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Ivalua NOW Europe 2021 — Payments overview and innovation showcase

03/25/2021 By

Spend Matters attended Ivalua NOW Virtual this week — a compendium of the procurement and supply chain issues of the day explained, explored and delivered by some inspirational speakers from industry and academia. Ivalua is a suite provider with French roots and based in California. Topics at the Ivalua NOW conference ranged from the restoration of growth following the business disruption of 2020, through the empowerment of organizations to attain the agility and resilience needed to deliver maximum value in 2021. We noted that CSR and innovation seemed to be the recurring themes throughout the two days and across the strategic objectives discussed. Here are our key observations from the inaugural Ivalua presentations with more from other speakers to come.

Keynote – Main themes of the 2021 vision

Day one’s keynote address was delivered by Ivalua CEO and founder David Khuat-Duy. He talked about the importance of managing your suppliers well and the importance of making all your internal IT systems quick and efficient. The same applies to your buying experience, so for these parts of the vision, Ivalua has been working hard to adapt the tool, the UI and the UX to make it as simple and user-friendly as possible. “Actionable intelligence” he said, is the power of the platform, with data unified in a single place for better efficiency and reporting.

Ivalua invested a lot of time in 2020 developing the areas that will make access to actionable insight quicker and easier using advanced tech like AI. Another important direction for Ivalua is in CLM, where it has been working to make this an enterprise-wide system. Again they are integrating a lot of AI into that. And as we were all anticipating, invoices and payments have commanded a lot of attention in 2020 to be ready for a launch in 2021, because as he says: “the transactional part of the business is just as important.”

More is coming our way too, like inventory management, but the focus on managing all spend, both indirect and direct in one place is center stage. “Your S2P solution needs to live within a global ecosystem,” he said. On that note, Ivalua has made improvements and new out-of-the box solutions to give you more content to manage your business efficiently. They recognize that information is critical, and you need to be able to rely on it, so Ivalua has had a dedicated team working on the platform to improve scalability and performance.

2020, therefore, was all about innovation and development. The team also welcomed new members and 60 new customers from all over the world. Khuat-Duy remarked on how adaptable people are, to deliver growth and make projects come to fruition even while working remotely. Some key milestones of 2020 included strong innovation, regular releases every six months, and developing new industry-specific solutions including public sector, manufacturing, financial services, healthcare and construction engineering.

Innovation Showcase

On day two, the keynote from Pascal Bensoussan, Chief Product Officer, introduced an innovation showcase that demoed each of three new, or soon to be delivered, innovations.

Jarrod McAdoo, Senior Product Marketing Manager, and Patrick Conquet, VP Product Management, demonstrated how the solution can bring supplier collaboration to life. They believe that barriers such as cross-functional engagement have played a big part in the derailment of many collaboration initiatives, so some of the Ivalua tools have been developed with that in mind.

From a Collaboration Plan Library, the user can select plans to help with managing risk and performance and engaging in value-generation activities through: improvement plans, mitigation/control plans, corrective action plans, innovation plans and supplier inventory management plans.

Vendor-managed inventory is a new product developed to manage buyer inventory and facilitate collaboration across all aspects of inventory management. The goal is to make supplier-managed inventory as simple and visible as possible so customers can see inventory managed by the supplier, identify an item and its location, and minimum and maximum stock levels quickly. The supplier has full visibility of stock levels, access to the whole history of orders and deliveries, has direct access to demand consumption and gets alerts when inventory is low to generate replenishment transactions.

On CLM, Pascale showcased an Ivalua-developed “effective AI tool to guide and inform users and support business process agility.” It caters for all types of contract, he explained, to speed up the lifecycle. It covers document and information management, contract creation and negotiation, approval and execution, post-signature compliance, agreement management and contract analytics to speed up creation and to safeguard authoring, accelerate sign-off, improve regulatory compliance and improve enterprise-wide collaboration. A key development in authoring will be released by the end of 2021 to make it simpler to review a contract and access all its parts in one place, with search, comparison and comms facilities in a preview mode with the capability to find just the parts that have been changed or just the key terms.

On Payments, Rolf Haag, Head of Payments, talked about this new area for Ivalua. Ivalua has been working hard on payments to get them integrated into the S2P process. He identifies the top procurement payments challenges as getting approvals, managing vendor payments and banking details, and processing manual payments. So the embedded payments vision is to unlock a “single source of truth” through integration with Ivalua’s S2P platform modules and an ecosystem of partners in a transparent way to see the full PO-to-pay process. Suppliers will have direct access to the data they need and reduce AP and procurement time, cutting supplier queries by about 10% and giving flexible payment options (we don’t know what they are as yet).

At the center of the payments module will sit a set of hubs that contain integrations to global payment providers, fintechs, banks, financial institutions, networks, lenders for working capital loans and transaction processors to give options on how we move money from buyers to suppliers. Importantly, Ivalua states it will never be inside the funds flow. A data hub will provide connection to validation sources to reduce risk.

This represents just some of what will make up an exciting year ahead for Ivalua, and we’ll keep you informed of developments and release dates through our Afternoon Coffee daily news feed as press releases appear.

Our analysts will be at Ivalua NOW in the US on April 27-29 to report on any advancements. In the meantime the proposed timeline is: first invoice workflow-integrated bank-to-bank payments integration is happening now, and this summer will see an offering ready for EU and NA buyers with buy-side virtual card integration.

Of course Ivalua NOW wasn’t all about Ivalua. There were some excellent presenters too — which we’ll report on in the next dispatch.

Registrants will be able to listen to presentations in full in an upcoming on-demand release.