The Accounts Payable Category

SciQuest: Solution Review & Analysis [Plus+]

SciQuest is arguably the most challenging procurement technology suite vendor to compare directly to the competition. This perhaps explains why it has tended to surface less in competitive procure-to-pay (P2P) or source-to-pay (S2P) suite opportunities outside of its traditional key vertical sectors for transactional procurement (e.g., higher education, laboratory/research, life sciences, public sector) in the past. While it is possible to label SciQuest as a procurement technology suite vendor (source-to-pay, source-to-contract and procure-to-pay), the reality is that to date, the provider has competed in multiple, infrequently overlapping segments of the procurement technology market.

Historically, SciQuest has generally had different sets of customers, prospects and competitors for its core P2P product and its sourcing optimization, spend/supply analytics and contract lifecycle management solutions. This stands in contrast to many of its peers, which have generally chosen to focus on fewer market segments (e.g, eProcurement, invoice-to-pay, etc.) rather than more as primary entry points to customers.

Yet after being acquired by Accel-KKR last year, SciQuest has started an accelerated strategic and marketing transformation process that is uniting its disparate suite elements. Today’s Spend Matters Plus analysis provides an introduction to SciQuest for procurement organizations looking to understand whether they should consider adding the provider to their shortlists for consideration, as well as competitive alternatives.

Here are 5 Key Benefits to Accounts Payable (AP) Automation, or: Can We Be Done With People Already?

“Can we just be done with people, already?”

The automation issue resonates within countless organizations across the globe — and if it doesn’t yet, it should — but AP organizations could especially benefit from automating and digitizing their processes. When it comes to finance and accounting, 47% of AP professionals consider manual data entry and inefficient processes their biggest challenge. But how should my AP organization even begin to automate and digitize? Easy — start thinking of it like riding a bicycle. Read on to find out how.

Oversight Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive and Summary Analysis [PRO]

Procurement fraud comes in many forms and types. Recent front-page news stories can involve multi-million dollar frauds managed at the P&L level by suppliers, such as Pfizer’s recent complex overbilling scheme with the NHS. But procurement and payables fraud most often takes place on a smaller level, with varying degrees of sophistication. Oversight Systems provides an analytics managed service (and front-end software) capability for procurement and finance organizations to fight procurement fraud, whether perpetrated by suppliers, internal participants or both. It also provides similar capabilities to monitor for regulatory compliance (e.g., FCPA violations) as well as detect overpayment errors. Its solution is a complement to procure-to-pay (P2P), travel and expense (T&E) and various audit recovery solutions and approaches in the market today.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Oversight Systems provides an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Oversight Systems and provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Oversight Systems’ capabilities. Part 1 of this series provided an in-depth look at Oversight as a firm and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the solution’s user experience.

Oversight Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) –– Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

graft

What do you get if you cross P2P payment compliance, procurement and payables fraud detection and management, and a big data solution together? You get Oversight Systems. Unlike other overpayment prevention and recovery audit providers, Oversight decided to pursue what we might best describe as “data science as a service,” hiring data scientists who are experts –– or have become experts –– in spend areas including travel and expense (T&E) and procure-to-pay (P2P), as well as regulations affecting supplier management and payables such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). This team continually works to develop new algorithms to confront the types of continuously evolving over-billing and procurement and T&E fraud scenarios that employees, procurement staff and suppliers engage in, either intentionally or as a result of complacency.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Oversight System’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider this class of solution alongside other P2P, T&E, payables/card and related investments. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering it. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Transcepta: A Procurement Technology “Best Kept Secret” — Year-End Tech Review

e-invoicing

This post is part of our 2016 Year-End Procurement Tech Review series, in which we offer procurement practitioners a bird’s-eye view of some key vendors and their solutions in select categories. Today we’re highlighting a company in the e-invoicing space.

Transcepta, a closely held business, was founded over a decade ago. Throughout this time, the provider has focused on building and expanding its global supplier network capabilities to support vendor onboarding and e-invoicing efforts, including most recently in the invoice discounting and trade financing areas.

Supplier Readiness and E-Invoicing in Latin America

e-invoicing

As we have seen in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, e-invoicing has produced great benefits for governments in terms of tax collection and streamlining its own control processes, for which they have implemented mechanisms that companies must comply with, ranging from the simple to the complex. For both buyers and suppliers, this represents a new technological challenge — especially for companies with operations in multiple Latin American countries.

Oversight Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

Supply Chain Fraud

Procurement fraud typically gets everyone’s attention after it happens. Granted, in certain geographies and industries, regulations such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) have magnified the potential risk that procurement fraud can bring to expand beyond profitability impact through high fines and negative media coverage. Yet procurement and finance organizations generally are loath to invest in additional fraud controls and measures such as procure-to-pay (P2P), travel and expense (T&E) and payment solution (including p-cards) rollouts or upgrades at the same time. Oversight Systems, an Atlanta-based organization that focuses on fraud and overpayment controls and prevention and has raised almost $40 million in funding to date, is hoping to change this.

