Supplier Enablement and P2P Roadblocks — Supplier On-Boarding (Part 1)

This is a post of within a broader series looking at supplier enablement and P2P roadblocks. The material is based in part on our recent research paper: A Foundational Look at P2P Technologies. The paper can be downloaded for free via the above link.

The supplier on-boarding process has never gotten enough respect. For far too many organizations, initial on-boarding and the continual maintenance of information becomes a secondary priority. Certainly, within the early days of P2P, supplier enablement was a solutions afterthought. This is what gave rise to specialist providers (and the eventual supplier information management sector) like Aravo that assisted companies with getting suppliers up and running on Ariba and other eProcurement systems. But to this day, supplier enablement is still often a secondary consideration. Done properly, it enables procurement organizations to capture a range of supplier attributes and information in a streamlined manner and to ensure that this information is continuously updated and accurate.

In the supplier on-boarding process, effective procurement and AP organizations usually capture, at minimum, supplier contact details (e.g., name, title, address, etc.), TIN information, banking details and VAT/other tax requirements. They also upload and manage initial catalog and related content. Yet supplier on-boarding is increasingly encompassing additional data enrichment and risk fields including parent/child relationship information, insurance certifications, quality certifications, diversity status, financial stability ratings, etc. Some organizations (e.g., those in a clinical healthcare setting) may even capture supplier information down to the individual/personnel level based on who will be on site. Moreover, companies that do on-boarding effectively put in place systems and processes to keep this data current over time.

Aside from making P2P systems work more effectively by on-boarding more suppliers and bringing more spend under management, the next frontier for supplier enablement is what we believe will be a virtual supplier master that cuts across all previous systems. By integrating information directly into all internal systems of records and serving as a single interface to maintain data currency, the future of supplier enablement is bright -- and broad -- indeed. But in today's environment, there are thousands of companies that still need to get started with the basics just to avoid having P2P implementations come up short of expectations.

Jason Busch

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