AP Automation vendors are highlighted in a new SolutionMap category for our Spring 2020 release

“The AP Automation market is ‘hot, hot, hot’ in which vendors compete in a market that is growing and changing by the day,” Spend Matters’ Founder Jason Busch wrote in a recent Nexus article.

That’s why Spend Matters has added AP Automation technology rankings to the Spring/Q1 2020 SolutionMap release, which came out Tuesday. Six vendors demonstrated their solutions for Spend Matters, participated in a round of analyst scoring of their offering’s capabilities and were ranked according to feedback from their customers. (See details below about Basware, Coupa, SoftCo, Tipalti, Tradeshift and Yooz.)

Those vendors represent a trend that SolutionMap needed to capture, but you might be asking why this technology is developing now.

AP automation holds a lot of promise for businesses that want to optimize cash flow, reduce manual tasks and improve insights into transactions. It is considered a great stepping stone into invoice-to-pay (I2P) process automation, which stretches from invoice creation/receipt through validations and approval, all the way to payment. AP Automation represents a subset of these steps.

“Investment in this area is critical, not just for procurement transformation but also for supporting value creation across the whole business,” says Xavier Olivera, Spend Matters’ Lead Analyst for the Procure-to-Pay category.

Magnus Bergfors, Spend Matters’ VP of European Research and Lead Analyst, sees this development as a maturing of the procure-to-pay process, which until recently stopped with approving invoices to be paid but not actually disbursing the funds.

“As both vendors and practitioners are starting to view invoicing and payments as part of P2P, I’m excited that we are extending our rankings to fully cover the last mile of P2P with AP Automation,” Bergfors said. “This finally makes it 'procure-to-PAY' and not 'procure-to-ready to pay.' ”

Spend Matters defines AP Automation as solutions and services that support the processing and payment of invoices. These solutions include e-invoicing capabilities such as:

  • invoice capture and digitization
  • invoice validation
  • invoice matching
  • GL coding and approvals

They also support payment functionality for:

  • payment file creation
  • mass payments (P-card, check, ACH, FX)
  • one-time payments (V-card, PayPal)
  • payment reconciliations
  • credit memo management
  • trade financing (early payment and dynamic discounting)
  • payment transmission (including cross-border)

Solution vendors may also provide some level of supplier management and supplier collaboration via supplier networks and/or portals.

Pierre Mitchell, Spend Matters’ Chief Research Officer, dives a little deeper into how AP Automation became its own SolutionMap category.

"In this spring release of our SolutionMap, we've split out a separate category called AP Automation that focuses on deeper support for supplier payments, trade finance support and multi-channel supplier invoice management (things like invoice scanning, OCR/AI and pre-reconciliation/approval),” Mitchell said. “We originally developed these requirements to expand our core Invoice-to-Pay (I2P) SolutionMap evaluation database, but since an AP Automation market has quickly evolved with best-of-breed vendors focusing on enabling this 'final mile' of P2P, we're providing early coverage of this key sub-segment of I2P."

Full I2P also includes deeper capabilities in support of payments, financing and working capital (which may also be included selectively in AP Automation solutions). As such, the newly created AP Automation technology benchmark SolutionMap rankings will be harmonized within the broader I2P SolutionMap in the future.

6 AP Automation vendors ranked in the new SolutionMap category

For now, let’s take a look at the six vendors ranked in the new Spring/Q1 2020 AP Automation category:

Company Market Focus Other Categories
Basware A recognized provider in the e-invoicing and accounts payable automation area market segments (primarily in Europe), in which it has strong capabilities and flexibility to configure its solution for small, middle-market and large organizations. P2P
Coupa A track record of supporting a wide range of organizational size and maturity levels (from middle-market to Fortune 50 companies). S2P, CW/S
SoftCo Could be considered as a Nimble AP Automation solution that supports all types of capturing and uploading of invoices to be validated, matched and approved. New
Tipalti An AP Automation solution specialist and a strong player in the SME market. New
Tradeshift A specialist provider centered on the platform and invoice-to-pay areas to date (but with emerging procurement, supplier management and related capabilities). P2P
Yooz A strong performer in support of the Nimble persona requirements, likely a better fit for middle-market requirements than larger Fortune 500 firms. New,

previously I2P

When and How to Use SolutionMap Rankings?

SolutionMap rankings can be used to compare solution provider capabilities across the procurement and supply chain spectrum. It is often used to identify and shortlist procurement technology providers for an organization, in this case AP Automation (and/or I2P).

For each category, SolutionMap …

… Comparatively ranks procurement and supply chain technology providers

… Comprises equal parts customer (peer) and analyst input

… Reflects different organizational needs through “buying personas

… Gets updated twice a year to show market developments

Once a SolutionMap is introduced, the Spend Matters’ analyst team will issue updates twice a year to actively reflect market developments and to add newly participating providers.

SolutionMap is freely accessible and easy to navigate. Visit https://spendmatters.com/solutionmap/ap-automation/ to view the new AP Automation rankings and to learn more about the methodology.

Upon landing on the AP Automation rankings page, you are asked to identify your closest-fit buying persona. As not all organizations are equal, Spend Matters created these “filters” to emphasize capabilities of providers to meet the unique needs of each buying persona. To learn more, read this article on how to use the SolutionMap buying personas.

The AP Automation rankings are available for the the following personas: Nimble, Deep, Configurator, Turn-Key and CIO-friendly (matching the ones used in the I2P rankings).

Once you select a persona, you are able to see how the vendors stack up (and a PDF of the rankings can be sent to you as well).

Here is the Spring/Q1 2020 AP Automation quadrant map for the Nimble persona:

(Click image to enlarge)

In terms of reading the chart:

  • The color of the bubbles indicates the number of customer references a vendor has submitted (deep purple being best-in-class).
  • The size of a vendor bubble solely indicates their number of customers (market size).
  • The top left quadrant shows vendors with strong capabilities scores (assigned by Spend Matters’ analysts).
  • The bottom right quadrant shows vendors with positive customer reference scores.
  • The optimal ranking is the top right Value Leader quadrant, indicating vendors with both strong capability and customer reference scores.

Read this article for further information on how to interpret SolutionMap rankings.

How Vendors Can Get Ranked

You may be wondering how a vendor gets ranked in SolutionMap. First, participation in the RFI process is completely free. If a vendor is a good match for a ranking, they can request participation, upon which they’ll be entered into a simple pre-qualification process:

  1. Submit your company to Spend Matters’ free online vendor directory, Almanac.
  2. Contact Spend Matters to request your introductory demo and indicate your interest in participating in SolutionMap.
  3. Upon pre-qualification, you are added to the SolutionMap participants pipeline and will receive an invitation to an upcoming SolutionMap RFI cycle.

The RFI process is rather comprehensive and demanding, but it can offer a vendor great visibility as well as insights into its own strengths and weaknesses. Spend Matters will actively build up the initial AP Automation rankings to reflect the marketplace.

Finally:

  • Visit com/solutionmap to view the new, free Spring 2020/Q1 SolutionMap procurement technology benchmark rankings of 69 providers across 13 categories.
  • Consider an Insider or PRO subscription to see more of what’s driving SolutionMap results, including members-only access to scoring summaries, ranking insights and recommendations for participating providers
  • Procurement technology selection and benchmarking intelligence services are available at a premium.

Special Offer

In response to the coronavirus disruption of business, Spend Matters has this offer: Through April 2020, a special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off — Learn more
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