Better Alternative to SAP Ariba

Alternative to SAP Ariba – Why MeRLIN Could be a Better Choice as your Strategic Sourcing Solution? – A Comparison of SAP Ariba with MeRLIN

Why do you need Procurement Solutions?

As economies begin to transition to the next normal after covid-19 disrupted the business world and continues to challenge supply chain reliability, organizations realize a need to focus on sourcing and procurement functions more than ever. Procurement leaders unanimously agree that streamlining and revival of the procurement function will be the big ask for the coming year or two. For this they need procurement solutions that enable them to collaborate with suppliers in an efficient way, provide them visibility to every part of the procurement process and thus get better control over their supply chains. This definitely is not possible with ERP procurement modules or P2P automation software. They just help you automate the transactional processes in procurement. The major procurement objectives like risk management, supplier relationship management and spend visibility to achieve cost savings are not really covered in these transactional IT systems. That’s where a Strategic Sourcing suite comes in.

A Strategic sourcing suite has an integrated solution enabling organizations to perform strategic planning and analysis of their spend profiles, execute their sourcing strategy and run sourcing events to choose the best-fit suppliers, manage supplier negotiations and contracts. It helps improve supplier relationships by enabling seamless collaboration between buyers and suppliers. A strategic sourcing software allows procurement teams to increase efficiencies, minimize supply risks, and achieve cost savings. 

Now comes the big question, which is the best strategic sourcing software? Doing a simple google search will show SAP Ariba top of the list. In fact, as per IDC report, Ariba maintains the top spot in the procurement applications software market with 25.4% market share. However, the question is ‘Is it necessary that the most widely used solution means that it is the right solution for your business?’. Especially, for emerging businesses and start-ups in the mid-market looking for an affordable and scalable Strategic Sourcing solution, SAP Ariba might not align with their needs and budget. If you are looking for an alternative to SAP Ariba, you have landed in the right place. 

About MeRLIN 

MeRLIN is an integrated strategic procurement solution to manage your direct and indirect procurement needs with Supplier Relationship Management, eSourcing, Contract ManagementRequsition Management, eProcurement and planning augmented by advanced analytics. It helps you simplify your strategic sourcing and procurement processes through extensive automation and enhanced collaboration by bringing together all stakeholders on a single intuitive platform. 

MeRLIN enables digital transformation of your procurement function by clearly understanding spend, identifying sourcing needs, successfully defining and executing sourcing strategies using data driven insights.

MeRLIN vs SAP Ariba – A Comparison of their Capabilities

A comparison of the capabilities of the Strategic Sourcing suites from SAP Ariba and MeRLIN is shown below. 

MeRLIN Vs SAP Ariba - Comparison of Strategic Sourcing Capabilities

A look at the above comparison table tells that capability wise MeRLIN and Ariba don’t differ much except for contract authoring. Both MeRLIN and Ariba offer very strong features for analytics and direct sourcing, and are probably the best among the solutions in the strategic sourcing space. However, MeRLIN outperforms Ariba in areas like advanced sourcing optimization, supplier information management and ease of use. Whereas, Contract authoring and management is one area where Ariba is strong compared to MeRLIN. MeRLIN does not offer Contract Authoring as of now. Also, MeRLIN also does not offer any features for invoicing and payments unlike in Ariba. MeRLIN can be integrated with any ERP for the invoicing and payments processes.  

To sum up, feature wise Ariba offers a lot more other features for procurement management like complete contract lifecycle management, invoice management, payment management, discount management, etc. But, as a Strategic Sourcing suite, MeRLIN offers all that businesses need similar to SAP Ariba, but at a far lower cost. 

Here are the top reasons why we say MeRLIN could be a better Strategic Sourcing solution for your business: 

  1. Better Usability – MeRLIN provides a more intuitive e-commerce like interface compared to SAP Ariba. Features like smart search, catalogues, intuitive dashboards and navigation, configurable forms, a supplier portal, integration with spreadsheets for seamless data entry and bulk uploads for buyers and suppliers, etc improve end users’ experience encouraging user adoption among employees and suppliers. The platform’s guided buying helps end users to request items they are looking for easily as well as drive spend to preferred suppliers to ensure the best value.  Ariba too offers many of the features mentioned here. However, as per many reviews from Ariba users, the UI is quite complex and needs improvement. MeRLIN offers a far more intuitive interface that anybody can start using with little to no training. 
  1. Better Configurability – Unlike SAP systems which are usually very rigid and force you to stick to business processes available in the system, MeRLIN is a completely configurable platform. You can configure workflows and exceptions based on your business needs very easily in MeRLIN. While SAP Ariba offers only limited configurability in areas like eSourcing response templates, MeRLIN offers extensive configurability and is more user-friendly as well. 
  1. Faster Implementation – SAP implementations are usually very complex and time consuming. Implementation time for MeRLIN is far less compared to this and you can get your system up and running in a relatively short time. RheinBrücke’s standardized SCALE methodology for COTS implementations ensures successful implementation of solutions in a short time span by minimizing risk and maximizing predictability with clearly defined deliverables and processes.  
  1. Lower Cost of Ownership – MeRLIN is a far more affordable solution compared to Ariba.  
  1. Change Management and End-user Training – MeRLIN ensures seamless change management using a comprehensive Learning Management platform, RheinBrücke Academy for effective training of end users as well as key users and administrators. It enables end-users to start using the system more effectively and make the most of it. 
  1. Quicker ROI - MeRLIN offers all the features you need to manage the Strategic Sourcing within the Source-to-Procure cycle and provides seamless integrations with any ERP system to serve your end-to-end Source-to-Pay processes. It thus allows you to enjoy the complete benefits of a Strategic Sourcing Solution by enabling improvements in the performance, visibility and usability of sourcing processes at a significantly better cost and provides faster ROI compared to SAP. 


Choosing the right Strategic Sourcing solution is critical especially when with lot of new vendors entering into this space. While choosing the best solution, what leaders need to do is probably keep focus on where it matters to get the best outcome for their business. The bottom-line is the strategic sourcing solution that you choose should be able to adapt to your business needs quickly while offering scalable sourcing and procurement best practices and functionalities that can aid faster and more profitable growth. 

MeRLIN enables businesses to optimise the cost, quality, and performance of the supply chain by zeroing in on suppliers that deliver the best sourcing outcomes. It is suitable for mid to large enterprises and helps them realize sustainable long-term value besides savings and thus helps increase their bottom-line. To know more about MeRLIN contact us


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