P2P Systems Connectivity: An Example Exploring Financials, CRM and VMS Integration (Part 1)

For a complete business-driven look at the benefits (and challenges) associated with eProcurement and broader P2P systems integration in a cloud environment, we encourage you to download: Procurement Systems Integration Within the Enterprise: Exploring Integration In The Cloud.

As part of our recent research into P2P systems integration challenges and opportunities, Spend Matters spoke with the solution owners of cloud P2P solutions across different industries to better understand both the technical and business outcomes required (and desired) from the tighter coupling of their transactional buying environments with ERP and third-party business applications. One of the concerns we heard repeatedly in these interviews was the importance of driving financial awareness and visibility. This can empower the business to make the best decisions while enabling centralized oversight and an information advantage to working with partners.

To enable this level of visibility, one organization focused on three primary integrations for frontline buying applications during the initial P2P deployment: financials, customer relationship management and their vendor management
system (VMS). For financials integration, the company has leveraged Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) as its integration framework/codebase. Information is exported via the P2P applications through a web services layer. Today, all non-T&E based spend at this organization flows through a cloud-based P2P solution. The company is using additional integration glue in the form of a third-party spend analytics platform that sits on top of all of its spending, including indirect, services and T&E. Future plans call for additional integration with the organization's contract management environment.

In focusing on P2P integration in its initial systems rollout, the company saw an opportunity to create a single supplier master/vendor master view and record while supporting rapid global growth and expansion into new locations and geographies. It also saw an opportunity to gain better visibility into the balance of trade with key suppliers who are also customers, looking at the total aggregate relationship (including price and other factors) through looking at a combination of spending and various customer activities as represented in P2P, CRM, financials and related applications.

In terms of specific category integration, VMS linkages would prove essential. For companies in the virtual goods industries (financial services, consulting, BPO, etc.), spending on contingent and SOW-based labor represents not only a big input on bottom line performance, but can also impact the top line based on the ability to better serve customers.

To be continued in Part 2 of this post.

If you're curious about P2P systems integration, check out the following Spend Matters Perspective: Procurement Systems Integration Within the Enterprise: Exploring Integration In The Cloud. The research brief is part of the Spend Matters Research Library, a service that offers free access to over fifty Spend Matters papers for qualified procurement and supply chain practitioners.

- Jason Busch

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