Medium-sized businesses occupy a unique space in the market. Often characterized as having recently undergone periods of significant growth, these teams are quick-thinking, ready to pivot, and therefore, a market force that should not be overlooked.
In addition to their response to growth, medium businesses also share traits in their spending abilities. Medium-sized businesses tend to air on the frugal side when it comes to spending and seek solutions that ensure that no investment goes to waste. They recognize that small solutions won’t meet the needs of their planned growth, but they lack the funds to invest in an enterprise solution, at least right now.
Sound like your business?
If so, you aren’t alone. After working alongside several teams that fit the above description, we came to the realization that just about every team we talked to showed huge potential when it came to taking control of their procurement processes. The only caveat was that solutions with the necessary requirements were designed for enterprises and, consequently, only available at enterprise-grade pricing and enterprise implementation timelines. Alternatively, small business solutions end up causing more problems that need quick band-aid solutions or customizations to overcome.
The Middle-Market Dilemma
In addition to the major price tags, the other significant question that we have come across is, “why would we put money into a solution now, when this investment will soon go to waste when our team is ready to purchase an enterprise-grade offering?” Without a doubt, this thinking presents a valid concern but not one without a solution.
Tools should be invested in for the long term, growing alongside each team while still offering the capabilities required for success today. In theory, purchasing a mid-market solution could be like putting a down payment on your first home. Once the money has been invested, it is not lost. The homeowner continues to benefit by having a place to live in the interim, with the value of the home being held in the asset until they are ready to purchase a larger home. That starter home then becomes a bridge or a gateway to the owner’s dream home.
A Direct Bridge to SAP Ariba
To put this concept into action, our team developed a series of three offerings known as Rapid Vendor Portals to address gaps in mid-market offerings for indirect, direct and services procurement use cases. Each of the Rapid Vendor Portals is available for direct installation into a user’s existing SAP backend. Since the Rapid Vendor Portal is built on SAP’s own platform technology; it becomes an initial investment into SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass. For this reason, any additions that are needed as your team grows can be made using SAP Ariba functionality, a gold-standard in procurement offerings.
In practice, the Vendor Portal connects into the SAP Ariba Network as a logical first step towards gaining some enterprise functionality without a fully-fledged implementation. Effectively, this gives mid-market businesses access to features including SAP Ariba Buying & Invoice Management, SAP Ariba Supplier Risk (and Sustainability) and Dynamic Discounting.
Part of the “beauty” behind this gateway is that unlike the enterprise solution, which takes time to get up and running, this mid-market procurement solution is available for easy deployment. These tools follow a guided process to ensure not only that the solution doesn’t take more than 6-12 weeks to implement, but teams need minimal training to use it based on principles of human-centric design.
Following the standards set in place by SAP procurement, we allow teams to take advantage of both automation and compliance, with the additional option for North American users to leverage Evaluated Receipt Settlement (ERS).
To learn more about our team and our approach to helping the mid-market, we encourage you to browse through our latest whitepaper—link to download available below.