Author Archives: Xavier Olivera



The Procure-to-Pay User Experience (Part 4)

Amazon Business

In Part 1 of this series, we addressed why the user experience (UX) is important in a procure-to-pay (P2P) solution, and why we have` dedicated so much time to the topic. The reality is that if users do not use the solution to do their job, the solution does not generate value. And the ultimate key to adoption is the user experience. That’s why many IT companies are beginning to invest significantly in providing a user interface that provides the optimal user experience to do their job.

That’s also why we are providing you with this information to help you identify who those companies are. This started in Part 2, where we noted that there is not just one optimal user interface for an optimal user experience. There are multiple user interfaces, one per role. We then described the key aspects of these for the more casual roles — the casual buyer, the admin or IT supporter and the supplier. In Part 3, we began to address the professional procurement buyer role, starting with the core functionality required across the P2P platform. Now we need to address the core functionality required by the professional buyer in each phase of the P2P cycle.

The Procure-to-Pay User Experience (Part 3)

In Part 1 of this series, we addressed why the user experience (UX) of a procure-to-pay (P2P) solution is important, and why we have dedicated so much time to the topic. The reality is that if a user does not use a solution to do their job, the solution does not generate value. And the ultimate key to adoption is the user experience. That’s why many IT companies are beginning to invest significantly in providing a user interface that provides users the optimal experience to do their job.

That’s also why we are providing you with the information to help you identify who those companies are. This started in Part 2, where we noted that there is not just one optimal user interface for an optimal user experience. There are multiple user interfaces, one per role. In our last article, we described the key aspects of these for the more casual roles — the casual buyer, the admin or IT supporter, and the supplier. Today, we tackle the requirements for the professional, full-time procurement buyer, which are predictably much more extensive.

The Procure-to-Pay User Experience (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series, we addressed why the user experience (UX) is important, and why we have dedicated so much time to this topic. The reality is that if users do not use a solution to do their job, the solution does not generate value. And the ultimate key to adoption is often the user experience. That's why many IT companies are beginning to invest in providing a user interface that provides the user with an optimal experience, and why we are providing the information organizations will need to identify which companies those are.

The Procure-to-Pay User Experience (Part 1)

The history of enterprise software systems is fraught with implementation failures. This is especially true in the ERP and MRP space, which have contributed to some of the biggest supply chain failures in history (including Hershey Foods, Adidas and Foxmeyer). But not all failures are catastrophic. The majority are just the result of (significant) project overruns in terms of time and money or the inability to deliver critical features or functions in the original system specification. And this is more common than one may think. Some estimates put the rate of project overruns in IT as high as 85%. That's problematic.

Why are there so many failures? The reasons are many. Some are the result of poor change management; others are the result of the selection of inappropriate process automation for the company; and still more are the result of limited or low-quality information. If one goes through the list of possible reasons, we see there is one commonality across the majority of failures: the user experience. Poor change management leaves users confused. Inappropriate process selection frustrates users as it increases time and effort (rather than decreasing it), and low-quality information makes users question why they are migrating to a new system at all. (And when significant system features or functions fail to be implemented at all, that's the worst user experience.)

That's why the user experience (UX) is important, and why Spend Matters has dedicated so much time to this topic (first on sourcing, and now on procurement). The reality is that if users does not use a solution to do their jobs, the solution does not generate value. And the ultimate key to adoption is often the user experience.

Everything Procurement Should Know About Payments (Part 6): Payment Best Practices and Recommendations

early pay

Our goal in this research series on payments has been to provide procurement with a single point of reference to understand all of the intricacies and challenges associated with standard payment processes today, as well as the limitations of existing procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions when it comes to addressing payments in full. Spend Matters PRO subscribers can access the individual parts below:

The final installment in this series summarizes payment best practices today and provides recommendations to procurement organizations looking to take a leadership role in driving integrated processes that bridge supplier management, transactional buying, accounts payable, payment and working capital management processes.

Everything Procurement Should Know About Payments (Part 5): Dynamic Discounting and Supply Chain Finance Models

The payment process is integral to not just transactional procurement, accounts payable and supplier management. It is also an essential component of receivables and payables trade financing models. This fifth installment in our Spend Matters PRO series exploring how procurement touches and is impacted by the payment process provides insight into the intersection of payments and trade financing, especially buyer-led (or influenced) models. See also:

In this brief, we explore the two most popular (non-factoring) trade financing models — supply chain finance (SCF) and dynamic discounting — as well as their payment intersections, especially from supplier on-boarding and enablement perspectives. We also provide an introduction to hybrid early payment and trade financing models.

Everything Procurement Should Know About Payments (Part 4): Setting Up Suppliers for Payment — The Intersection of P2P and Supplier Management (Part 4)

Historically, most procure-to-pay solutions have put advanced supplier management capability on the back burner from a strategic development perspective. At best, they have paid lip service when attempting to tie a powerful supplier information management (SIM) capability into P2P and supplier network offerings (i.e., one-to-many or many-to-many connectivity approaches). While this is beginning to change, in general the worlds of collecting, validating, managing and keeping supplier record information up to date to enable timely payment and accounts payable vendor outreach are rarely bridged fully.

This Spend Matters PRO brief, the fourth in our series providing a comprehensive primer on everything “payments” from a procurement perspective, provides a background briefing on why collecting supplier information is critical to enable payments and a checklist for setting suppliers up for payment, starting with initial on-boarding steps. (See Part 1: Procurement’s Role and P2P Case Examples; Part 2: Best-in-Class P2P Technology Capabilities and the Reconciliation Process; and Part 3: Payment Operations — Challenges and Opportunities.) It also provides a vendor data collection template for basic and advanced fields that companies should compare against their own for an accounts payable-centric on-boarding process spanning company, ownership, insurance and remit/banking details. Finally, Part 4 concludes with examples of technology enablement capability that advanced supplier information systems can bring for supplier on-boarding and data maintenance.

