We are happy you have used digital channels already several times in 2020 to find out more about BeNeering’s services and solutions and thank you for your interest.

Below you will find the questions of attendees during our webinars “Real-Time Procurement for SAP ERP & S/4HANA” and our respective answers.

New questions within our Webinar in course of the Digital Week on 01.02.2021:

  • Which interfaces are used for the integration into SAP

Answer: Via our add-on “BeNeering Cloud Adapter” which is certified by SAP. This add-on must be installed on SAP ECC or SAP S/4HANA.

  • Which user licenses are necessary for the BANF creation ?

Answer: If user licenses are available in SAP, then these can also be used in the cloud scenario. If a user does not have SAP licenses, then SAP calculates here with indirect use, as with other external purchasing solutions.

  • Does BeNeering plan to connect to other systems outside of SAP Ariba, such as Onventis?

Answer: We are also in discussions with other partners.

  • What does the sourcing process look like? Can public tenders also be made via your system or can existing software from another company be connected for the subject of tenders and awards?

Answer: Public tenders above a certain value limit (e.g. > 100.000 €) can be handled via an external platform. BeNeering Simple-Sourcing can integrate this process for the user either manually or automatically.

  • Have you already worked with an interface to an eProcurement solution (public tenders as well as requests for quotation)? 

Answer: As of today, we have interfaces to Ariba Sourcing and PSG (Procurement Services GmbH) can also accept the offers posted there.

  • Decentralized procurement: after successful approval, is the BANF converted into a purchase order within SAP and sent off? Or is a purchase order sent from Beneering and again an order document generated in the backend?

Answer: our customers’ SAP system can automatically convert the approved SAP BANF into an SAP purchase order based on defined criteria and send it to suppliers, even without the BeNeering Cloud.

  • Can the cloud solution also be operated in a (BSI-certified) data center? In my case, a public law data center?

Answer: No. The BeNeering Cloud is set up as a highly available system and also allows very flexible customization for our customers.

  • Is billing based on procurement volume and not on the number of employees with licenses? 

Answer: Our licensing model consists of one-time registration and annual subscription fees and is billed by modules and their usage and data inventory, not by procurement volume.

  • Is there also a way to request quotes through your platform? So do you also have a solution for a procurement management tool against the background of the SAP-SRM replacement?

Answer: Yes, with Simple-Sourcing on the BeNeering Cloud we offer a modern alternative for the bidding engine to be replaced with SAP SRM.

  • Is the account assignment data created independently in BeNeering or is it automatically synchronized and updated with the SAP data?

Answer: Neither. BeNeering Cloud has direct access to the account assignment data in the SAP customer system. Replication or keeping duplicates in the cloud is not necessary. The real-time connection to SAP works via the SAP certified add-on “BeNeering Cloud Adapter”.

  • How are the orders transferred to the suppliers?

Answer: Purchase orders can be transferred directly from SAP to suppliers via email or IDOC. As a new option, we also offer to send the orders via IDOC through the BeNeering Cloud.

  • Are material master records found in addition to material groups?

Answer: With the BeNeering Cloud Adapter, we provide the option of replicating SAP material master data (including purchasing info record and contract data, if applicable) in the cloud search engine. Thus, BeNeering Cloud’s Guided Buying supports the user in searching for SAP material, catalog items, material groups and marketplace items without system interruption.

  • If an item is found in multiple catalogs or from multiple suppliers, how is supplier selection done?

Answer: If we switch on the best-price logic for these suppliers, then the user automatically gets the cheaper article suggested.

  • Are services in connection with sample service specifications in combination with limits possible?

Answer: Yes, we configure the service process via the “Dynamic Cloud Forms” technology according to our customers’ wishes.

  • Can services with service specifications only be mapped via the forms?

Answer: Service specifications can be replicated from SAP or loaded manually via catalogs. The input masks for service procurement are mapped via Dynamic Cloud Forms.

  • Who decides which offer leads to an order?

Answer: The requester can make a proposal. However, this can be confirmed by approval from Purchasing (or similar) as required.

  • How are services and plant lines ordered? How can I enter the service descriptions?

Answer: Services and plant services are mapped via catalog articles in the search engine. An order for the services is triggered via the linked forms.

  • Do you also support public clients (public procurement law)?

Answer: Public procurement law is currently not fully supported.

  • Are other sourcing interfaces conceivable or already being considered?

Answer: Yes, we are talking to other sourcing platforms and will also integrate other sourcing solutions.

  • Does BeNeering offer a reporting functionality? Or can evaluations of e.g. average shopping cart price only be made via SAP?

