Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from Shannon Lowe of Verian.
What's the ultimate objective of P2P automation? While greater efficiency, better visibility, and more control are all natural results of automating key P2P processes, the real pay-off is capturing more savings. More savings means better cash flow and higher profits, and that's what every organization wants. So it stands to reason that the ultimate objective of P2P automation is using the automated system to capture the most savings possible.
Most organizations that embark on the P2P automation journey understand this objective, but many still fall well short of reaching their savings goals. This is because it takes much more than just understanding it to make it happen. Achieving maximum savings from P2P automation requires the application of a secret formula known by only the most financially savvy organizations.
If this were a reality show, now is the time the producer would cut away to a string of commercials to heighten the suspense. Since this is a blog, just take a deep breath and pause for a few seconds before reading the next line.
Broad product suite + ongoing partnership = maximum savings
Pretty much any P2P provider can help an organization overcome manual processing or outdated technology by using automation to streamline a few key processes. Automating these processes will result in some limited savings in the most obvious spend categories. While this represents a small victory, it's still far from the finish line.
After the excitement over initial savings dies down comes the point when many organizations get discouraged. They realize that limited P2P solutions are only capable of delivering limited savings and not long-term savings impact. Driving long-term strategic impact requires having the right tools and the right resources to expand spend under management.
Top performing companies know that growing savings is directly tied to a P2P system's ability to capture maximum spending. The first part of the secret formula involves choosing a system that offers a wide breadth of solutions, capable of managing the entire P2P process and gaining control over even the most unique and complex pockets of spend. This type of broad product suite provides the comprehensive design and functionality needed to address all types of spending in one system. Managing more spend in one system delivers better ROI and sets the stage for achieving greater savings.
Choosing a broad P2P solution, however, is still not quite enough to ensure maximum savings. There's still one very important thing missing. The second, and even more critical part of the secret formula is ongoing partnership. Financially savvy organizations find a P2P partner rather than a P2P provider. A partner has skin in the game, and takes the time to become intimately familiar with an organization's business, challenges, and goals, with the sole purpose of enabling greater savings.
The right partner understands that initial system implementation is only the beginning of the long -term process of achieving continually increasing ROI. Ongoing partnership requires goal setting, planning, progress checks, and most importantly, goal attainment. This level of partnership manifests itself in a client care program that not only provides support, but also focuses on education, knowledge transfer, and objective measurement of progress towards an organization's P2P objectives.
Following this secret formula makes all the difference when it comes to capturing and driving savings to the bottom line. Choosing a system that features a broad product suite, backed by an ongoing partnership for expanding spend under management, will pay for itself many times over.