Invoicing Content

What the Heck are Companies Buying When They Purchase Accounts Payable Technology?

Spend Matters recently ran two surveys (one to procurement/finance practitioners and one to technology providers) in preparation for the launch of the Spend Matters Accounts Payable Automation SolutionMap later in 2019. Many of our questions focused on how users and providers define the bounds of AP automation solutions since there is often a disconnect even within the vendor community — let alone the user community. Accounts payable technology covers many business areas, so the market for the solutions is confusing. It's hard to compare them apples to apples.

Another Payment Provider Gets Acquired: Fleetcor to Buy Nvoicepay (Rapid Analysis)

invoice

The intersection between procurement, accounts payable automation, payment technologies and card providers continued to converge today as Fleetcor announced it was acquiring Nvoicepay. The transaction marks yet another example of card-based payment providers getting closer to the world of buyer-driven procure-to-pay — and of course, the vendor corollary, accounts receivable — given the opportunity for supplier-driven payment acceleration.

Certify, Chrome River to Merge Their T&E, Invoice Management Prowess

Certify and Chrome River Technologies, two travel & expense providers who also offer invoice management software, will merge in a deal that’s valued at over $1 billion, a statement Tuesday said. It also realigns the market and makes the investor in the transaction an even bigger player in this sector, two Spend Matters' analysts said. Portland, Maine-based Certify and L.A.-based Chrome River initially will operate separately but will collaborate on investing in technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics and reporting, the announcement said.

SAP Ariba: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis)

procurement software

SAP Ariba was arguably the first true source-to-pay (S2P) suite vendor. Back when Emptoris was going strong (pre-IBM) and Coupa was an open-source e-procurement application, SAP Ariba had already assembled various source-to-pay pieces from organic development and acquisition. This suggests it was the first vendor (at least with any scale and depth) to lay claim to having full coverage across sourcing, spend analysis, supplier management, contract lifecycle management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay — even if all of the components were not perfectly integrated at the time.

But how does SAP Ariba stack up today from a source-to-pay perspective?

This Spend Matters SolutionMap analysis examines SAP Ariba’s solutions by modular and suite view to help interested parties understand the best components that make up the vendor’s end-to-end offering. It provides insight into which areas SAP Ariba is strong in (and where it lags), and how competitive individual modules compare with best-in-class alternatives. It also explores how SAP Ariba competes in three “suite” markets — procure-to-pay (P2P), strategic procurement technology (SPT) and source-to-pay (S2P) — in comparison to SAP Ariba’s broader peer group, including Jaggaer, Coupa, Ivalua, Oracle, SynerTrade and Zycus.

Overall, SAP Ariba performed admirably across several categories within the Q4 2018 SolutionMap and on an overall basis, with particularly strong scoring for the P2P areas and supplier management. Its long history in the space, comprehensive offering, recent enhancements and close SAP linkages make it a “must-shortlist” vendor in a range of technology selection scenarios, and its status as one of the providers “to beat” is indeed supported by its frequently above-the-benchmark functional capabilities and notable UX/UI improvements. Moreover, its targeted investments in technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning illustrate that it is not resting on its accomplishments to date.

For this analysis, our report uses the aggregate results of nine SolutionMaps from Q4 2018 (the most recent in our quarterly update cycle), comparing a total of 58 solution providers across more than 600 granular functional benchmarks, which are aggregated into more manageable, tiered buckets for the purpose of this analysis. (Those procurement organizations leveraging SolutionMap for a software selection process gain insight into comparative performance at a significantly more granular level of detail that maps business requirements to functional performance.) The SolutionMap analyst ratings used in this analysis are based on more than 3,000 hours of live product demonstrations and validated vendor RFI responses.

In subsequent briefs exploring Coupa, Ivalua, Oracle and others, we will take a similar approach to analyzing source-to-pay providers, breaking down where end-to-end platforms excel (or fall below the functional benchmark) on module and suite bases. Previously, we covered Jaggaer’s suite performance: Jaggaer ONE: A Comparative Analysis of the S2P Suite (Source-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis).

Turbocharging E-invoicing Through the Supplier Network Value Proposition [Plus+]

e-invoicing

As we discussed in the first part of this e-invoicing research brief, there are many more goals of automating the invoicing (and invoice receiving) process than simply driving process efficiency. Indeed, advanced e-invoicing deployments now go far beyond the plumbing required to automate the issuance, workflow and approval of an invoice in a streamlined manner with as few accounts payable touch points as necessary (not to mention providing suppliers with greater visibility throughout the process). Today, supplier networks have emerged to extend the value proposition of basic e-invoicing to a number of new areas, including the better management of working capital (and much more). In the second part of this series, we discuss how supplier networks are extending the e-invoicing value proposition, advanced scenarios that e-invoicing and network providers are starting to enable today and who some of the key vendors in the space are, including specialists, suite providers and regional solutions.

