Technology Content

VMSA West — A Breath of Fresh Air for Contingent Workforce Conferences

This week, on Aug. 14 and 15, I had the opportunity to attend the VMSA West conference held right on the coast in beautiful Half Moon Bay, California. This was the first conference on the West Coast for VMSA, which wanted to create a contingent workforce event more accessible to businesses on this side of the country (the annual flagship conference VMSA Live is held annually in Florida). About 130 ecosystem professionals (a balanced mix of buy-side, MSP, supplier and other providers) met in an intimate setting to breathe, explore topics and learn from one another.

Proactis in Play: Arbitrage and Analysis [PRO]

Two weeks ago, Morningstar reported that Proactis had “received a takeover approach from an unnamed U.S. investor, together with a number (of) expressions of interest,” and that its bankers would review the offers. For those not familiar with the UK-based Proactis, the procurement solutions provider has deep spend management roots on both sides of the Atlantic spanning the private and public sectors, owing to numerous acquisitions made over the years, including, most recently, Esize in 2018.

This Spend Matters PRO and Nexus analysis provides a cursory overview of Proactis’ assets based on past coverage and analyzes the current situation and opportunities for the firm and potential acquirers — as well as different segments of acquirers that may be interested beyond financial buyers alone.

Taking the Path of Least Friction for a Successful Payables Strategy

e-invoicing

Inefficient invoice processing is standing in the way of companies achieving their bottom-line targets. The cause is manual, paper-based invoicing systems, which lead to late payments, errors, internal process issues, disputes and damaged relationships with suppliers, among other headaches. In a word, “friction.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. New data is showing that digital AP solutions can eliminate these frictions and streamline invoice processing.

The Payables Friction Index: Barriers to Invoice Automation,” a PYMNTS and Corcentric collaboration, quantifies the issues that businesses experience in processing supplier payments and explains how automated solutions can help ease the pain.

3 tips to improve the ‘first mile’ of your supply chain

Overhauling how your business manages its supply chain is a daunting task, but a good starting point is to look at a segment of the supply chain and focus on three tips: clean your data to improve visibility, automate supplier collaboration and consider what new technology is available to you to make these things happen.

The specific part of the supply chain that many organizations would benefit from focusing on is the “first mile” — when businesses set a solid foundation to work with suppliers, engage services and order direct materials. In our previous article, “How ‘first-mile’ flaws hinder last-mile success,” we discussed the problems that snowball, add to risk and cut into margins.

Now, let’s dig into the top three tips for addressing these problems:

Defining AP Automation Functional Requirements (Part 2): AP Process, Workflow, Collaboration and Systems (Validations, Approval Processes, Integrations) [PRO]

AP automation capabilities vary dramatically between different software providers, and the capabilities that a finance or procurement organization will require to support the automation of AP processes also vary materially, based not only on company size but a broad range of other factors. These include organizational complexity, invoice capturing requirements (e.g., paper, PDF, electronic, etc.), systems complexity, systems integration, industry, EDI integration/support, payment/financing capabilities, treasury integration/working capital management, geography and compliance requirements — to just name a few.

To understand how different providers stack up against these (and other) categories of requirements, the quarterly Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap Insider report can provide significant insight. And to create a one-to-one map between business requirements for AP automation and vendor functionality capability, SolutionMap Accelerator can dramatically speed up the vendor shortlisting and selection process, even allowing companies to “skip the RFI” entirely.

This Spend Matters PRO series defines AP automation requirements from a functional perspective to put AP, finance and purchasing professionals in the driver’s seat when they evaluate the market for AP automation to fit their needs — either on a stand-alone basis or as a specific component of broader invoice-to-pay, procure-to-pay or source-to-pay solutions. (Check the links to our SolutionMap ranking of providers in each category.)

Part 1 of this series investigated core invoicing requirements for AP automation and some of the criteria that Global 2000 and middle market organizations should consider when selecting solutions (i.e., invoicing set-up, paper scan/capture support and e-invoicing). Today we turn our attention to an additional set of AP automation functional requirements, including AP process, invoicing validations, workflow, collaboration and integration requirements.

Upwork Enterprise’s customer reviews are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for Upwork Enterprise, the solution provided by the global online freelancer marketplace. It combines technology and managed services to enable enterprises to source and engage freelance talent. The applicable SolutionMap category for this report is in Independent Contract Workers. SolutionMap Insider members can read about Upwork Enterprise's reviews in our latest report.

