Kicking Off Tungsten Insights 2015 – Invoicing Scale, Analytics and Financing

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Earlier this morning, Edmund (Edi) Truell, group CEO at Tungsten, kicked off the core of the US edition of Tungsten Insights 2015, the e-invoicing and trade financing provider’s customer conference. Before the first keynote and a quick introduction to the attendees from Rick Hurwitz, CEO of Tungsten Americas, I had the chance to talk to a couple of customers at breakfast, who were interested in global expansion of their supplier connectivity and e-invoicing programs (global appears to be a key theme).

Edi continued the global theme around e-invoicing enablement as the first pillar of Tungsten. As he noted, “The heart of Tungsten Corporation is the e-invoicing network,” and there are currently “1,700 rules” in the network for routing, validation, regulatory compliance, approvals and related areas – of which global enablement is key. Scale is also key – Edi later noted in his talk that, “we processed more last year than PayPal” with only “180,000 suppliers” and “170 buyers.” With plans to enroll 600,000 suppliers in the coming in the coming years – many global – the scale will increase. Edi also named a number of large customers that have come onboard in recent quarters (which we can’t repeat here just yet).

The second Tungsten pillar Edi introduced was the analytics focus of Tungsten (see our previous coverage here and here). He noted that customers can try Tungsten Analytics for a period of time with no long-term commitment – and encouraged the attendees to give it a shot (candidly, he did not have the time to do justice to the nuance of what real-time network-based spend analysis can bring versus traditional methods on a comparative level – and how it is complementary to quarterly, monthly or weekly refreshed internal spend analytics efforts). Regardless, even if it is early going, it’s a nifty component of what Tungsten is up to (and one that Ariba and others will no doubt follow).

The final Tungsten pillar Edi introduced is financing. Here, Edi notes that, “If you are cash rich, you can finance your supply chain [through Tungsten]. But Tungsten bank will always be there for your suppliers.” He provided some humor about the challenge of opting to be regulated as a bank, and only began to hint at some of the advantages it can bring. In past conversations with Tungsten, one of the differentiators the organization believes it brings is the anonymity of the financing approaches (e.g., buyers do not know if a supplier is taking an early payment in exchange for a discount) compared to other models.

Stay tuned for continued coverage from Tungsten Insights 2015 this week. I’ll provide additional analysis around how customers are scaling e-invoicing deployments, some more color behind Tungsten Analytics (i.e., an update) and, of course, what we learn on the financing side as well. I’ll also share some lessons learned (anonymously) from a supplier panel that I'm moderating tomorrow as well. When it comes to supplier and business networks, the supplier voice is often the most under appreciated and fascinating of all!

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