As consumers, we’re accustomed to simple online search and shopping capabilities that allow us to order what we want in minutes or even seconds. And with the introduction of guided buying, that same simplicity and ease of use is now available for business purchases. As a result, any user in your company—especially those casual and functional buyers outside of procurement—can make compliant purchases quickly and efficiently.
How does guided buying work?
The guided buying capability is designed to give all users in your organization a simple, smart, and elegant buying experience in one location: your SAP Ariba procurement system. A single search box lets users search across catalog items—including partial items, forms, and suppliers—as well as all spend contracted through supplier-provided and PunchOut catalogs. Intuitive navigation and a customizable, tile-based landing page rapidly direct users to the right actions and areas, so they no longer need to log in to multiple systems to find the goods and services they want.
But guided buying is more than just a great new UI. It provides context for the buying process with built-in procurement policies, rules, and information, enabling users to make compliant purchases without having to know procurement guidelines first. The system learns from buyers’ behavior over time, so the more your employees use it, the better it can guide them to the right items and suppliers. Guided buying also lets you efficiently set up, manage, and use preferred suppliers across procurement processes, and provides integrated performance management tools that encourage participation from users and suppliers alike.
Transforming buying for your business
In addition to creating a simpler and more satisfying purchasing experience, guided buying offers a host of benefits that drive big value for your business:
- Effortless compliance. Noncompliance among casual and functional buyers occurs primarily due to a lack of awareness about procurement policies. Guided buying immediately warns users of any policy violation during the purchasing process, not after the transaction has concluded. The user can then decide whether to proceed by entering a policy exception or to make another choice. The ease of the guided buying experience carries over into the definition of the policies and reporting, so procurement and individual line-of-business (LoB) owners can now be on the same page as casual and functional buyers. And a handy recommendation engine helps users find suppliers to satisfy three-bids-and-a-buy requirements based on business policies.
- In-context collaboration. Users typically rely on lengthy emails or phone calls to connect with suppliers, procurement administrators, and other procurement users during the purchasing process. But guided buying lets them collaborate online in the context of their procurement need, increasing efficiency and productivity while providing more opportunity for social interaction.
- Automated buying channel guidance. Users often know which supplier they want, but have difficulty finding and onboarding these suppliers. Guided buying enables them to add and submit suppliers for approval within the buying experience. As a result, casual and functional users can easily buy goods and services from preferred suppliers, collaborate with suppliers, and quickly complete transactions. Users also have the opportunity to help enhance supplier performance by providing feedback through the system.
- Extensive scalability. Guided buying readily scales to meet the needs of functional departments, with control tower capabilities that enable decentralized management of policies, categories, and suppliers by budget owners.
- Mobile accessibility. With ease of use and on-the-go efficiency top of mind, guided buying allows users to view and approve requisitions on their mobile devices.
Through these benefits and more, guided buying delivers a true win-win for your organization: users get the consumer-like buying experience they want, increasing their engagement and adoption across all areas of spend. And procurement gains a powerful new tool to optimize spend management, enabling them to keep costs and risks under better control with less effort than before.
Optimizing your guided buying results
To ensure the best results for your guided buying implementation, you’ll want to consider the following:
- Define your target audience—Guided buying is recommended for the casual and functional buyer.
- Determine your objectives to help drive your category approach—Are you focused on reducing spend, simplifying the process, improving the user experience, or capturing spend data? This will help with category prioritization.
- Analyze your spend data—Who’s buying what, and how are they buying it? Identify high-touch transactions that you want to transform to low touch or no touch.
- Note other internal applications your business uses to buy services, facilities, or travel-and-expense reporting—If these areas are outside your span of control, start conversations with those owners early to gain their support for a single user interface approach.
- Review your procurement policies—Identify those that can be used in the smart-policy engine during the buying process.
To learn more about the value guided buying can bring to your business, watch our “Now Live—Introducing Guided Buying” webinar or read the answers to frequently asked questions. To get started with guided buying, reach out to your customer engagement executive, who can walk you through the steps involved.