SAP Partner
01.28.2021

Top 3 In-Demand SAP Ariba Skills for 2021

By Tyler Watts

Last year I had many a conversation with frustrated Procurement Directors where we discussed the importance now more so than ever of ensuring companies focus on their spend management. That is, how and why companies should be assessing what they are spending their money on, assessing the agreements they have in place with existing suppliers, analysing the performance of these suppliers and ensuring that there is a mature procurement solution in place to enable an accurate and useful visibility across spend. It’s these metrics of procurement performance that will allow the procurement teams to identify cost-savings opportunities moving forwards.

The fall out of this stalling of projects moving forwards in 2020 was an increase of highly skilled SAP Ariba Consultants, Managers and Architects entering into the jobs market coinciding with a significant fall in vacancies for these skills. As such the expectations of Hiring Managers has gone up in line with the daily rates/salaries for roles coming down. Here at bluewaveSELECT we saw an increase in available SAP Ariba Consultants rise by 47% from 2019 whilst available jobs fell 68% from 2019.

  • 2020: More consultants seeking work + less vacancies = greater expectations and lower rates/salaries

The above formula clearly indicates we’re now operating in what we term a Buyers-Market. In essence, due to an uneven ratio of consultants to jobs, companies can demand a greater level of experience and pay less for it. In the short term this can be seen as a big win for teams wanting to take advantage and save on budgets for resource costing. However, my fear is that long term this ‘may’ result in a fairly big number of consultants moving on sooner than anticipated to opportunities that can offer a significantly higher rate of pay in line with skill set level – and this is a point I mention to my own clients when consulting with them. In the majority of instances I hope this doesn’t happen, but it is a risk worth noting.

All sounds pretty depressing right?! Well the good news is that it’s always darkest before it’s dawn… and if the first 3 weeks of 2021 are anything to go by, we can expect to see the figures reverse again as the months go on and confidence in the market slowly returns.

  • 2021: More consultants finding jobs + more hiring needs = healthier and happier SAP Ariba market

And now to the point of this article…

What predictions do I have for the top 3 SAP Ariba skills in demand across the market this year? I’ll preface my prediction by saying this has been formed from hours and hours of conversations with SAP Ariba Project Owners and Transformation Directors across the SAP Procurement space and reflected in the consistency of inclusion in requirements I get requested to source for our clients:

The Top Three In Demand SAP Ariba Skills for 2021:

3. Supply Chain Collaboration

In third place and maybe the most confusing SAP Ariba skill to many is Supply Chain Collaboration (SAP Ariba SCC). What is it? SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration brings together SAP’s supply chain expertise and SAP Ariba’s network of buyers and suppliers to digitize direct materials and supply chain collaboration (achieve complete supply chain visibility). SAP Ariba SCC is a late entry into the Top 3 but I’m including it based on the increase in direct end users I am working with requesting Consultants with experience in this specific area. As a distinguisher amongst a very competitive field currently, one of the skills that will set you apart is this.

2. CIG for integration with MDG

Ever growing is the number of companies migrating their SAP landscape into the cloud. We’re talking SAP S/4 HANA. And with that naturally comes the move to a digital procurement solution, namely SAP Ariba. Especially with the finite time period for which SRM will be supported… there will inevitably be many more companies opting to implement SAP Ariba. And as we know, a major headache for any move into the cloud is how master data can be accurately migrated; namely, replicating the data from S/4 HANA to SAP Ariba (P2O business processes) through CIG direct connection. We’ve been successful this year placing two consultants into roles geared around this type of work and have more open requirements live now and planned for the near future. If you can get experience or certification in this area you’ll be well placed to command a higher rate for sure.

1. Upstream Modules (specifically SLP)

3 out of every 4 SAP Ariba Functional Consulting roles I receive today are for skills in SAP Ariba Sourcing, Contracts Management and Supplier Lifecycle Performance. Unsurprisingly too, as Strategic Sourcing and Supplier Lifecycle Performance lend themselves directly to the frustrations of procurement directors which I mentioned at the start of this article. Globally organisations want to get a better grasp on their spend and ability to better source the best suppliers, negotiate with them for the best deals and accurately assess their performance. Project teams seem to have P2P covered and consultancies are downstream-heavy in their capabilities, and my prediction is that those with significant expertise across SAP Ariba Sourcing, SAP Ariba Contracts Management and SAP Ariba SLP (in particular) will be in increasingly high demand as the year progresses.

Why make bluewaveSELECT your SAP Ariba Partner of choice?

As many of you will know I run the SAP Ariba Delivery Desk here at bluewaveSELECT and already this year we have been able to help more SAP Ariba Consultants find long term roles on some exciting projects vs January 2020. There has been very positive news coming from many of the consultancies we work with across The UK and Europe who aim to grow their SAP Ariba Functions throughout Q1 and Q2 and it’s really encouraging to see that many of the project teams I spoke with last year who had to pause their projects have been able to get the green light to move forwards on them this year.

As a team we’ve been able to bring on board some new direct clients embarking on long term SAP Ariba projects which is exciting news for us, and I’m particularly excited about helping some truly great SAP Ariba experts, for whom I have built great relationships with through the tough times last year, find genuinely interesting and challenging projects to work on. Unequivocally this is my favourite part of the job!

It’s no secret that the SAP Ariba world can seem a rather small circle at times, and it’s been nice to get to know a lot of you a lot better (both personally and professionally) last year. If you’re reading this and we aren’t particularly well acquainted then I’d welcome the chance to organise some time to speak. Call me dorky but I’ll jump at any opportunity to discuss the SAP Ariba landscape, impart information on the market that I have, and learn something from you too!

Call me or drop me a message and let’s say hello

+44(0)1423559559, +44(0)7738566539, tyler@bluewaveselect.com (or add me on LinkedIn). As the SAP Ariba Live conference in Berlin was cancelled last year I unfortunately missed the opportunity to meet a lot of you face to face… that said, we now all know how to use Zoom so virtual coffees are welcome too (you have to supply your own biscuits).

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