The Cloud Category

Extinction event: Amazon Textract has just killed the OCR industry. Who’s next and who’s safe?

disruption

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Doug Hudgeon, a business automation expert.

The annual Amazon AWS Re:Invent conference has just finished. The most interesting announcement in the conference was not one of high-profile changes to their serverless and machine learning platforms. The most interesting announcement was a three-minute video about Textract, a new OCR (optical character recognition) service from Amazon. This service extracts text and tables from documents and is priced at $1.50 per 1,000 pages.

The Textract OCR service is interesting for three reasons, each of which is worthy of an article in itself, but we'll briefly look at all three here and the industries that are affected.

From Palm Pilot to AI: How Today’s Technologies Will Shape the Modern Finance Office

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Melissa Hendrick, Yooz North America's vice president of marketing. 

Remember the early days of personal digital assistants and cellphones? Before they were “smart”? We were wowed by the first hand-held computers like the Palm Pilot and BlackBerry, but few among us knew then that in a few short years, we would become dependent upon them in all aspects of our personal and business lives. Technology and time march swiftly on, and business moves fast. Senior finance executives need to understand how today’s emerging innovations are already impacting business operations, profits and productivity, and how to adapt or consequently fall behind.

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6 Ways to Leverage AI in Procurement Today

cognitive computing

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most hyped-up topics in business right now. Gartner has included a number of AI applications in their 2018 Hype Cycle for most important emerging technologies. To take matters further, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai recently said he expects AI to become more important for humanity than even fire or electricity.

Almost every week we hear of new ways AI revolutionizing business practices, but where does this leave procurement? The good news is, if your procurement organization is ready for digital, it’s ready for AI. Here are six concrete ways you can get started.

Wax Digital: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

In Part 1, we introduced you to Wax Digital, a source-to-pay provider from the UK that you may not be familiar with, especially since it has not yet participated in Solution Map (although that changes this quarter). Wax Digital is a provider of note as it is one of the few providers that has a relatively complete, integrated, source-to-pay offering on one code base that is already used globally in over 100 countries. In our last article, we overviewed some of the key parts of Wax Digital’s platform. In this post, we dive into its strengths and weaknesses.

Wax Digital: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

Some vendors prefer to wax poetic. Others prefer to wax digital. One such source-to-pay provider likes waxing digital so much, that it even calls itself Wax Digital. And it is our latest source-to-pay vendor to get the in-depth PRO treatment here on Spend Matters (before its debut in Q4 SolutionMap).

By now you are all familiar with its primary source-to-pay competitors, including SAP Ariba, Coupa, Determine, GEP, iValua, Jaggaer, SynerTrade and Zycus, as they have been covered extensively on PRO and appear in the SPT & S2P solution maps, and while you are quite familiar with the American S2P providers (Ariba, Coupa, Determine, GEP, Jaggaer and Zycus) and now the European S2P providers (iValua and SynerTrade), you're likely not as familiar with their English counterparts, namely Proactis and Wax Digital, as they have not had as much exposure in recent years. And Wax Digital is definitely a provider that should make your familiarization list.

Wax Digital, which has been around for almost two decades, is one of the largest European providers of source-to-pay solutions, with users in over 100 countries around the globe. It is available in 15 languages out of the box and supports all currencies under ISO 4217 for its 250,000+ global users.

Part 1 of this analysis provides a detailed company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit for when organizations should consider Wax Digital. The remaining parts of this research brief will dive into product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Once You’re in the Cloud, Managing Cloud Costs Can Be a Challenge, Report Says

A couple of years ago, organizations raced to catch up and understand cloud computing and formulate strategies for adopting cloud services. Now, according to a new report, the problem isn’t so much cloud adoption, it’s managing the cloud. Organizations that made the switch are finding new problems they didn’t foresee, leading to cost overruns and exposing disconnects between levels of management. According to “The State of Cloud Readiness 2018,” a new report put out by managed services provider Softchoice, while cloud adoption has risen since 2016, organizations aren’t seeing the results they’d envisioned.