Answer: In the standard scenario, SAP is the leading system for purchase requisitions (BANF) and purchase orders. Binding evaluations should be made in SAP.

  • Is it possible to make a purchase via configurable materials?

Answer: Yes, configurable materials can be mapped very well with Dynamic Cloud Forms.

  • What is your experience with approval workflows; from how many euros do companies usually set a value limit (up to where does the trivial limit go)?

Answer: Many companies have a shopping cart approved from 0 EUR. However, there are also the companies where orders can be placed for 600 EUR without approval, depending on the commodity group.

  • Is it possible to approve the requisitions/shopping carts on mobile devices?

Answer: Yes, the front-end of the BeNeering Cloud is built in ‘Responsive Design’ and can also be opened on mobile devices. The approval screens have been additionally adapted once again.

  • Can requests be made to suppliers?

Answer: Yes, requests can be sent to suppliers via Simple Sourcing. Suppliers can post offers via the BeNeering Cloud.

  • Does it make sense to implement your solution in combination with SAP S/4 Central Procurement?

Answer: We focus entirely on the needs of our customers. The multi-backend capability of the BeNeering Cloud also allows operation without “SAP S/4 Central Procurement”.

  • Are different catalogs displayed per search result? How is this displayed?

Answer: All catalogs are displayed within one hit list. Supplier catalogs on marketplaces are displayed in a 2nd hit list.

  • Do the catalog items have to be created in the system’s own master data or how does the material number assignment in BANF work?

Answer: We generally recommend to reconsider the management of an SAP material number. If a material is inventory-managed in the warehouse, it makes sense to create an SAP material master. Without inventory management, an SAP material can be dispensed with in most cases. If required, the BeNeering Cloud Adapter allows the automatic creation/updating of SAP material and EK info records.

  • Is it also possible to call from the BANF?

Answer: BeNeering Cloud Guided Buying can also be called via OCI4 from SAP BANF and SAP Purchase Order.

  • Are marketplaces other than those presented also possible, or are these seen as catalogs? And what about internal catalogs? Can these also be connected?

Answer: Catalogs can be loaded by purchasing (internal) as well as by suppliers (external). External supplier systems and partner systems can also be connected via interfaces, as has been the practice at BeNeering for several years.

  • How is the material group found in the background?

Answer: The material group is determined for a catalog item via a mapping logic (e.g. eClass to SAP material group). For free text orders, material groups can also be suggested via our AI technology based on the order history.

  • If you integrate PM (maintenance) – can you also create requirements directly in a PM_Order, so that there are also commitments (in SRM today only actual costs at GR with account assignment to network or PM_Order,…)?

Answer: Yes, the BeNeering Cloud can update the components in a PM order in real time. The SAP then creates a purchase requisition (BANF) at the same time and the commitments are updated correctly.

  • Can both internal and external catalogs (OCI) be searched simultaneously with the search or do I always have to jump to the other catalog?

Answer: OCI catalogs (punch-out) are indexed in the search engine in most cases. This means that there is no longer a system break for the user, as all articles are sorted in a hit list according to our AI logic.

  • Is the goods receipt/service entry also processed via the interface or is the jump to SAP still necessary for this?

Answer: The goods receipt can be booked with reference to the BANF/order in the cloud interface. Currently, we are additionally working on service entry in both Guided Buying and the Supplier Portal (planned for the end of 2021).

  • Your presentation runs under the title of HANA. But is R3 integration/coupling also possible?

Answer: yes, it doesn’t matter whether we connect an SAP ECC or an S/4HANA system. The underlying SAP NetWeaver stack should not fall below version 740.

  • Does the requisition appear in the worklist only after it has been approved?

Answer: No, the user sees the BANF as soon as it has been parked or sent. The approver sees the requisition as soon as it is available for approval.

Questions from older webinars:

  • What is the advantage of your solution over other procurement platforms?

Answer: Other solutions override the logic in SAP MM and have ‘replicated’ a purchasing system. The problem is that these systems still have to create the SAP purchase order so that a goods receipt and an invoice can be posted in SAP. Accordingly, customers then have a duplicate purchasing solution in the system, namely the chosen platform + SAP MM. This ‘double’ purchasing logic often leads to discrepancies in the entire purchasing process. The BeNeering Cloud, on the other hand, is based on the MM system, which is a major difference, because we work with the logic in MM. If MM reports errors, such as an unsuitable inventory account, for example, a purchase requisition cannot be created. The user sees this error message in the cloud.

  • Can non-SAP ERPs also be connected to your Cloud?

Answer: The BeNeering cloud can also be used as a ‘standalone’ solution. In this case, the cloud works independently, and can be connected to other ERP systems via downstream interfaces.

