At some point or another most of us have made this familiar journey of the “I don’t know that I don’t know” quadrant, moving quickly to “I know that I don’t know”, slowly progressing to “I know and getting familiar/setting up,” finally to “I know without even thinking about it/almost unconsciously.”  That last quadrant is what true process automation looks like in a perfect world, when yoking the full benefits out of any given solution or technology.  For many of us, we don’t know how to get to that last quadrant without a little bit of help, and learning and using a robust technology can be a daunting task.  For our purposes, we’ll focus on strategic sourcing, leveraging Ariba Savings and Pipeline Tracking in conjunction with Sourcing Professional.   Often, many organizations have strategic sourcing programs set up within their procurement department with manual processes for capturing savings and planning sourcing projects.  While the strategic roadmap is in place for sourcing/savings targets, supplier management, and reporting, not all of these tasks may be automated…and the less that is automated, the more time and cost it takes to complete a manual process.  Ariba Savings and Pipeline Tracking solves the other pieces of sourcing automation and supplier management: project planning, savings tracking, and reporting- all automated once set up.  In today’s fast-paced ultra competitive economy, upper management increasingly wants today’s information: yesterday- a familiar feeling for all of us.  In this respect, Ariba Savings and Pipeline Tracking is a very convenient, ingenious tool that gets the job done and alleviates those pesky manual reporting tasks that we sometimes underestimate the importance of automating for maximum efficiency, process savings/cost take-out, and visibility.  Some of my favorite features of Savings and Pipeline Tracking include:


  • A shared plan of upcoming sourcing activities including resource planning/scheduling
  • Shows tracking to savings goals when goals are at risk
  • Historical data automatically captured for help in planning future sourcing initiatives
  • Multi-dimensional breakdown of savings by time period, region, department, supplier, and spend type with configurable allocations by month, year, or user-defined period
  • Streamlines the way savings initiatives are conceived, approved, and executed with validation tolerance for thresholds for variances between totals and line level detail
  • Controlled document access, versioning, publishing, and approvals


     Ohio State University recently shared with us their success of leveraging Savings and Pipeline Tracking with Sourcing Professional.  Previous to implementing Savings and Pipeline Tracking, the Medical Center procurement organization was using custom Sourcing forms and Excel spreadsheets to manage the pipeline and capture savings, which are both manual processes.  Eventually, the process became too cumbersome for comfort, and they realized automation was necessary to speed up time-to-value with Sourcing planning, execution, and savings tracking.  Now deployed for 18 months, OSU is able to report on a rapid basis throughout the entire University, as needed, cutting down 60% of the time from the previous manual, Excel entry process.  Savings tracking forms can be created in as little as 3 minutes and now they have visibility of the money in each project allocated by phase, rather than reporting after the fact.  When projects are completed, monthly reports automatically are sent to relevant stakeholders with tracked savings against savings goals, including drill-down capability, and approvals from the Director.  In short, the category managers have near real-time visibility, as does the Director of Procurement, and upper management from other University departments who can ‘see’ the value of savings derived from the Medical Center sourcing program.  Indeed OSU is leveraging Ariba technology to the fullest as a best-in-class sourcing organization.  Check out the attached OSU Medical Center case study!