Everything Procurement Should Know About Payments (Part 3): Challenges and Opportunities for Payment Operations

e-invoicing

As anyone tasked with extending and integrating a procure-to-pay (P2P) system to fully support the second “P” has no doubt learned, corporate payment processes and systems are highly complex — perhaps even more so than transactional purchasing activities. This Spend Matters PRO series provides a procurement-centric introduction to the topic of payments, offering a look into the payments lifecycle and how it integrates with core P2P processes and workflows.

Earlier installments (see Part 1 and Part 2) explored the invoice-to-reconciliation process, internal and external parties involved in core payments workflow and P2P technology best practices. In Part 3, we turn our attention to the nitty-gritty of managing core payment operations, examining a full list of the challenges companies face in confronting payments today, as well as the financial and operational costs of managing payments sub-optimally. We also provide an overview of shared services environments for payment operations while also exploring the many challenges companies face in attempting to drive payment process and system centralization generally.

Oracle Procurement Cloud: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive Analysis & Recommendations

tech

With planned release enhancements in the coming year, Oracle Procurement Cloud could become the 80% headache (today it is the 70%) for procurement suite providers and even more specialized competitors. Already, Oracle Procurement Cloud not only provides newcomers to spend management an opportunity to build a strong procurement foundation, but for companies that have swung and missed (for whatever reason) in their attempts to establish such a baseline, Oracle brings a lot to the table and will likely surprise those that had previously looked at earlier releases or other Oracle procurement applications.

This third and final installment of our Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot provides a SWOT analysis of Oracle Procurement Cloud, as well as a segmentation and comparison of competitors. It also includes a recommended shortlist of candidates that could serve as alternative vendors to Oracle for source-to-pay (S2P) suites, procure-to-pay (P2P) suites and e-sourcing. Finally, we conclude with a summary analysis and recommendations for organizations considering Oracle Procurement Cloud.

Oracle Procurement Cloud: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses

Oracle Procurement Cloud is a procurement technology suite that is targeted primarily at three key market segments. First, net new Oracle ERP Cloud customers who are looking to add procurement suite functionality. Second are those organizations that are current Oracle eBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft or JD Edwards ERP customers that may migrate to the cloud for their core financial system. And third are those customers with “installed” Oracle solutions for procurement (Oracle eBusiness Suite Procurement, PeopleSoft SRM, etc.), although these organizations may or may not (yet) be a fit for Oracle Procurement Cloud based on organizational requirements, including the degree of customization done to previous solutions.

Regardless, in many cases, Oracle customers considering Procurement Could will not have purchased a full source-to-pay (S2P) or procure-to-pay (P2P) suite from third-party vendors in the past, although they may have had experience with individual modules and solutions from Oracle procurement competitors. But in certain cases, Oracle customers have replaced suite capability from providers such as SAP Ariba and Coupa.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Oracle Procurement Cloud’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the solution. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Oracle. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Oracle Procurement Cloud: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

You can almost set your watch on it. When ERP vendors decide to enter a particular solution market, impassioned arguments debating the tradeoffs of their approach versus the perceived benefits of those taken by specialized application vendors turn up the volume on a regular basis. “To ERP or not ERP,” that is the question. And while Oracle’s Procurement Cloud has not yet settled this debate, the offering will continue to draw the attention of many companies as well as Oracle’s installed base during their respective source-to-pay (S2P) technology evaluation processes, especially as Oracle’s solutions continue to improve and mature in the area and take their place as cloud-native solutions, turning entirely away from the ERP installed software legacy.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Oracle Procurement Cloud and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and a detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Oracle Procurement Cloud. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Everything Procurement Should Know About Payments: Best-in-Class P2P Technology Capabilities and the Reconciliation Process (Part 2)

BuyerQuest

There have been two (somewhat bad) jokes around product naming since procurement technology adoption became widespread. The first was when SAP labeled its e-procurement product “supplier relationship management” (SRM), which was a misnomer, to say the least. SRM, which competed against Ariba, Commerce One and others at the time, was about managing transactional buying, not about strategic supplier relationships. The other naming “fail” was unfortunately more generalized outside of a single provider, and that was labeling the broader transactional procurement tech sector as “P2P,” with the second “P” standing for “payment.”

If there is a silver lining in this naming misstep, however, it’s that we have the power to actually do something about it today. P2P solutions are finally beginning to embrace the payment ecosystem more holistically, and procurement is taking an orchestration role in the process. This Spend Matters PRO series provides a procurement-centric view into payments, exploring the payments process and all that it encompasses through a “get smart” primer.

Part 1 provided an introduction to the topic and explored what e-procurement systems do (and do not do) to enable payment processes. It also explored what SAP Ariba and Coupa have developed from an integrated e-procurement, e-invoicing and payments offering perspective though various partnerships. The second installment in this series provides a summary checklist of best-in-class e-procurement and e-invoicing native payment capability and integrations (internal system and third party) to enable payments and an overview of the invoice to reconciliation process, outside of P2P systems alone. It includes an introduction to various electronic funds transfer (ETF) models, tax considerations, currency considerations and related topics. It also includes a look at all of the internal and external functions and parties involved in different stages of the reconciliation process.