Everything You Thought You Knew About Taulia and Tungsten is Wrong Jason Busch and David Gustin - January 16, 2015 2:45 AM | Categories: Accounts Payable, Industry Analysts, Invoicing, Trade Financing, Vendor Snapshots | Tags: L1, Sourcing and Categories A bunch of folks on the Spend Matters analyst team have collectively spent thousands of hours in the past year digging into the intersection of receivables financing, payables financing and purchase-to-pay (P2P). We’ve explored vendors from all sides, including Taulia and Tungsten. But it amazes us when we talk to potential customers, partners and even competitors in the e-invoicing and invoice discounting market how much misinformation there is. Unlike e-procurement, accounts payable automation, e-sourcing, contract management and other areas of related procurement and finance technologies, the vast majority of those on the periphery – and even on the inside – of this market haven’t got a clue what really makes these providers tick unless they’ve gotten to know the software and worked with the teams. The amount of misinformation is staggering and does a disservice to both. I’m not going to clear up all the misperceptions in one post. But I’ll take a quick attempt here at dispelling a few myths for each Taulia and Tungsten. Taulia Myth: Taulia excels at evangelizing. Technology is secondary. Reality: Taulia is a technology company that hired some great sales and marketing people. The founders are geeks at the core, and the R&D and product development team is the main focus of the business (besides sales). The entire reason Taulia was able to scale the business so quickly from a customer perspective was because it truly understood SAP systems environments – not to mention accounts payable workflow and automation. It was also able to build an e-invoicing and dynamic discounting capability from an insider perspective knowing exactly how SAP ECC, ReadSoft, OpenText and other SAP and SAP-partner technology worked and fit together within a procurement and A/P tech environment. Myth: Taulia is just for SAP shops. Reality: SAP is where Taulia got started. But it has integrated with just about all the major ERP systems in the market and numerous heterogeneous environments with multiple systems and/or ERP instances. Myth: Taulia is just dynamic discounting. Reality: Taulia has many other capabilities besides dynamic discounting (in fact, a number of its customer are not even using the dynamic discounting capability yet, but rather use Taulia’s onboarding, connectivity, portal and invoicing tools with future plans to roll out discounting). Taulia’s supplier enablement/onboarding, supplier portal, network (connectivity) and e-invoicing capability can all stand on their own (although some are more competitive independently in the market than others). Moreover, Taulia has introduced an offering, TED (Taulia Enhanced Discounting) that is closer to the supply chain finance side of the trade financing equation, using third-party capital to fund early payments with significant support for the onboarding and validation of vendors (e.g., KYC) just like an SCF tool. (For more on trade financing, check out Trade Financing Matters.) Tungsten Myth:. Tungsten has legacy technology and relies on people where software could be used. Reality: Tungsten (in its earlier iteration) never got credit where credit was due. For example, Tungsten continues to invest in the automated supplier enablement capability that it had years ago but so few actually knew about. (The “people” behind the onboarding focused as much on selling suppliers as anything else. Now, with lower or no fees for smaller vendors, automated enablement is becoming even more important for Tungsten to leverage.) In addition, from an e-invoicing connectivity perspective, Tungsten was one of the first vendors to push an “open network” concept, along with Basware. Today, Tungsten has built on these capabilities and layered on additional network analytics (line-level spend analysis based on real-time invoice information) and, of course, added online early payment financing capability funded through its own bank and third-party capital. Myth: Tungsten is only in Europe. Reality: Tungsten grossly under invested in North American sales and marketing before its IPO. But, Tungsten did get a number of very large Fortune 500 clients along the way in cases where it beat out Ariba and others. Tungsten has built on this progress in North America (albeit not with even close to the same velocity as Taulia) with a handful of very large Fortune 500 customer names that would prefer not to have their brands mentioned in press releases or case studies – not to mention other Fortune 500 companies as well. Currently, Tungsten is setting themselves up in North America for material growth based on signed customers. Tungsten already has GE, Siemens, and with other inked business alone, it will have 350,000 suppliers on its network in the next 18 months, doubling what it has today. Myth: Tungsten is riding investor interest in the capital markets and is a slow mover in the market. Reality: Anyone who actually knows the leadership behind Tungsten (and the original team that joined forces to create Tungsten) is deeply aware of the long-view that the founders and management team took when putting the venture together – and continue to take today. In reality, Tungsten is a portfolio play of different, and linked, solutions that will take years to truly get into orbit – but once “sticky” will be hard to rip out. The network analytics solution, which we’ve covered and explored in detail (see related research below), is a good example of building a product and taking a long-view toward value and adoption. It’s also important to note that Tungsten spent many quarters becoming a bank. It is the only electronic network that has a bank and has opted to be regulated as one. Its goal is to bring e-commerce to a conventional marketplace with ease of access and velocity through a portal and click, the same way as eBay does. Changing the mindset of a tech firm to one that is now a bank, attached with spend analytics, early payment, e-invoicing and, through acquisition, A/P automation capability doesn’t happen overnight. It forces you do things differently – and slow down. For further information on both providers (and the actual capability of their solutions), visit Spend Matters PRO: Invoicing and Finance and Procurement Technology. And most important, raise a glass during happy hour this Friday to toast dispelling all the myths in the market about these 2 fast growing competitors. Related ArticlesInvesting in P2P, Trade Financing and Procurement Tech: Where the Smart Money Is 2015: A “Banner Year” for Invoice Discounting 10 Reasons Why 2015 Will be the Year Invoice Discounting Growth Hits an Inflection Point (Part 1) Get the Most Out of Invoice Discounting Programs, Supplier Uptake and SavingsInvoice Discounting Programs and Supplier Uptake: Exploring Behaviors of 3,800 Surveyed Suppliers on the Taulia Network (Part 1) Lessons and Key Takeaways From Taulia’s Customer Conference: Tips, Insights and MoreWhat Really Drives Valuation For Technology Companies These Days?Impressions as Tungsten/OB10 Releases Networked, Invoice-Based Spend AnalyticsTungsten/OB10 Releases Networked, Invoice-Based Spend Analytics: Impressions and ImplicationsTaulia: The Stealth E-Invoicing Provider?Best Practice Tips For Implementing Dynamic Discounting and Other Trade Financing ProgramsWill Trade Financing Bring About More Change to Banks or ERPs? 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