In this introductory analysis, we begin our exploration of how to wring every bit of value out of spend data. At every level or ‘shade’, we will describe the spend-related analysis (i.e., its scope and the approach used to attack it), the value of it, the challenges in doing it, and some methods to overcome those obstacles. In level 1, we'll start with basic Accounts Payable (A/P) spend analysis by supplier – the very basics (this is absolutely essential). Let’s jump in!more ▸
In yesterday’s announcement of a new Spend Matters Plus series, Fifty Shades of Pay, Pierre Mitchell wrote about the importance of spend analysis in procurement transformation. Now let’s look at making it happen. As spend analysis scenarios become more sophisticated and complex, they draw in broader data sets and use deeper types of analytics. Pierre developed a graphical context diagram, or blueprint if you will, of spend analysis. Not a Plus subscriber yet? Contact us to inquire about a free trial.more ▸
Within procurement, many know Concur as a T&E provider, and Concur’s strength in this area no doubt continues. But the company has more to offer procurement than just a T&E reporting tool (albeit an extremely slick one). In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, analyst Thomas Kase will look at some other tools from Concur, show you some screenshots of what their capabilities actually look like, and speculate on where they might be going with their offering. Not a Spend Matters PRO subscriber yet? Contact us to inquire about a 30-day free trial.more ▸
Concur – the company best known for its travel and expense reporting solution – is moving along with its annual user conference this week. The approximate 4,000 headcount organization has a fairly substantial number of employees in India – which explains why revenues aren’t already at the $1-billion mark, a number they expect to see in 2016. The company is growing extremely aggressively, both through acquisitions and hiring. Since last year’s Fusion event they have acquired GDSX and TRX – which explains how Concur has managed to add around 1,500 employees in one year’s time. That is rapid growth!
The mantra at this event was “Transparent, Connected, Effortless” – words echoed consistently by the many product management, marketing, and business development executives that I met. It’s not just something in the water in the Seattle area that has created this uniform pitch; the entire solution delivery is built on transparency (e.g. spend, budget, travel plan changes, expenses, credit card alerts, policy infractions, and so on), and connectivity across a partner network (a long list of partners ranging from financial service institutions to travel management firms to rental cars, hotel chains, and other suppliers) and all of it at your fingertips, in other words effortlessly available.
The effortlessness deserves a special comment. Concur has truly delivered a great user experience in their solutions. It is clear from the solution features, options, workflow, and general proactivity that they really know their use case. (Note to self: must persuade Jason Busch to switch our T&E reporting to Concur). Those who have read some of my other solution evaluations know that I can be relentlessly demanding or, as Jason calls me, a curmudgeon. That said, I have nothing but praise for Concur in the design department – is it weird to say that it actually looks fun to do expense reporting with their ExpenseIt tool?
A Spend Matters Plus subscription is required to read the rest of this article. Analyst Thomas Kase goes on to cover the details of the solution and Concur’s plans and potential for future growth. To inquire about a free trial to Spend Matters Plus, please contact Sheena Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org).more ▸
The Spend Matters research team has been in countless meetings with potential Taulia customers, partners, and competitors who think the provider only focuses on dynamic discounting. When Jason Busch (Group Managing Director at Spend Matters) first encountered Taulia, he confesses to having had the same impression. It is a mistake that is easy to make given how easily Taulia integrates into the SAP ECC and MM/FI ecosystem including Dolphin, OpenText and ReadSoft deployments. For example, Taulia can interoperate with and compliment these systems in the case of different e-invoicing plumbing areas. This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides a detailed overview of Taulia’s e-invoicing capability across all key areas (supplier enablement, supplier self-service portal, invoice data submission/capture (via eFile, eForm, eSend/PDF, APIs, file upload, etc.), workflow, network connectivity, analytics, OCR, etc.) and how it works alongside Taulia’s core discounting, trade financing and related capabilities (e.g., supplier enablement/onboarding).more ▸
Sure, companies need to understand payables and receivables financing best practices when it comes to business/program considerations, contracting, supplier engagement strategies, technology adoption, and deployment. But they also should know what not to do. Our research team finds that too many companies are guilty of a common set of “worst practices” in this area. In this PRO research brief, Jason Busch, Group Managing Director, Spend Matters, examines how procurement, accounts payable and treasury departments start on the wrong foot by not fully considering the right business considerations and contracting strategies and then carry missteps over to the wrong process and technology decisions. Read on for what not to do, as well as a real-world use case centered on using the wrong trade financing solution for the wrong job.more ▸
