-end supply chain solutions and exceptional procurement services have led to the delivery of world-class services.

“With the fastest growing database in the world with SAP HANA, we are helping people and businesses transform digitally to intelligent enterprises,” Deepak concludes. “We are redefining the way businesses are engaging with their consumers digitally which is key to our vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives.”

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