Tungsten Insights 2015: Key Observations From Day 1

work intermediation platforms

I’ve been at Tungsten Insights 2015 in Atlanta throughout the day (I’m moderating a supplier panel and giving the morning presentation on Thursday) and have been jotting down notes from the formal talks and conversations with various attendees – employees, suppliers and, of course, those from procurement and A/P departments using Tungsten. A few items stand out thus far:

  • Tungsten is brutally honest with itself – where it excels and where it is investing in technology to improve. This is exceptionally refreshing.
  • At its core, Tungsten is still, very much, selling a value proposition on the e-invoicing and connectivity front that may seem simple on the outside but brings significant levels of nuance and complexity to make work, especially at scale. Dismissing such areas as supplier onboarding and document submission/connectivity as simple or as a commodity software/service is to deny the very fundamentals of what it takes to scale programs. The payables and spend devil is entirely in the details!
  • Tungsten customers generally take the long view. They are concerned with program adoption (adding suppliers and volume) over many years. It appears they are in it for the long haul and realize enablement and program scale is a journey – not a quick trip. One customer that spoke has been using Tungsten for 10 years.
  • Tungsten is aware of the A/P plumbing challenges that customers face – these came up in various discussions today – and also that a network-based cloud approach won’t solve all problems. The DocuSphere acquisition appears to be a critical piece of the puzzle to quietly bring more value to existing customers and new ones from an A/P-centric systems, plumbing and process perspective.
  • Tungsten Analytics remains a work in progress with frequent enhancement and refinements, but it is real – and simply cool. I’ll be providing an update on it in the coming weeks on Spend Matters PRO. As a procurement and A/P organization, I would personally sign up for Tungsten just to get this module (or hammer my current providers over the head to build it out). It is a complement to procurement-led spend analysis. Real-time network-based analysis is the future. And I suspect we’ll ultimately see a segment (not all) of Tungsten’s customers ultimately want to join and opt into a SKU-level price benchmarking service.
  • Financing – there has been only limited talk of financing thus far at the event and it does not appear to be the first area customers want to discuss (most are primarily focused on driving enablement – reducing supply chain risk, among other benefits financing can bring, appears secondary). But more on this later.
  • The global challenge (for e-invoicing) is not yet solved. For example, while Tungsten and its peers are moving more aggressively into Latin America (either competing or partnering with Invoiceware depending on the provider), in terms of going truly global for e-invoicing inclusive of meeting all regulatory and business requirements on all continents while also driving localized adoption, I would argue it’s a wide open game with no clear leader today, although Tungsten is aiming for the top position (as are others). Regionally, there are leaders. But not globally.

Stay tuned as our coverage from Tungsten Insights 2015 continues.

Voices (2)

  1. Mike Monahan:

    Any Insights from Day 2?

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