  • Is the BeNeering solution SAP S/4HANA Cloud Extended certified?

Answer: BeNeering is connected to SAP ECC and S/4HANA systems. Our customers have to install the BeNeering Cloud Adapter on their SAP system. This solution will be certified by SAP in 2021, this is already in progress.

  • Does your solution require SAP Ariba? Or is it possible to conduct tenders/auctions via the BeNeering solution?

Answer: SAP Ariba is not required. Sourcing can also be carried out via the BeNeering Cloud. This process is integrated in our Guided Buying process.

  • During the live demo, a product group had to be selected manually. Is there any logic available that already suggests a reduced number of all product groups based on the short text description?

Answer: We have different ways to map the product group: 1. preset via the search engine, 2. manual selection via selection box (as shown in the demo), 3. manual selection via navigation tree, 4. automatic proposal based on your order history in SAP (this logic is scheduled for implementation in the cloud in Q1 2021).

  • Does supplier onboarding take place via the BeNeering platform, or does it have to be done in SAP?

Answer: Supplier onboarding takes place via the BeNeering Cloud. A standardized onboarding process takes place here. The entire onboarding process, i.e. from first contacting the supplier to the finished active catalog, is supported by the BeNeering support team.

  • After a rejection within the approval process, can the shopping cart be reworked and the process restarted?

Answer: Post-processing of the purchase requisition is possible and is usually supported for both, the requester and the buyer.

  • Can material master data and purchasing info records be edited?

Answer: Material master data and purchasing info records can be updated in SAP ERP via the BeNeering Cloud (Price Adjustment Process).

  • Is access to the BeNeering RFX portal free of charge for suppliers or are there costs involved?

Answer:  There are no costs for suppliers.

  • How is supplier access to the RFX portal controlled? What about a request to non-vendors, how can they submit an offer?

Answer: We have two possible scenarios. Suppliers who receive only a few requests or who receive a request for the first time are sent an e-mail with an encrypted link to the request. This link is valid until the request is closed. Second, suppliers also have the option of registering to the BeNeering Cloud and thus gain access to the supplier portal. Among other things, all the supplier’s requests and offers can be viewed here.

  • Which catalog formats are possible and how are the catalogs maintained? Can the same catalog be edited by the supplier as well as by in-house buyers?

Answer: Our Content Management System is the instrument of choice here. Suppliers and buyers both have the possibility to upload catalogs in different formats by themselves. The validation process is supported by validation rules, so that a constant quality can be guaranteed. The connection of punch-outs (OCI) is also possible without any problems.

  • How quickly can suppliers be connected?

Answer: The time span for onboarding a supplier depends on the supplier itself. Our experience shows that onboarding a supplier takes between 5 days and 8 weeks. This depends on how well the supplier is prepared for the provision of electronic catalogs.

  • Is an article number search possible?

Answer: Of course and article search using a known article number is possible. In addition, other attributes are used to perform a search. If intended, a fuzzy and/or AI search can be activated.

  • Does the cloud user have to a SAP user?

Answer: No. Users can also be authenticated via other 3rd party systems, such as Active Directory.

  • Is it intended to offer an attribute filter, similar to some punch-out catalogs?

Answer: This technology of additional filters or facets is already in use and can be applied individually. However, we do not recommend this, as it puts individual suppliers at a disadvantage.

  • Is it possible to integrate the shopping cart into the S/4HANA for Central Procurement?

Answer: The My Cart scenario of the BeNeering Cloud is connected to the S/4HANA Central Procurement System. Thus the BeNeering Cloud offers a front-end for the Guided Buying Experience in the SAP Procurement Hub.

  • How are articles and article master data maintained and updated?

Answer: Article maintenance takes place via the Content Management System. There are various ways of maintaining articles. From manually to fully automated maintenance, everything is selectable.

  • Who negotiates the prices in the Catalog System?

Answer: The prices in the catalog system are negotiated by the customer’s buyer with the supplier. An exception is the marketplace scenario, where the prices are set by the marketplaces.

  • Does eClass or the processing of characteristics play a role as a systematic search (category or material group)?

Answer: Characteristics in eClass can be considered in a catalog search. However, our recommendation is to dispense with eClass features and thus filters, if not all suppliers in the entire catalog pool can provide eClass features. Otherwise these suppliers will be put at a disadvantage.

  • What is the product data quality, like are safety data sheets accessible throughout?

Answer: The customer decides on the product data quality. In the module “Content Management System” validation rules for a catalog upload are used. This ensures a consistent quality among all suppliers. Here it is also possible to require that safety data sheets must be uploaded by each supplier.