Existing P2P (SAP Ariba, Concur, Basware, etc.) and T&E (e.g., Concur) solutions can put in preventative steps to help reduce the risk of fraud and overpayment occurrences. But the controls they provide are insufficient to prevent fraud alone (as Best Buy discovered when procurement and a supplier colluded to steal millions of dollars from the company). Fraud and overpayment can occur in both expected and unexpected places, and Oversight has designed its solution to find and detect and find it through an advanced analytics platform, regardless of whether an employee, procurement, accounts payable or a supplier is the responsible party (or a combination of actors).

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations make informed decisions about Oversight Systems’ procurement and accounts payable fraud and overpayment solutions. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Oversight Systems as a complement to existing P2P, T&E and card investments. The rest of this multi-part research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses; competitor and SWOT analysis; user selection guides; and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Exploring the Future of the Recovery Audit Market: Reading the PRGX and Lavante Tea Leaves [PRO]

Supply Chain Fraud

The recovery audit market has a long history that’s rooted, in part, on the fact that accounts payable organizations make mistakes when paying suppliers. These errors often stem from poor visibility into accurate master data surrounding contracts, transactional documents and related supplier information that lead to AP mistakes. Root causes include: overpayments, duplicate payments, currency errors, credit memos, incorrect line-level pricing, missed "deal" memos/notes and logistics charges.

Getting to the bottom of these disparate documents and data sets has traditionally been a largely manual process, albeit one that recovery audit firms have somewhat automated with homegrown tools in the past two decades. Given what they do in the field, providers that serve this market, including PRGX, APEX Analytix and Connolly (now a division of Cotiviti), have historically had more in common with other diagnostic providers such as REL (now part of Hackett Group) than typical operations consultants and procurement/AP solution vendors. But the recovery audit sector is starting to change. Services-based firms are getting into analytics, supplier portal, supplier management and related software areas. And in non-industry-specific and nuanced environments (e.g., retail), solutions from P2P, AP automation and e-invoicing providers such as Ariba, Basware and Coupa are helping to catch payment and other mistakes before they’re made.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis, the third in a series that explores and analyzes PRGX’s acquisition of Lavante, explores the past, present and future of the recovery audit market, and what technology-led changes in it are likely to mean for firms, customers and customers. See also: PRGX to Acquire Lavante: Solution Overview, Comparative Solution Capability and Competitive Analysis (Part 1) and PRGX Acquires Lavante: PRGX Analysis and Customer/Prospect Recommendations (Part 2).

Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable: Two New Complimentary Research Downloads

Research Download

Jason Busch, founder and head of strategy at Spend Matters, Azul Partners, Inc., presents two new complimentary research briefs covering both accounts payable and accounts receivable. First, The Accounts Payable Bicycle: Five Reasons Why Riding is Better Than Walking! takes off the training wheels to help you better learn how to properly ride accounts payable from inception, with 5 benefits of letting your company's AP truly take off. Second, Every Picture Tells a Story. What Story Does Your Accounts Receivable Data Tell You? In this research brief, Jason walks you through how to improve overall accounts receivable performance, starting with the role of A/R in overall business terms.

Basware: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive and Summary Analysis [PRO]

e-invoicing

Basware faces significant competition from multiple segments of the procure-to-pay market. It competes against a range of vendors, including ERP providers that offer e-procurement and supplier network capabilities (along with varying degrees, based on vendor, of e-invoicing capabilities). It also competes against e-invoicing and supplier enablement specialists, regional supplier network / e-invoicing providers, independent e-procurement providers (e.g., Coupa) and traditional AP automation and scan/capture providers. As a trend, competition is increasing (not decreasing) for Basware, which represents a challenge given the generally limited understanding in the market about what sets the provider apart and a lack of brand awareness within procurement. Further, the marketing effort it has expended thus far in the trade financing area (which has not yet resulted in material payables or receivables financing volume) and the fact Basware is largely unknown in North America as an e-procurement provider – even with the addition of Verian – also represents hurdles from a competitor perspective. This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Basware offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other procure-to-pay, AP automation and supplier network providers. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep-dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Basware’s product line.

Basware: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

e-invoicing

Basware, a Nordic procure-to-pay (P2P) provider that until recently pursued a conservative global growth strategy, is not as well known outside its customer base for its set of differentiated and robust capabilities, especially in the AP automation, e-invoicing and supplier network areas. Most recently, through its acquisition of Verian, it added sufficient e-procurement capability to compete against other best-in-class purchasing technology providers (previously, its cloud-based Alusta platform, which forms the basis of its AP automation and invoicing capability today, was not competitive in the e-procurement market against specialized providers). In the trade financing area, we have applauded Basware in the past for taking a highly strategic approach, in partnership with Arrowgrass, to both payables and receivables financing (yet as with most competitive providers, execution in both areas has been slow to date).

Above all, the differentiated capabilities of Basware’s solutions are not well known because the company has underinvested in global marketing efforts. Moreover, at least until recently, Basware has lacked a common theme or rallying cry (e.g., Coupa’s “value as a service”) to unite both its own organization, and partners and customers.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores Basware’s strengths and weaknesses in the P2P, supplier network and trade financing areas, providing facts and expert analysis to help organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor as a potential provider. Part 1 of our analysis comprised a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Basware. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.