Gartner recognises SAP as leader for Procure-to-Pay suites
Alongside the evaluation of SAP, the report defines the P2P market as “integrated solutions with automated workflows to request, procure, receive and pay for goods and services across an enterprise. These solutions are marketed as suitable for processing, at a basic level, all types of spending including indirect goods, direct goods and services P2P suites optimize the purchasing process, resulting in improved financial controls, process compliance, cost savings (or cost avoidance) and mitigated risk." Gartner also states in the report that “growing pressure to reduce spend, drive compliance and improve efficiency continues to propel interest in the P2P suite market."
“The experiences of this past year have put a spotlight on the importance of agility in procurement to manage unexpected disruption SAP is uniquely positioned to respond quickly to changing market conditions and is the only provider that can help businesses manage all categories of spend. With process-level integrations across SAP Ariba solutions, SAP Fieldglass solutions and SAP S/4HANA, we will help our customers become intelligent enterprises and deliver business outcomes that propel growth and innovation during this challenging time,” commented Baber Farooq, senior vice president, Product Strategy, SAP Procurement Solutions.
Earlier in the year, SAP’s P2P solution suite ranked at number one in the 'services focused use case' section of Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for P2P Suites report, scoring 4.32/5. Both SAP Ariba and SAP fieldglass are part of the company's larger intelligent spend and business network portfolio from SAP, which includes SAP S/4HANA® functionality for operational procurement and SAP Concur® solutions.
Will Public Procurement Budgets Increase in 2021?
Procurement is more than just a private enterprise. COVID-19 reminded us that sourcing materials is an essential part of the government’s role. Throughout 2022, tiny departments sourced massive amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, and emergency vaccines and testing kits. Even non-procurement professionals were pulled into the fray, as frantic timelines demanded nothing less.
According to Celeste Frye, co-founder and CEO of Public Works Partners, the crisis brought procurement to the attention of skilled employees who had never considered it. As non-procurement personnel stepped up to help their coworkers, many found that they’d stumbled upon a critical and rewarding job. “Existing public employees have seen the essential nature of the work”, Frye said. “[They’ve] gained some critical skills and possibly [grown] interested in pursuing procurement as a longer-term career”.
Small, Local Suppliers Take Charge
Frye, whose firm helps organisations engage stakeholders and develop long-term procurement strategies, thinks it well worth the effort to open one’s mind to new opportunities. Cooperative contracts, for instance, can help public departments and municipalities save money, time, and effort. By joining together with other towns or cities in the region, public procurement teams aggregate their purchasing power and can drive better deals.
These cooperative contracts have the added benefit of advancing equity. Smaller suppliers that struggle to compete with established firms for government contracts can act as subcontractors, helping big suppliers fulfil bits of the project. Once they get their foot in the door, small, local, and disadvantaged suppliers can then leverage that government relationship to take on additional projects.
Especially as governments start to pay attention to procurement resilience, public procurement departments must expand their requests for proposals (RFPs) to take into account innovative solutions and diverse suppliers. According to Frye, Public Works Partners—a certified female-owned firm—has benefitted from local and state requirements that specify diversity.
Post-Pandemic Funding Swells Procurement Budgets
And the pandemic won’t be the end of it. City governments need to build sustainable energy infrastructure such as solar panels, charging stations, and recycling plants, ensure that masks and medicines are never in short supply, and source new technologies to keep up with cloud and cybersecurity concerns.
Public procurement budgets will likely increase to match demand. As Peter Ware, Partner and Head of Government at Browne Jacobson, explained, “in a non-pandemic world, the [U.K.] government spends on average around £290 billion on outsourced services, goods, and works...anywhere between 10% and 14% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Post-pandemic, city procurement will only increase as national governments provide local divisions with emergency funding.
And in truth, government employees might jump at the opportunity. Frye noted that public procurement could give immediate feedback on new programmes: “[Procurement] is where new laws and policies ‘hit the road’ and are implemented”, she said. “Professionals in these fields get the satisfaction of creating real change and seeing quantifiable outcomes of their work”.