From Heavy Hitters to Blockchain: The Best of P2P in 2016

When discussing procurement processes and strategy, it’s hard not to mention procure-to-pay (P2P) or the enabling technologies that go along with it. E-procurement, one of the original technology segments to center on automating and improving procurement, has led to numerous internal improvements for procurement groups; e-invoicing automation has led to substantial cost and efficiency gains for both companies and public sector organizations.

And while both these technologies that form the core of P2P have been around for a while, they’re both far from done innovating. To see why, check out our top five posts on P2P from 2016.

The Big Shifts Ahead Behind Us

At the beginning of 2016, Spend Matters Founder and Head of Strategy Jason Busch predicted the core procurement solution market would have an exciting year. While the initial transformation to cloud deployment models from the CD world mostly solidified, the more interesting, “dramatic” changes had only begun, he said.

But perhaps even more curious — and relevant to the future of P2P — are new underlying technologies, such as new platform business models, the evolution of the cloud, advanced analytics, blockchain and external ledgers (the technology underpinning Bitcoin) and much more.”

And from business models to blockchain, Busch was mostly right, as our other top P2P posts of 2016 illustrate.

The State of P2P Automation

By 2016, available P2P technologies were more than capable of automating the bulk of procurement tasks such as invoicing receipt and processing. Whether procurement organizations had completely adopted those technologies, however, was a different story.

According to a survey of procurement and finance professionals by spend control and e-procurement solution provider Proactis, 43% of respondents reporting a high level of automation and 25% saying their P2P process was fully automated. Not too bad a showing. But among the organizations without any automation in invoicing processes or P2P, roughly a third have no plans to introduce automation to those areas of the business.

Coupa’s IPO

One of the biggest moments of the year for P2P was also a moment for procurement generally. Coupa filed for an initial public offering in September, ending months of speculation about whether the San Mateo, California-based P2P provider would go public in 2016.

In July, we wrote about why a then-theoretical Coupa IPO would be good for procurement. As Jason Busch explained, more awareness of the procurement profession, better results for Coupa customers and increased competition and innovation were all potential benefits.

And when the news broke that Coupa had submitted its S-1 to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Spend Matters was there with the analysis. Check out our company, technology and competitive overview for procurement practitioners to get all of the details on the provider.

Ariba Goes Light

Coupa was not the only big name in P2P to make a move popular with readers this year. In November, our resident P2P expert Xavier Olivera teamed up with Jason Busch to break down Ariba’s new Light Enablement.

Asking “Is Ariba free at last?”, our analysts detailed the capabilities and processes available to buyers and suppliers in this new offering.

Ariba Light Enablement provides a means for procurement customers to use their Ariba P2P procurement environment without subjecting suppliers to fees — but at a cost. It provides a simple, messaging-based approach to discourage buyers and suppliers from engaging in workarounds to avoid network fees (which is a good thing).”

And what does that mean for procurement? Well, it’s a step in the right direction.

“Most important, a free model is an important step forward for Ariba and its customers, who are increasingly looking for new ways to enable smaller suppliers and the long ‘tail’ of spend,” they wrote.

And speaking of tail spend, what about Amazon Business, you ask? Check out today’s companion post compiling our coverage of Amazon’s P2P play to catch up on this year’s news.

Blockchain: P2P Killer?

In Busch’s 2016 predictions, he listed blockchain and external ledgers as one of the most important technologies to watch in the space. The technology underpinning bitcoin certainly was a hot topic in the past year, and one of Pierre Mitchell’s posts on the topic generated a lively discussion on the future of P2P.

After laying out the current shortcomings of supplier networks as the stand today, Mitchell asks readers two simple questions: How can we best overcome the inefficiency of supplier discovery within "business networks"? How can we effectively kill first-generation, closed-network architectures?

Blockchain could potentially be the revolutionary disruptor in supplier networks, procurement technology and supply risk ratings, Mitchell mused. And he wasn’t alone in thinking so. One of our readers responded with an excellent guest post on blockchain and how it will change the future of P2P networks.

Share on Procurious

Discuss this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.