How E-Invoicing Extended Procurement’s Influence with Accounts Payable [Plus+]

e-invoicing

Editor's note: This is a refresh of our 2016 series on e-invoicing's influence on procurement-accounts payable relationships, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO.

In this Spend Matters Plus research brief, we examine how procurement, through the use of technology, has extended its range of influence from its own processes to accounts payables and made electronic invoicing and supplier connectivity instrumental in the outcome of what we now call procure to pay (P2P). We also discuss the evolution of the purchasing function up to the integration of e-invoicing, the value proposition of e-invoicing, its challenges, what we see coming in the e-invoicing market and, finally, who some of the solution players are within the space.

Trends in E-Invoicing Compliance: Real-Time Tax Clearance and Transaction Automation

e-invoicing

Sovos TrustWeaver released the 10th edition of its paper analyzing the trends that are currently affecting global e-invoicing compliance. The new edition outlines a global trend toward real-time tax clearance of invoices and how it affects daily businesses’ operations and business-to-business transaction automation strategies. “This ... white paper on global e-invoicing is a treasure-trove of analysis and facts about the digital tax tsunami that few experts would disagree is now a solid global trend.”

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

services sector

While BirchStreet Systems, a 16-year-old provider of purchase-to-pay solutions, is best known as a provider with deep expertise in the hospitality industry, followers of Spend Matters SolutionMap know the company offers more than just vertical-specific functionality. In fact, based on its performance in the Q4 2018 E-Procurement and Procure-to-Pay SolutionMaps, BirchStreet consistently holds its own, from a feature/function perspective, with other solutions taking a more horizontal approach, including SAP AribaCoupaDetermineGEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SynerTrade and Zycus.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides an overview of the BirchStreet Systems, along with facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations evaluate the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations might want to consider BirchStreet. The rest of this multipart research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitors and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Ad Hoc Working Capital and the Diversification of Liquidity

Toyota supply chain

When it comes to working capital and liquidity today, there are more options than just black. Almost all companies have some form of permanent capital to fund their business operations. Even the smallest companies typically have an overdraft facility or business line of credit with their bank. Larger companies are serviced by an array of conventional (banks, factors, ABL) and non-conventional (asset managers, insurers, specialty finance) financial firms. Until recently, however, the idea of ad hoc working capital to supplement more permanent forms was not a reality, since the combination of technologies such as e-invoicing, dynamic discounting, API integration and supplier portals were being developed along with third-party sources of capital. But through rapid B2B digitization and more widespread deployment of purchase-to-pay and supply chain collaboration platforms, companies now interact with their buyer-supplier ecosystems in new ways that enable and simplify ad hoc working capital.

Top P2P Articles of 2018: Technological Leapfrogs, Market Forecasts and New Frontiers

The procure-to-pay area may seem straightforward. Procurement primers on the subject often segment the P2P process into seven or nine steps, making its components easy to grasp even for the uninitiated. Yet go one layer deeper and numerous complexities emerge — to be followed by still more as one peels the process architecture and technology onion. (Consider, for example, our multiple stories on the intricacies of catalog management.)

This cascading complexity is one reason that P2P-related topics — like e-procurement, invoicing and payments — are consistently some of the most-read articles on Spend Matters. To see why, here are the top five posts that readers sliced, diced and consumed.

Tradeshift Acquires Babelway, Adding Integration Heft to Its Platform

San Francisco-based Tradeshift, a platform provider for supply chain payments and marketplaces, announced Tuesday it has acquired Babelway, a Belgium firm that focuses on ways to simplify B2B integration. Tradeshift CEO Christian Lanng details the deal in an interview with Spend Matters' Jason Busch:

Year-end ‘Dash for Cash’ — 7 Steps to Free Up Funds Without Resorting to Tricks

It’s the end of the year, time for New Year’s Resolutions, a little vacation time and Christmas Party hijinks. But the Hackett Group, a business consultant and digital transformation specialist, is cautioning against year-end fiscal shenanigans, where money is shuffled around to make it appear that the company has hit the finish line in full stride. A new paper from the group lamenting the yearly “dash for cash” argues that you can look for sustainable, healthy ways of freeing up cash at the end of the year without pulling any three-card-monty tricks. According to the paper on working capital, many companies think it’s too late at the end of a quarter or year to free up significant cash. But it suggests 7 steps you can still use.