Overviewing Catalogs

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe catalog types and functionality

Catalogs Overview

What are catalogs?

Catalogs are text files stored on a company’s website. Catalogs describe the products and services an organization offers and the prices they charge. End users are able to search for the items or services they need and then purchase them.

"In SAP Ariba Procurement, customers can create catalog subscriptions themselves by uploading static catalogs from suppliers directly into their SAP Ariba Buying solution. Or they can subscribe to a catalog uploaded by a supplier on the SAP Business Network and receive regular updates on the catalog items."

To receive catalogs from the SAP Business Network, customers must have a trading relationship with the supplier. When they load new catalogs to the SAP Business Network in an appropriate format, the catalog will be downloaded into Procurement content on the next Network synchronization event.

Features and Benefits of Catalogs

Catalog Features

  • Intuitive
    • Flexible and multifaceted Browse and Search using free form text or parameters
    • Find, visualize and compare
    • Shopping cart experience
  • Integrated and electronic
    • Comply with business processes and policies
  • Integrate with sourcing and contracts

Benefits of Catalogs

  • Security and versioning
  • Fewer errors with requisitions and invoices
  • Stable Configuration
  • Frequent purchases

SAP Ariba Best Practice:

Customers should drive as much of their discrete, Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) -based purchasing to catalogs as possible. This enforces compliance and reduces maverick buying through non-catalog purchases.

"This course covers the creation and loading catalogs functionality. We will analyze the different types of catalogs that can be used within the application and review their features and benefits."

Types of Catalogs

Catalogs are broadly classified into two main types:

  • Static catalogs
  • PunchOut catalogs

Static Catalogs

Static catalogs are created in two main formats: CIF (Catalog Interchange Format) or cXML (Commerce Extensible Markup Language) format. The items contained within these catalogs are referred to as static catalog items.

  • Static files are maintained and uploaded by suppliers on the SAP Business Network or created and managed by the buying organization. (Static files might be referred to as internal catalogs)

  • The file contains complete information for each SKU (Stock Keeping Unit). Example: part number, price, description, image link, commodity code, etc.

  • Static catalogs allow for these configurable elements:

    • Custom Fields

    • Partial Item

    • Kits

    • Item Rankings and Promoted Items

Static catalog items come from all supplier content files that have been loaded in the SAP Ariba Procurement solution. The catalog types include each item’s description, part number and contracting price. Static catalog items are directly searchable from the SAP Ariba Catalog. Items are added directly to the cart without the need for any extra steps. Static items can be added to favorites and added to the cart in multiples.

Example of a static catalog item displayed in the catalog interface. Clicking on the Short Name takes you to the details screen for this item.

Example of a detailed view of a static catalog item in the catalog interface. Additional product information is provided in the specifications.

BMECat catalogs are also supported by the SAP Ariba Procurement application. This is an XML-based format file used by a majority of German customers. SAP Ariba supports only BMEcat 1.2 XML DTD and requires the Catalog Content Management System to be turned on.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Static Catalogs

Very easy to get up and running (static file upload)No real-time inventory or pricing
Maximum control and audit for contract complianceSupplier management to keep catalogs current
Catalog approval workflowLarge files must be split for network loading
User searches in Ariba interface, gets results and can compare items side-by-side 
Users can create favorites 
Item ranking 

PunchOut Catalogs

Punchout catalog items are hosted on the supplier’s own website where you can select items for purchase. Once the PunchOut session is completed, the selected PunchOut catalog items will appear on your requisition as line items. All PunchOut catalog item searches are performed on the supplier's website. The items hosted in a PunchOut Catalog may be referred to as dynamic items. There are two levels of PunchOut catalogs as follows:

PunchOut Catalog (Level 1)

PunchOut catalogs are represented as a link to a supplier website. Users add items while on the supplier website and then check out, returning the items to the SAP Ariba requisition. Items cannot be added to SAP Ariba favorite groups.

PunchOut Catalog (Level 2)

PunchOut items appear within the SAP Ariba Catalog. To add the item to the cart, users PunchOut to the supplier website directly to a specific item, one at a time. Items can be configured on the supplier site. Items are added one at a time to the cart.

This is how a PunchOut catalog item is displayed in the Catalog interface by drilling down to the category, or getting a search result.

Suppliers must be registered on the SAP Business Network in order to establish PunchOut items.

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