The second "p" in P2P has been all but ignored by most procurement organizations to date in deploying e-procurement solutions — aside from basic integration into the payables module of ERP systems. For example, sending a message to SAP ECC that an invoice is “approved to pay." But from that point, it is typically a black hole of visibility into when cash will actually hit a supplier’s account.
There are significant reasons why this matters. But Discover (and Ariba) are hoping to change it, having taken perhaps the first material steps together in combining a payment solution into a full e-procurement deployment: AribaPay. Earlier in this year, we noted that, “T-Mobile has done $8 billion in payments to more than 1,000 suppliers through AribaPay — an impressive set of numbers for a single project, especially given that AribaPay was released back in July 2014 (well re-released is perhaps a better term since it was originally announced back in May of 2013).”
Discover’s AribaPay solution is separated out from the rest of the suite and, as we’ve observed, “serves as a standalone (yet integrated) payments module that leverages Discover’s payments infrastructure ('rails' in card speak) to provide transparency and visibility into the payment process from both the seller and buyer perspective. AribaPay is embedded as an option in the Ariba Network to complete the procure-to-pay cycle.” Full historical visibility and supplier information, including banking details, are included and linked into the Ariba network.
There is no doubt that much more can be done to further the potential of AribaPay. But Discover has taken an important first step among the conservative card companies to creating an integrated P2P and payments infrastructure that is available at scale today. Bravo. And welcome to the Spend Matters 50/50.