1. System Hosting
Firstly, I would like to touch on the method of hosting the application. With the On Premise solution the application can be either hosted by the organisation or by SAP. This option is still available but the market is now moving more towards the ‘On-Demand’ solution which provides a potentially more cost effective and flexible solution where the customer can decide which modules to deploy and how they would like to host the system.
With the ‘On-Demand’ solution you have a choice between Standard and Premium options (where specific functionality is either locked down or available), and in terms of hosting either ‘Public’ or ‘Private’ where you share with other customers or you have your own infrastructure and table space. It is entirely down to the customer and what is best for them.
For the ‘On-Demand’ solution costs are very much structured around specific variables such as length of agreement, # of users, services subscribed to (Sourcing, CLM, Supplier Management).
2. Wave 7 Enhancements
From a naming perspective SAP have now dropped the ‘E’ and the product is simply referred to as SAP Sourcing and SAP Sourcing On-Demand depending upon the deployment mode. That said, the product is very much still based upon the original Frictionless architecture. However, SAP have made a number of enhancements, including a UI update, simplified navigation, and a range of functional updates.
With the latest version, SAP continues to sell three distinct modules. As referred to above, these are Sourcing, CLM (Contract Lifecycle Management) and Supplier Management. However, my understanding is that Sourcing remains the biggest driver of the sales, including project management, RFx and Auction capability. As mentioned also previously, the deployment module is moving more towards an On-Demand service – this offering the option of single or multi-tenant deployment.
In terms of recent enhancements, one feature which I think stands out is the enhanced search feature which allows for global searching across all business documents within the system (projects, sourcing, RFx) – I think a very user friendly feature and one that Category Managers and buyers will like. Also worth mentioning, are new features which enhance usability, including 3 types of dashboards – Sourcing/RFx, contracts and supplier management. Previously, these dashboards had to be configured and built manually.
In addition, users can customise the platform in a much more flexible manner, including saving favourites and searches. I understand that they can now access information on mobile devices also, although I have not seen this demonstrated yet.
Specific SAP Sourcing module enhancements include the ability to create line item formulas from a total cost modelling perspective. Prior to this optimisation was quite basic and was probably done outside the system in Excel. The new cost modelling brings it into line with the capabilities of vendors such as Emptoris, BravoSolutions, CombineNet. Additionally, Wave 7 includes enhanced capabilities for both the import and export of Excel documents for both suppliers and buyers alike.
From an auction perspective, the latest release also includes support for Dutch Auction capabilities as well as greater flexibilities in setting and configuring starting prices. However, I think the biggest advancement is it’s tight integration into SAP ECC, which allows integration workflow and data integration between back end systems and sourcing platform without all the expensive customisations involved.
Additionally, I would check the links below which show some nice videos of the tool being used in anger.