E-Procurement Catalog Management and Search: Oracle Procurement Cloud Analysis (Part 2) [PRO]

tech

This Spend Matters PRO series examines the catalog management capabilities (within e-procurement) of some of the top vendors. Most of the leading solution providers featured in the E-Procurement and Procure-to-Pay SolutionMaps areas can handle many of the nuances required of search and catalog management. For all the gory detail of what comprises catalog management and why it matters as part of an e-procurement system, we encourage PRO subscribers to start here:

The first research brief in this series, E-Procurement Catalog Management and Search: Introduction and Tradeshift Analysis, provided a summary overview of the “best practice” Coupa is attempting to achieve by combining its own capability with Aquiire and Simeno. It also provides an analysis of Tradeshift’s catalog management capabilities — and how it stands out in the area through its many-to-many approach.

Today, we turn our attention to another top-performing (based on Q3 SolutionMap analyst scoring) e-procurement provider: Oracle (specifically its Procurement Cloud/Fusion product line) and explore its catalog management and search capabilities.

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

Unlike Salesforce, Tradeshift embarked on building both an applications and platform technology business at the same time, commingling the value proposition of each to create something that it hoped would prove larger than either could be individually. Flash forward less than a decade since the provider launched, and Tradeshift has remained true to this vision. But how does the provider stack up to others in the market given it can be difficult to compare it with traditional cloud applications providers without the platform element? And how should prospective customers know when to consider Tradeshift vs. others?

Part 3 of this Vendor Snapshot series explores these questions and others. This Spend Matters PRO report provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Tradeshift’s solutions and products. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Tradeshift in the procurement, supply chain and finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers a competitor and SWOT analysis, along with evaluation and selection considerations.

6 Ways To Really Mess Up Your AP Automation Project

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Melissa Hendrick, VP of marketing at Yooz North America.

Today, automation technology is one of the inevitable trends for companies wanting to improve their efficiency and agility in a complex economic environment. The reasons are clear: cost reduction, process optimization, data security, regulatory compliance and many more.

If you are considering automating your invoice payment processing workflows in accounts payables, or are already investigating solution providers, your success will be based on following some basic guidelines and avoiding some common pitfalls.

With that in mind, here are some insights to help you identify the pitfalls on your journey to AP automation, combining practical information with a little tongue-in-cheek humor.

Amazon Business Prime Updated: Analysis and Procurement Recommendations (October 2018 Update) [PRO]

AnyData Solutions

Earlier today, Amazon announced a host of enhancements to its Amazon Business Prime offering. To help procurement organizations understand the implications of these added capabilities, this Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an overview and analysis of the new solution components and offers recommendations to procurement organizations already using or considering Amazon Business.

The emphasis of this PRO analysis centers on the spend visibility/analytics, e-procurement (guided buying) and working capital/payment capabilities of the October 2018 Amazon Business release. While some of these areas are likely to be less interesting for organizations that already use a third-party e-procurement solution that integrates with Amazon Business (either via punch-out or API), Amazon’s enhanced invoicing, working capital and payment components can be applied to all potential users.

But perhaps most important, these enhancement offer some signals of how Amazon may continue to build out the capabilities of its Prime business solution. Let’s delve in.

Healthcare’s Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Has Security Challenges, Forum Warns

“Healthcare” and “cybersecurity” don’t seem like they go together, but a security forum this week highlighted how the move to electronic health records and the growing use of connected medical devices — the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) — makes hospitals and patients vulnerable. After attending the forum, it’s clear that hospitals know they’re targets, but they may not understand the scope of the danger. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) held its security forum in Boston this week, and it attracted a diverse audience. IT, finance and supply chain executives mingled with network security professionals. So hospitals are viewing security in a cross-functional way, and that’s a positive development.

5 Reasons to Bet For and Against Coupa (Part 2: The Blindsided Prince) [PRO]

Owing to its focus on “business” spend management and public company status, Coupa continues to serve as an ambassador and proxy for the procurement technology sector overall. As I noted in the first installment of this series — 5 Reasons to Bet For and Against Coupa (Part 1: The Virtuous ‘Cloud’ Prince) — it seems everyone has an opinion on Cramer’s new “Cloud Prince.” I shared five reasons I’d bet on Coupa from a procurement (not capital markets) perspective.

Today, to balance things out, I turn negative and introduce five reasons I’d bet against the firm, primarily revolving around how the sector and procurement, finance and supply chain may change around it. I’ll lump these reasons under the theme as “blindsided prince,” since I believe Coupa’s biggest risks come from outside, not within.