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AmeriQuest and Corcentric Unify Under a Single Brand: A Q&A with Matt Clark

03/28/2018 By

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The rationale for breaking down silos between procurement and finance is hardly a new idea. But as many practitioners know, what seems simple in theory can in reality become a mess of different processes, stakeholders and initiatives that rarely form a cohesive whole.

Few solution providers in the procurement space know this better than Corcentric. Known by both its own name as well as by AmeriQuest, its old acquirer’s brand, Corcentric has offered solutions for accounts payable automation, working capital management, and billing and payments management for over 20 years. But as the industry has changed, Corcentric’s ability to explain how it could help its customers needed to adapt, too, to reflect the increasingly comprehensive procure-to-pay (P2P) processes businesses confront.

That’s why earlier this week, the company announced it had unified the AmeriQuest and Corcentric brands under one name: Corcentric. To learn more about the decision, what the new brand strategy means for customers and how Corcentric sees its future in the P2P space, we sat down with President and COO Matt Clark for a quick Q&A on the news. 

Spend Matters: In case our readers are unfamiliar, can you give a brief history of AmeriQuest, Corcentric and how the two brands have operated together? 

Matt Clark: AmeriQuest had its roots from a group purchasing organization (GPO) heritage starting back in 1996. The founding concept of AmeriQuest was to negotiate contracted programs with national suppliers for small and medium-sized companies, the thought being that banding together these SMBs would enable them to compete with their larger competitors from a purchasing perspective.

But early on, AmeriQuest understood that if it was going to put itself in the transactional flow of purchasing, it could deliver a special sauce by sitting between suppliers and customers, taking a credit position. This allowed it to become a single source for billing for suppliers, as well as take on the burden of billing and collecting from the customers on the other side of the equation.

Corcentric was originally in the electronic transaction processing space, and AmeriQuest was actually a customer of Corcentric, using it to connect suppliers to customers via EDI. Later, during the bust, we realized we couldn’t afford for Corcentric to go away like some of the other tech companies that were folding at the time, so AmeriQuest decided to acquire Corcentric and bring that as an in-house capability.

SM: What was the ultimate goal of unifying the brands under one name — Corcentric? What message do you want to send to your customers and prospects with that brand? 

MC: The No. 1 goal was really simplification. We saw an opportunity to simplify our messaging both internally and externally, as it had become difficult to explain where the solutions of both companies stopped and started. Ultimately, we wanted to help our customers understand what it is we do and how we can help them improve their businesses.

The message we want to send to prospects and customers is that we’re one company. Specifically, we’re one company that can address and optimize three areas: accounts payable, procurement and accounts receivable. Corcentric can help companies improve working capital and reduce expenses through how they purchase, pay and get paid.

SM: What about your company’s strategy and focus has changed with the new brand identity? What, if anything, are you leaving behind with the AmeriQuest name, and what is Corcentric embracing that’s “new”? 

MC: It really comes down to how we approach our go-to-market and customer engagement strategies. What we’re leaving behind is a siloed, product-focused mentality to instead embrace a more solution-focused mindset. Our goal is to be able to diagnose before we prescribe. We try to first understand the big picture so that, with both our technology and our services, we can help customers accomplish more together with us than they could accomplish on their own.  

SM: How will customers benefit from the combination of resources and expertise under a single brand identity? 

MC: Going back to the idea of simplicity, Corcentric before was missing opportunities to help customers because they were unaware of how we could help. Since our messaging wasn’t simple, clear and cohesive, opportunities were being missed because customers weren’t able to digest what it was that AmeriQuest did, what Corcentric did and how the two could work together.

Now with the combination of resources, the customer will benefit from a more comprehensive approach to their world. Instead of dealing with individuals who are focused on a narrow view of our customers’ businesses, our customers can now come to us for a one-stop shop, getting access to a suite of solutions delivered through a consultative approach. It’s really more of a top-down than a bottom-up mindset — way more strategic than it is reactionary.

SM: AmeriQuest has been around the B2B industry for over 20 years. How has the industry changed, and what are the major challenges Corcentric will help customers address going forward?

MC: There have been a couple of main changes. The first one is that where we’re going as a company happens to be where the industry is going, too. Whereas we used to have very siloed functions — for example, procurement and accounts payable were separated — today we’re seeing more of a convergence. Given that, companies are looking for partners that can address as many links in the transactional chain as possible, so that they don’t have to cobble together six solutions from six different providers, where the burden is on the customer to figure out how those all work in tandem. 

Second, we’re seeing a lot of providers in this space walking away from services, instead saying they want to be a pure SaaS company dropping technology in the lap of their customers. We’re fully committed to the opposite. We believe that the winning equation is combining great technology with great services to get the best outcome for our customers. Other providers are marginalizing or completely walking away from that services element, and we think that’s not doing right by the customer.

SM: Finally, since you’ve unified your two brands under the name, what does the word Corcentric mean to your company? 

MC: Corcentric has been around for 20 years, and when we look at that brand, we’re looking at the core of a business. We believe there is untapped potential at the core of every organization, whether it be helping companies manage their spend, or improve working capital. It’s about connecting those transaction processes, those procurement processes, those financial processes. It’s about connectivity, collaboration and optimization at the core of a company’s business.

This interview has been edited and condensed.