In our P2P travels over the years, we’ve identified 3 common (and distinctive) approaches to enable/integrate suppliers in a P2P environment. These present various pros and cons, and generally speaking, it’s important to take an approach that leverages all 3 models based on supplier size and sophistication.
These 3 approaches are:
P2P supplier portal – this gives suppliers a self-sufficient way to manage their catalogs, receive purchase orders, and invoice notifications. However, some customers may (at least initially) decide to continue with their traditional ERP integrations and postpone enabling the supplier portal. Business unit, geographical region, or supplier type can also restrict portal use. This is usually not a “big bang” approach, but is often rolled out in stages, tied to regions, languages, etc.
Direct supplier integration – via EDI or XML. This approach usually means maintenance work for customers. But, for customers already comfortable with working this way, it can be a successful approach. Levels of direct integration can vary depending on approach, format and the level of validation occurring before information hits a buyer system.
Email or paper – for suppliers that don't want to adopt more complicated options, low-tech choices are still possible.
No doubt, other models exist as well. The “virtual printer” approach is sort of a hybrid between email/paper and direct supplier integration based on the level of information extracted from the source system data and/or PDF. It’s popular with e-invoicing providers. Transcepta, Basware and Tradeshift, among others, all have their specific variations of this additional model.
Stay tuned as we continue highlight many of the key observations and recommendations from Spend Matters white paper, Cloud P2P Deployment: A How-To Guide to SAP and ERP Integration with eProcurement and Beyond (free download). Authored by Xavier Olivera, director of P2P research, Jason Busch, founder and managing director, and Thomas Kase, vice president of research, this is the kitchen sink white paper of SAP/ERP and cloud P2P integration. Be prepared to drink from the fire hose!