As I indicated back in March and again in August, the 5th PMAC / MeRC / ORNEC International Supply Chain Management Symposium is coming up next month in Toronto, Ontario. With keynotes from David C. Swiggum from IBM, Jim Mikell from Everest Group, Kevin Costello from Ariba, and Robert C. Johnson from Purolater as well as talks from Christopher J. Carter from A.T. Kearney, Mark Gallant from Accenture, Jon Hansen from e-Procure, John Keogh from Hewlett-Packard, and Nicholas Selersen from KPMG, this conference is quickly becoming the little conference that could. If you’re in Canada, or the Northern US (or even as far away as Brazil, India, and Australia – just look at the speaker list), I would strongly urge you to check this event out. It’s sad to say, but there aren’t a lot of good Supply Chain / Sourcing / Procurement conferences North of the border, so it’s important to take advantage of the few good ones we have!
The big news this month with Ketera was their recent Connect conference in California, but back in July they put out a good whitepaper on Supplier Catalog Management: Avoiding an Expensive SAP SRM Migration in the context of supplier enablement.
The white-paper starts by noting that SAP SRM customers are in a big dilemma with regards to their current Requisite implementation (which is no longer supported) – either they migrate to CCM, which will in turn require another migration when the customer upgrades to SRM 6.X down the line, or they migrate to MDM Catalog, which is young, buggy, unproven in large deployments, and has a non-trivial cost of migration. However – there is a third option – and that is to migrate to a third party solution. Of course, the solution proposed is Ketera’s Supplier Content Management (KSCM) solution, but the central idea is valuable – why rely on an inefficient and costly solution with a poor migration path when you can instead use an efficient, cost-effective, and extendible third party solution that can meet your needs.
The white-paper also outlines what such a solution should look like. It should be on-demand, streamline the content/catalog development and update process, allow suppliers to easily upload, validate, and manage catalogs and related content using tools they are familiar with (such as MS Excel templates), enable multi-party workflows that bring together suppliers, buyers, and external service providers, and make all catalogs immediately available for use by SAP SRM once they are created.
Furthermore, the solution should support at least two deployment modes: Supplier Managed, Vendor Hosted and Supplier Managed, Client Hosted. In both cases, the supplier provides all the product data and is responsible for keeping it up to date, but in the first case the vendor manages the implementation and IT support and integrates into SAP SRM via punch out while in the second case, the buyer manages the implementation and the buyer’s IT team handles the bulk of support. And, if the supplier or buyer wishes it so, the Vendor should be capable of managing the catalog on behalf of the Supplier.
Now, I know this isn’t as glamorous as the financial supply chain solutions discussed by Jason Busch over on Spend Matters, as innovative as the cost-baslining and modeling solutions I suggested back in a July post, or as appealing to a CFO – but it’s important nonetheless, since the more efficient a procurement professional is, the more time they have to seek out, find, and capture true savings.
When it comes to data migration, there’s no need to be a sap.