Understanding Catalogs

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe the characteristics of a catalog

Explaining Catalog

"Ajay manages catalog content and collaborates with suppliers to develop catalogs for their products and services."

"Marco addresses Ajay’s questions and walks him through the catalog development process."

A catalog is an organized, descriptive list of goods and services available to you as a buyer.

Catalogs are text files stored on a company’s website, that describe the products and services an organization offers and the prices they charge (among other details).

Good catalogs are the key to reduce order errors by enabling quick, repeat purchases using catalog items with approved content.

"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 subscription uploaded by a supplier on the SAP Business Network (formerly known as Ariba Network) and receive regular updates on the catalog items."

Catalogs have multiple features and benefits that allow you to browse them with ease.


  • 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 sourcing and contracts with Ariba buying


  • Security and versioning
  • Fewer errors with requisitions and invoices
  • Stable configuration
  • Frequent purchases
  • Catalog is a solution by itself

Exploring the Attributes of a Catalog

Catalogs are a structured collection of items.


A catalog hierarchy is the set of product categories that you can browse. The catalog hierarchy is a mapping from product categories (the ones users see) to domain-specific commodity codes (used for efficient lookup of the products).


The catalog search results can be displayed as individual catalog items or grouped in categories, depending on the page size and the number of items in the catalogs.

Categories and Subcategories

Catalog items of the same type are grouped together into nested categories and subcategories

Creation of Catalogs

Catalogs can be created for any type of product or service, regardless of pricing or quantity.

Static catalog subscriptions can be directly received from your supplier via the following channels:

  • SAP Business Network subscriptions
    • Catalogs can be downloaded manually or automatically
  • Through download or media (DVD, CD)
  • Using contract subscription
  • Ariba Contract Compliance

Illustration of Catalog Data Flow - Option 1

  1. Supplier creates catalog and submits
  2. Buyer obtains and approves the catalog
  3. Catalog is active

Deactivate a Catalog

Delete a Catalog Subscription


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

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