In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of information from the SolutionMap peer review process. It includes ratings on how well the vendor meets user expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes about the vendor’s greatest strengths.

Commercial Value Management (Part 3): Critical Commercial Use Cases to Align Extended CLM with the Enterprise [PRO]

change of control clauses

In our last installment of this CVM series, we highlighted a graphical framework to depict how commercial value management is about extending CLM into a more commercially enabling role in all enterprise areas where contracts (and value promises) are stored.

In this next installment of this series, we’ll highlight these areas and how to unlock some of that value for the benefit of the firm — and procurement.

Let’s briefly look at some of these areas to see how extending contract management to broader CVM approach is a practical way for procurement to get aligned with other areas (and with itself).

How to prepare for the IR35 reform, the UK’s freelancer work-status mandate for the private sector

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Martin Konrad, co-founder of Shortlist, a freelancer management system provider based in San Francisco and with an office in London.

The UK government has announced that the IR35 reform introduced to the public sector in 2017 will also be rolled out to the private sector in April 2020.

What does this mean? In less than nine months, all medium and large private sector businesses using freelancers will be responsible for checking their employment status with every engagement. If it is determined that freelancers should be treated as an employee for the purposes of IR35, the business will need to deduct income tax and national insurance contributions from payments made to freelancers.

In this article, I would like to discuss how companies can determine their freelancer's IR35 status, and how your company can prepare for the upcoming reform.

How and Why Digital Transformation Will Vastly Reshape Procurement & Finance Roles

interest rates

When a business upgrades a department like procurement or finance, the goal usually involves cutting costs, improving that one department and using data to assess their past performance. But that version of business is fading quickly as automation, digitization and changing trade force companies to be forward-looking and dynamic in their use of data.

That future also promises much more visibility for companies and consumers to be empowered and make better decisions.

But in the present, executives must prepare for the digital transformation of business operations and plan for more radical change across the whole enterprise. This will require them to figure how best to invest in technology, reshape their workforce and create bold visions of the future.

Large Companies Lack Cash to Fund Their Supply Chains

procurement

David Gustin is the chief strategy officer for The Interface Financial Group responsible for digital supply chain finance and is a contributing author to Trade Financing Matters.

The popular opinion has been that many large American companies are flush with cash. In fact, surveys from some reputable institutions support this view. The AFP’s corporate cash survey found during the second quarter of 2019, U.S. businesses continued to build their cash and short-term investment holdings. This is intuitively supported by events like the corporate tax cut last year.

But this narrative is highly misleading.

Ivalua: Vendor Snapshot (Part 5) — Product Weaknesses [PRO]

global trade

If you've already read Part 1 of our updated vendor snapshot on Ivalua (which includes a detailed company and solution overview), then you know that you're either going to be attracted to the depth, breadth and configurability of the solution — or perhaps overwhelmed by it if you're new to the advanced sourcing and procurement game. But, even with its prowess in deep configurability, Ivalua's solution is not without its weaknesses. In this Part 5 of our seven-part vendor snapshot, we are going to dive deep into Ivalua's product weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help a procurement organization decide whether they should shortlist the vendor. And an organization that is putting Ivalua head-to-head with a provider like Coupa should compare and contrast what we say here versus what we say in Part 2 of our Coupa vendor snapshot because near-equal scores in Spend Matters Solution Map does not imply near equal capability in all areas, and definitely not in the areas that might matter to your organization the most. Ivalua's weaknesses are similar to our last review a couple of years ago, but a few weaknesses have been addressed since last time (and while not as deep, but still exist against either suite-peers or best-of-breed), and the re-platforming of DirectWorks in particular has gone a long way to address specialized support around direct sourcing.

Struggling to find the right workers? Create an alumni network from your retirees and former employees

LinkedIn ProFinder

Companies need skilled employees, but with unemployment numbers at the lowest levels in decades, available candidates are in short supply. And people with the skill sets needed for certain jobs and industry sectors are just not there. The hiring professionals are feeling the stress. The situation is compounded by the fact that Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age in large numbers. Finding workers to fill positions vacated by retirees will continue to present challenges, so companies that set up systems to keep retirees and other alumni as part of their contingent workforce will have a competitive advantage.