P2P Shortlists: Creating a Menu for eProcurement and eInvoicing Vendor Dining Options (Part 1)

We're often asked for our views on down and dirty shortlists for various procurement and supply chain technology sectors including eProcurement, electronic invoicing/invoice automation, spend analysis, sourcing, contract management and commodity management technologies. However, it's our fundamental belief that that the concept of a single shortlist (or forced vendor ranking for that matter) is anathema to how individual organizations buy, consume, use, and underuse various technologies, especially in areas like P2P, where the amount of shelfware and underused assets already purchased from providers like SAP, Oracle and Ariba could be saving billions of dollars annually for companies if properly used (and yes, in many cases, the companies should blame themselves for deployments that come up short, rather than the vendors themselves).

One of our most downloaded papers of all time -- superficial as it is, in getting into feature/function nuances of P2P -- is titled A Foundational Look at P2P Technologies. In it, we suggest that no organization's P2P vendor shortlist will or should be the same. Unique organizational requirements (e.g., highly decentralized buying activity, specific high-volume categories, vertical requirements, regulatory/compliance requirements, spend mix) will always contribute to creating a customized set of evaluation criteria. Yet in our experience, most companies considering P2P tend to fall into one of a number of general categories that may suggest a good starting point for vendor consideration.

Our first shortlist is for organizations looking for "compliance now." Companies looking for compliance like it was yesterday (from buyer and supplier standpoints) would do well to check out proven, SaaS-based solutions with the most rapid deployment cycles possible -- or installed solutions with deployment times (including systems integration) of less than 12 weeks. End-to-end capabilities, including at least basic invoice automation, are also helpful. Ariba P2P is a natural choice here, despite the longer deployment cycles than solutions that were developed specifically for the cloud rather than ported from CD-based products. Potential SaaS Ariba P2P customers should also take into consideration the types of integrations they will require with third-party solutions (e.g., multi-ERP, VMS/services procurement, asset management, badging/credentialing), as some earlier Ariba P2P customers have struggled in complex hosted environments requiring significant integration. Still, Ariba should be at the very top of any short list for P2P customers looking for "compliance now."

Coupa is another organization that deserves a spot for organizations wanting to drive broader procurement compliance as quickly as possible. Coupa represents what we would describe as "opinionated software" -- it's not quite like anything else in the market, from its extremely rapid deployment times, ease of use, ability to capture greater amounts of spend than just indirect/catalog purchasing and cloud-native architecture (including real-time benchmarking of key pricing and indirect procurement metrics across all users). Our caution to potential Coupa users is to also consider the breadth and depth of capability in the electronic invoicing/invoice automation area if a broader need for extended P2P capabilities exists directed at AP and treasury (e.g., dynamic discounting, third-party financing).

SAP customers may also wish to consider providers like Hubwoo and IBX/Capgemini for rapid deployments of a hosted, multi-tenant SRM solution, including enabling capabilities such as supplier on-boarding, supplier network connectivity and invoice automation/electronic invoice presentment payment (EIPP).

Curious to learn more about different P2P shortlists? Download: A Foundational Look at P2P Technologies in the research section of our site.

- Jason Busch

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