In recent years, many of your customers have likely asked you to use their SAP Ariba supplier portal for order processing. The SAP Ariba network is one of the largest B2B networks with over $3.75 trillion in business commerce and upward of 5.3 million companies.
The benefit for you as a supplier is that you can use it to find new leads and to manage your order process digitally. The downside is that without an integration to your ERP system, processing your orders via the SAP Ariba network in most cases will actually lead to an increase in workload and manual data entry. The reason is that you have to manually log into SAP Ariba to submit documents and often have to fill out data fields twice — once in your own ERP system and once in SAP Ariba.
You can integrate SAP Ariba with your ERP system using:
cXML (commerce eXtensible Markup Language): Suppliers can connect via Ariba cXML, a protocol created by Ariba in 1999 designed for B2B e-commerce
No need for AS2 infrastructure or a VAN (Value-Added-Network)
Integration is possible without an SAP service technician
Allows sending and receiving attachments
Requires middleware to translate cXML to own internal data format
Need know-how and technical capabilities to handle a totally new format
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange): SAP Ariba supports several protocols (AS2, VAN via Inovis) and Formats (EDIFACT, X12, OAGIS) to connect via EDI
No need to configure and learn cXML standard as a supplier
No need to maintain cXML translation middleware
Not possible to set up punch-out catalogues as with cXML
Requires at least SAP Ariba Premier account
No attachments possible when connecting using EDI method
Need to maintain AS2 infrastructure or pay for a VAN
SAP Ariba Cloud Integration Gateway (CIG): CIG is SAP Ariba’s integration add-on that runs on the SAP Cloud Integration Platform, enabling the digital connection to SAP Ariba
Allows easier integration to SAP Ariba in comparison to cXML or EDI setup
Enables self-serve integration testing
Can be integrated with other SAP products
Massively oversized solution if supplier only uses it to connect to SAP Ariba
High total cost of ownership, since suppliers need to buy both SAP CIP and SAP Ariba CIG
Currently only usable for suppliers with SAP as their ERP system
There are a few other methods you might have heard about:
SAP Ariba Add-On for Business Suite (ERP): This add-on will be deprecated in 2023 and will no longer be supported, since it is being replaced by CIG.
APIs: APIs can be used for retrieving and enriching/augmenting data and workflows as a buyer or third-party. They cannot be used to do any order processing as a supplier.
So, is there a simpler solution?
Another solution that lets you establish a digital integration without the hassle of having to maintain multiple connections and manage different standards is the Procuros Integration Hub.
The Procuros Integration Hub is a cloud platform that has digital integrations with most common supplier portals like SAP Ariba, SupplyOn and JAGGAER. It directly integrates with your own ERP system and lets you digitally process documents such as quotes, orders, shipping notes, and invoices without leaving your own ERP system and having to enter data manually in your customers’ supplier portals.
One of the main benefits of the Procuros Integration Hub is that you can use it to connect to all of the supplier portals that you are currently using. The data flow between the portals and your ERP system is streamlined and you only need to establish a single connection to digitally process all documents. Due to a transaction based pricing model the up-front cost are minimal and suppliers only pay for what they actually use.