Earlier this year, I spoke to the head of what is probably the most successful and mature dynamic discounting program in North America today. His story provides one of the most compelling cases to prioritize the implementation of trade financing programs over other procurement and accounts payable initiatives in terms of driving hard-dollar savings as well as in reducing supplier chain risk by providing a longer tail of suppliers access to capital on a consistent basis. In this analysis, we investigate some of the key best practice tips from this implementation and others we’ve explored in recent months. There is no single ingredient behind the success of dynamic discounting and other trade financing programs. Rather, it's a combination of many items and the “chemistry” of how and when to combine them (yes, the order matters). Spend Matters PRO subscribers can read on for a list of best practice tips for basic business considerations and contracting strategy, as well as tips on technology and supplier enablement.more ▸
An Update on Crossflow Payments: Trade Financing and Free EDI/invoice Connectivity Rocketing Up [PRO]
Crossflow Payments offers financing that is integrally coupled with free supplier network/EDI replacement capabilities as the two central components of the value proposition. From a marketing perspective, the firm appeared to be relatively quiet since launch, but they’ve more than made up for it in commercial traction to date. The genius of the approach is that the team has taken many years of experience from the world of EDI for all spend areas (e.g., direct and indirect) and combined it with an in-depth understanding of broader trade financing, including cross border transactions. So far 20 UK companies have taken Crossflow up on the offer of a free EDI replacement for supplier connectivity. The company typically signs three-year agreements for free EDI transaction processing (integrated to a commitment to offer the Crossflow finance solution to suppliers). Crossflow’s revenue is driven by its free connectivity, a competitive transactional connectivity offering – and of course the uptake by suppliers of finance. We’re very enthusiastic about Crossflow’s prospects in the market – in the UK and beyond. Spend Matters PRO members can read why in the full text of our analysis.more ▸
Coupa and DocuSign: A Critical Partnership that Bodes Well for Finance, Legal, and Procurement [Plus +]
Coupa announced today that it is partnering with DocuSign to provide integrated digital signing capability with its own set of applications. For customers, this partnership is perhaps the most pragmatic announcement to come out of Coupa Inspire 2014 and is important on many levels for finance, legal, procurement, and supplier collaboration. The integration of digital signatures with source-to-pay suites may seem to be a simple “nice-to-have” for procurement, finance, and legal organizations. But looking ahead, especially as contract management becomes more integrated with standard buying, approvals, invoicing, and compliance workflow in an automated and straight-through-processing (ideally) manner, digital signing will become even more integral to source-to-pay than it currently is. Read on for our analysis of the partnership, its implications, and customer recommendations.more ▸
We define trade financing as the combination of receivables financing and payables financing (inclusive of supply chain finance) and purchase-to-pay technologies, including e-invoicing. To say that interest in this area among large multinational corporations, banks, funds, ERPs and network/SaaS players is merely significant would be inaccurate. Rather, it would seem that the current emerging world of trade financing and its intersections with procurement, accounts payable and treasury-centric technology solutions is an area where more and more leaders – and I do mean leaders – are aware of what they don’t know, rather than what they do. Those which are taking action (a small minority at this point) are looking to enable a business model that can either help shape a new market opportunity; extend additional convention (e.g., invoice discounting) to drive greater adoption; or build a model that takes shares away from incumbents in the trade financing market (especially banks and factors). Incumbents that have not yet moved to understand the role of new technologies (e.g., supplier networks, e-invoicing, dynamic discounting, technology-driven approved payables financing, etc.) will either get with the program or lose business.more ▸
In this research brief, Jason Busch and David Gustin (Managing Director of Trade Financing Matters) explore why a unique need for payment capability fully integrated into the B2B sector is long overdue. Our research suggests a strong need exists to be able to bring all disparate players together, add a real-time payment capability, and have it all make sense for buyers and suppliers in the supply chain. This is where Traxpay comes in by enabling structured (e.g., invoice, purchase order) and unstructured data (e.g., photos, pdfs, etc.) to travel between buyers and sellers to make and reconcile payments in a dynamic fashion. They bring a core banking system (funds sit with the German Bundesbank), a secure B2B transaction model and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) approach to the payments space. [CORRECTION: AN EARLIER VERSION OF THIS SUMMARY LISTED THE AUTHORS INCORRECTLY. DAVID GUSTIN AND JASON BUSCH ARE THE AUTHORS OF THIS BRIEF].more ▸
By examining trade and receivables financing practices at one of the most advanced early adopter organizations -- which has used both Xign and Taulia -- Jason explains how companies seeking to build a trade financing program centered on dynamic discounting can increase adoption and results. Our case study organization is substantial in scale with recent annual revenue exceeding $15 billion. It also has a long history of investments in AP automation, starting first in the “mid 1980s” with investments in automated PO invoice approval programs. At this company, the early 2000s saw investments in Internet-based e-invoices, T&E systems linkages (e.g., Concur with credit card and receipt imaging), dynamic discounting for PO electronic invoices (through Xign), and a range of other investments. These included credit card e-payments, consignment inventory, and automated wire transfers. More recently, the company migrated from Xign to Taulia (in 2011) to extend their program to encompass dynamic discounting for all PO invoices, an Internet/cloud-based supplier portal environment, OCR for paper PO invoices, direct p-card integration into Concur, and OCR for paper / PO invoices.more ▸