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Should more SAP Procurement Consultants be learning to Swim Upstream?

By admin_bluewaveselect


What the market is telling you about where to focus your efforts in 2024.

Did you catch November’s quarterly SAP Ariba release for Q4 2023?

Amongst the nearly 100 new features lies a telling indication as to some possible projects that both new and existing customers may opt for in 2024 when it comes to SAP Ariba upstream solutions. So if you’re an SAP Sourcing and Procurement Consultant, or have a vested interest in growth areas across SAP Ariba then read on…

The majority of new features hinge on how users can expect an improved experience and a reduced need to engage SAP support for managing their own internal systems. And specifically for downstream operations. However, it was the improvements to SAP Ariba Guided Sourcing and the intention to divert more customers to adopt SAP Ariba Guided Sourcing that piqued my interest.

I run our SAP Cloud Procurement desk here at bluewaveSELECT, and am always curious to look ahead and forecast future needs for talent in this space. Over the years many of my clients have explained how they rate SAP Ariba’s capabilities for improving business P2P processes above that of the S2C functionality. Often relying rather on the internal SAP S/4 HANA functionality, especially when referring to direct procurement. But a take away from SAP Ariba’s Q4 2023 release is SAP Ariba’s focus on encouraging customers to migrate to SAP Ariba Guided Sourcing.

Here’s a look at some of the interesting numbers from our internal Y-to-Y analysis across our SAP Ariba Recruitment Desk:

Based on stored data and network interactions between November 2022 and November 2023

This year alone, of the 14 new clients we’ve worked with to help hire strong SAP Ariba consultants for cloud based procurement implementations or migrations, over 50% have opted for full scale SAP Ariba S2P solutions taking advantage of not just downstream functionality but also the likes of SAP Ariba Sourcing, Contracts and SLP+Risk.

And interestingly, of these full S2P proponents, 90% said they still weren’t entirely sure they would get all the sourcing complexity they want despite an agreement to cover their S2C process with SAP Ariba solutions. So clearly there is need for continual improvement. Could the SAP Ariba Guided Sourcing features be a progression in the right direction?

Furthermore still – of the 300+ new SAP Sourcing and Procurement consultants our team has added to the bluewaveSELECT network this year so far, 78% have indicated they are ‘moderately’ or ‘seriously’ interested in up-skilling in SAP Ariba upstream modules in 2024 (predominantly SLP and Supply Chain Collaboration).

So in short, expect to see an uptake in both the number of projects for SAP Ariba Sourcing implementations and migrations, as well as the number of skilled consultants in the market available to enable these solutions. And with the 2027 deadline looming overhead, it’s undeniable SAP S/4 HANA programs will continue to “RISE”… bringing with them plenty of opportunity for companies to transform their digital sourcing and procurement landscape. Whether it’s sticking to the core SAP offering of S/4 Sourcing & Procurement, bolting on an integrated SAP Ariba cloud solution, a hybrid of the two, or even looking at ways to integrate competitor solutions such as Coupa… all signs point to there being an increased need for skills across the market.

Bare also in mind that we haven’t even discussed the topic of SAP Ariba’s interaction with the BTP, the SAP Spend Control Tower and rapid advancements being made within SAP when it comes to generative AI and the likes of Joule and Build Code. It’s certainly going to be exciting, it’s going to be fast paced and if you work in this arena then be excited about the possibilities 2024 may afford you.

How can you can keep on top of specific SAP market insight, trends, events and job opportunities throughout 2024? Our newly launching SAP Network+ will afford you this and many more exclusive priorities as a member. Regardless of whether we are already connected or not, if you would like to be a part of our exclusive SAP Network+ launching before the end of the year (watch this space) then reach out to me now to set up a call!

Furthermore, If you forecast a need for talent in the SAP S/4 Procurement or SAP Ariba space in the near future then also make sure you get in touch to understand how we can support in finding you Consultants at zero additional cost to your existing budget for resources (something we are incredibly proud of – and that existing clients truly value).

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