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Drive company participation

Your collaborative commerce program will be successful if you take a methodical approach. That means:

  • Making sure everyone in your organization understands how the company and its suppliers will benefit from the program

  • Identifying key individuals and teams who will help drive participation in the program

  • Helping those individuals and teams to understand their roles and responsibilities

You should also be sure to measure and communicate the program’s progress.

  • Lay the groundwork for success

    Supplier participation is essential to the success of your collaborative commerce program.

    Whether your suppliers participate in the program depends on the establishment and communication of your Collaborative Commerce Compliance Policy, and the extent to which people in your company are equipped to enforce it. Ensuring the latter requires attention to four things:

    1. Resources: Key roles and responsibilities

    2. Stakeholders

    3. Program cadence

    4. Communication

    1.  Resources: Key roles and responsibilities

    Identify the key individuals involved and define the portion of their time they should dedicate to the program. This table contains an organizational structure that has proven most effective:

    Key role Description/Responsibility Portion of time


    The person who has budget responsibility for the program.



    Decision makers within Procurement, AP, IT, and Training who help establish policy, define business processes, and provide resources.


    Supplier enablement lead

    The project manager who leads the cross-functional team. If the program grows to more than 500 sellers, add ½ FTE.


    Accounts payable (AP) resources

    An individual who manages the cleanup of the master vendor list and program execution.


    IT resource

    Someone who is responsible for system issues and integration testing.


    Supply chain manager

    Someone who supports messaging to sellers and assists with catalogs and purchase orders.


    Download PDF for more detailed descriptions of these roles and their responsibilities.

    2. Stakeholders

    To help ensure stakeholders are engaged in the program, hold a meeting with them before you begin the process of onboarding suppliers to Ariba Network. The purpose of the meeting is twofold: to discuss the new collaborative commerce solution and its implementation program, and to confirm organization-wide understanding and consensus on:

    • How implementation will help achieve the company’s goals
    • The company’s policy for complying with the program, and ramifications for not doing so

    • Each stakeholder’s role in helping to ensure compliance

    • The key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to measure progress

    Your customer engagement executive and other SAP Ariba representatives can help you plan your meeting objectives and agenda. (For an example agenda, click here.)

    3.  Program cadence

    Things change over time: your supply base, the scope of your projects, and a host of other internal and external factors and influences. That is one reason your collaborative commerce initiative is not a short-term project but an ongoing program.

    It’s very important that we help you develop a sequence of events and a timeline to reach your goals and sustain your results. Here are some things to keep in mind:

    • After your initial launch, there should be a rolling go-live process to enable remaining suppliers in “waves.”

    • Waves should be scheduled weekly or bi-weekly to maintain momentum.

    • Complete each wave as soon as possible to avoid overlap of wave activities.

    Download this chart to see a program cadence timeline example. 

    4.  Communication

    Delivering conflicting messages is the easiest way to jeopardize supplier participation. For example, a supplier who receives a notice asking them to join Ariba Network may call your organization to inquire about it. If they reach someone who says they aren’t familiar with the program or don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about, the supplier will probably not comply — now or in the future.

    To ensure program success, you must communicate with your leadership team, employees, peers, and any other internal teams affected by your collaborative commerce initiative.

    Communicate these three points:

    1. We are changing the way we do business.

    2. This change is not an exercise or short-term project. The program is a fundamental change to our business. We will not return to a paper-based process after our Ariba Network deployment.

    3. Every employee and supplier, regardless of their role, is expected to understand how they are affected by the program and do their part to ensure the program’s success.

    Internal Change Management

    Inform stakeholders about the launch of your collaborative commerce program and encourage their buy-in.

    Change Management
  • What’s in it for your company?

    People in your organization are more likely to use SAP Ariba solutions when they understand how they and the company can benefit from them. So, try encapsulating those benefits into something like an elevator pitch or mission statement. Use it whenever you talk or write about your SAP Ariba solutions and services.

    A good starting point is to think about why you first engaged SAP Ariba. You probably wanted to save time and money and learned that you could so through greater efficiency, stronger compliance, and better cash and working capital management.

    The table below outlines some of the most common ways that companies can achieve those benefits by using SAP Ariba to automate trading partner transactions and collaboration.

    You want… Using SAP Ariba can help your company…

    Greater process efficiency

    • Understand and manage more of your spending

    • Replace paper invoices with electronic invoices

    • Boost AP team member productivity

    • Minimize invoice errors and exceptions

    • Reduce days needed for invoice approval

    Stronger compliance

    • Minimize unapproved or maverick spending

    • Increase the percent of spend under contract and monitored

    Better cash/working capital management

    • Capture more early-payment discounts

    • Improve days payable outstanding (DPO)

    There may be other reasons you started working with SAP Ariba. Reach out to your customer engagement executive for help exploring and articulating those reasons. Include key colleagues, stakeholders, and leaders in your discussions. Together, you can draft your statement of purpose and start incorporating it into your communications.

  • Measuring and communicating success

    Follow this step-by-step process

    Measuring and communicating the progress and effectiveness of your collaborative commerce initiative are critical to the program’s long-term success. Experience tells us that it’s very important to adhere to a specific series of steps, at least initially, to define and implement your measurement program.

    These six steps are:

    1. Identifying the program’s leaders, users, and other stakeholders, including executive sponsors. If you’re not sure who the sponsors are, answer this question: Who “wrote the check” for the program?

    2. Making sure everyone clearly understands and aligns with the challenges, objectives, and goals that led to the initiative.

    3. Working together to establish KPIs in line with your objectives and goals. While there are many things that can be measured, focus initially on the metrics in the table below. Select the metrics most applicable to your situation.

    4. Defining your current-state baselines.

    5. Implementing incentives to ensure alignment of resource goals and program goals.

    6. Reporting (and reporting, and reporting) your results.

    Objective Metric Best-in-class

    Process efficiency
    (Closely aligned with AP)

    % of addressable spend thatis automated


    % of electronic invoices


    Invoices per FTE


    % of invoice exceptions


    Days to approve invoices


    Touchless invoice processing


    (Closely aligned with Procurement)

    Contract leakage savings


    % of spend under management


    Cash management
    (Closely aligned with Finance/Treasury)

    Discount capture


    Working capital


Customer Success Resources

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