  • How does the preselection of cost center and G/L account come about?

Answer: A standard cost center is given with the login request into the cloud. The G/L account can be derived according to a logic via material group and other indicators.

  • Is the sourcing form out-of-the-box or does it have to be created, e.g. like a smart form?

Answer: We have a standard sourcing wizard, which could not be shown in the webinar due to the short time available. This wizard has its own fields for the sourcing process. A sourcing process can be extended with custom templates and customer fields.

  • Are these RFC calls used by the BeNeering system to communicate with SAP or which transfer technology do you use?

Answer: We use modern web service technology with real-time access to the SAP system.

  • How do you see the document flow and who takes over the service registration?

Answer: The document flow takes place in the SAP system and is displayed in the cloud as you wish. Service registration via the cloud is expected to be available from 2021.

  • Is the service registration displayed/executed in SAP or in your system?

Answer: The goods receipt can be posted in SAP or via the cloud with reference to the purchase requisition. Currently, service registration must still be posted directly in SAP. On our roadmap, the service registration module has a high priority and is expected to be delivered in 2021.

  • Is your solution also applicable for other S2P/P2P solutions, i.e. SMART by GEP?

Answer: Our solution can also be operated as a “standalone” solution, i.e. both the documents and the workflow can also be illustrated directly in the cloud. Document data can be transferred to other S2P/P2P via interfaces.

  • Can (for example) the release of investment requests also be interposed?

Answer: Investment requests can be realized via our Dynamic Forms technology and can be subject to a release at the same time.

  • What prerequisites must be created so that buyer and supplier can communicate in real time?

Answer: We offer a chat function with the Simple Sourcing module. Registered suppliers can communicate with the buyer and/or requester via the supplier portal.

  • Could the approval workflow also take place via the cloud and not via the BANF?

Answer: We already have a workflow in the cloud which could be used for the ERP BANF. It would still have to be evaluated whether such a mixed scenario could be coupled with the logic in the customer system.

  • How many approval levels are possible and where does the system take the users from? SAP HCM? Is the process route fixed or variable?

Answer: Approval levels are not restricted. Approvers can be found via an approval matrix or via the org model, depending on what a customer is using. Our workflow model can be expanded flexibly.

  • How is the own ERP system connected to the BeNeering Cloud – technically?

Answer: We rely on web service technology, in synchronized real-time.

  • How does the inquiry process work? Does the supplier have to log in to the portal to submit an offer?

Answer: We have 2 approaches. Suppliers who receive few requests or who have received a request from a customer for the first time receive an email with an unique link that refers to the request. This link is valid until the request is closed. However, suppliers have the possibility to register on the BeNeering Cloud and thus gain access to the supplier portal. Among other things, all requests and offers can be viewed here.

  • How can suppliers submit/upload their offer?

Answer: In the supplier portal, offers can be submitted via a wizard. Suppliers can also enter additional items and upload attachments. Both, request and quotation, can go through an approval process on the customer side.

  • Does your system also work for production material, such as drawing parts?

Answer: We do not support exploded drawings, but we do support the illustration of parts lists.

  • Is it possible to display the availability of capacities at suppliers when ordering services?

Answer: When developing the service registration, we consider an open enhancement logic, just as with other cloud modules. Thus, the supplier can also be shown the capacities of the SAP system in real time. The service registration is planned for 2021.

  • Is the entire platform only usable for SAP ERP systems?

Answer: The focus is strongly oriented towards SAP ERP. However, we also support the “local scenario” with connection to other ERP systems.

  • Is a connection to AD possible for user control?

Answer: Yes, a connection to the Active Directory for user control is desired. Alternatively, the authorization profiles of existing SAP users can be read out and used in the process.

  • How long does an implementation process take and what is the capacity expenditure?

Answer: The implementation process and capacity expenditure depends very much on the size of the company and the complexity of the processes. As a general rule, smaller customers can expect an implementation period of 4 months. In the case of large corporations, it can even take 8 months until the first go-live.

  • What is the difference to a typical SRM system from a third-party vendor? Is it ‘Guided Buying’? What are the advantages?

Answer: BeNeering’s Real-Time Procurement builds on existing logic in SAP, such as SAP MM and FI/CO. Therefore, no master data such as user, supplier, cost center, PSP element etc. has to be replicated in the cloud. It is therefore a modern user interface that combines the catalog world (web shops) with the requisition in SAP.

  • Are there currently already customers who use this platform for production material?

Answer: Production material is usually planned via an MRP run in ERP. We have customers who obtain the price lists for production material from the cloud. This means that suppliers update EK info records and contracts in ERP via the BeNeering Cloud.