Laying the groundwork for success

The success of your collaborative commerce program depends on supplier participation. Whether or not your suppliers participate depends on the establishment and communication of your Collaborative Commerce Compliance Policy, and the extent to which people in your company are equipped to enforce it. Equipping them well requires attention to four things:

1.  Resources: Key roles and responsibilities

Identify the key individuals involved and the portion of their time that should be dedicated to the program. This table contains an organizational structure that has proven most effective:

Key role

Description / Responsibility

Portion of time


Person who has budget responsibility for the program. 



Decision makers within Procurement, AP, IT, and Training who help establish policy, define business processes, and provide resources.


Supplier enablement lead

Project manager who leads the cross-functional team. If the program grows to greater than 500 sellers, add ½ FTE.


Accounts payable resources

An individual who manages clean-up of the master vendor list and program execution.


IT resource

Someone who has responsibility for system issues and integration testing.


Supply chain manager

Someone who supports messaging to sellers and provides assistance with catalogs and purchase orders.


For more-detailed descriptions of these roles and their responsibilities, click here.


2. Stakeholders

To get and keep stakeholders engaged in the program, hold a meeting with them to discuss your new collaborative commerce solution and its implementation program before you begin the process of getting suppliers up and running on Ariba Network. The goal of the meeting is to make sure there is organization-wide understanding and consensus on:

  • How implementation will help achieve the company’s goals
  • The company’s policy for complying with the program, and ramifications for not doing so
  • Each stakeholder’s role in helping to ensure compliance
  • The key performance indicators that will be used to measure progress

Your customer engagement executive and other SAP Ariba representatives can help you plan your meeting objectives and agenda. (For an example agenda, click here.)


3.  Program cadence

Things change with time: your supply base, the scope of your projects, and a host of other internal and external factors and influences. This is one reason your collaborative commerce initiative is not a short-term project. It’s an ongoing program, and it’s very important we help you develop a sequence of events and a timeline to reach your goals and sustain your results. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • After your initial launch, there should be a rolling go-live process to enable remaining suppliers in waves.
  • Waves should be scheduled weekly or bi-weekly to maintain your momentum.
  • To avoid one wave’s activities overlapping into the next, each wave should be completed as soon as possible.

Download this chart to see a program cadence timeline example.


4.  Communication

The easiest way to jeopardize supplier participation is to deliver conflicting messages. For example, a supplier who receives a notice asking them to join Ariba Network may call to inquire about it. If they reach someone in your organization who says they aren’t familiar with the program or they don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about, the supplier will probably not comply, now or in the future.

Therefore, to ensure program success, you must communicate with your leadership team, employees, peers, and any other internal teams affected by your collaborative commerce initiative. There are three key points that need to be communicated:

  1. We are changing the way we do business
  2. This change is not an exercise or short–term project. This program represents a fundamental change to our business and is not temporary. We will not return to a paper-based process after our Ariba Network deployment.
  3. Every employee and supplier, regardless of role, is expected to understand how they are impacted and do their part to ensure the success of the program.

We’ve put together some messaging templates you can use to inform stakeholders about the launch of your collaborative commerce program and encourage their buy-in. You can download them here.