You use Ariba® Network solutions to drive big value for your business—greater procurement efficiency, shorter buying cycles, lower processing costs, higher supply savings, and more. Yet strong supplier adoption plays a key role in the results you attain, and that can be tough to achieve. Even the best enablement strategy often fails to engage the long tail: those low-volume, price-sensitive, and small suppliers who lack e-commerce infrastructure.

What you need is a “Light Enablement” option that makes it easy to engage tail spend suppliers. And with the recent introduction of the new Interactive Email – Order feature, that’s exactly what you get. This valuable new addition to SAP Ariba’s suite of supplier enablement methods eliminates the complexity of onboarding suppliers who transact with you on a limited basis. By incorporating it as part of your overall enablement strategy, you gain a powerful resource to help you achieve the goal of 100% supplier adoption. Best of all, the feature is completely free for both you and your suppliers.

How Light Enablement works

With Light Enablement, you use the Interactive Email – Order feature on Ariba Network to send purchase orders to your suppliers. The supplier receives the embedded PO in the email, which includes smart buttons they can click to confirm the order and (once the order is fulfilled) create an invoice. To insure security and provide an audit trail, suppliers are also required to go through a one-time password authorization flow for each order confirmation and invoice they send.

Suppliers can complete everything they need to do via email, which means they don’t have to register on the network, fill out a profile, or pay fees. Yet because the process happens through Ariba Network, orders and invoices are still validated against your requirements and the network’s transaction rules, and reconciliation is almost identical to what you do for fully enabled suppliers. The result? You can effectively manage more of your spend through a single platform, since you no longer have to handle these transactions with a separate, manual process outside the network.

Optimizing enablement: One size does not fit all

Though Light Enablement gives you a great new tool, it should serve as just one component of your overall strategy for adopting suppliers. SAP Ariba offers multiple enablement options to choose from, and the best method to connect with each supplier depends on a range of considerations, including:

  • The frequency, complexity, and volume of transactions you have with the supplier
  • The supplier’s technical sophistication
  • The strategic value the supplier represents to your business

As you can see from the graph below, Light Enablement suits suppliers at the low end of the complexity scale, whereas the full enablement options—including portal/PO-Flip®, file upload, and machine-to-machine or integrated connectivity—make greater sense for more advanced, high-volume, and strategic suppliers. To be fully enabled, suppliers must register on Ariba Network and pay fees once their transactions reach a certain level. Yet only through full enablement can suppliers gain access to the advanced features and services Ariba Network provides, such as customer support, visibility tools, catalogs, marketing and sales opportunities, integration, automated payment, cash management capabilities, and more.
light enablement3.jpg
A range of onboarding options makes it easy to “rightsize” enablement by aligning with each supplier’s characteristics.
Choosing the right enablement approach

If all this sounds daunting, don’t worry: SAP Ariba offers plenty of resources to make things easier. For example, you can outsource enablement by having the Supplier Enablement Services team manage it for you; take advantage of intuitive self-service automation tools to handle the process yourself; or employ a mix of both. Regardless of how you go about it, the following guidelines can help you segment your suppliers based on the way you transact with them:

light enablement table.jpg

A series of simple questions can help you accurately segment your entire supply base for fast, effective enablement.


Find out more

To get additional information about where and when to use Light Enablement—as well as the best ways to optimize your overall Ariba Network enablement strategy—you can:

  • Check out the “Bringing Suppliers to the Network” webinar from our Customer Success webinar series, which includes a Light Enablement demo plus an overview of new innovations that streamline, simplify, and expedite the supplier enablement process
  • Read the Supplier Enablement datasheet
  • Contact your Customer Engagement Executive for additional guidance or to request help in activating the Interactive Email – Order feature

1 Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and all countries in Africa are currently excluded from Light Enablement due to technical limitations.