Author Archives: Spend Matters Brand Studio



Three years down the line: How Amazon Business is revolutionizing procurement

Amazon Business UK Dave Brittain

In a nutshell, Amazon Business was created to make businesses’ lives easier by saving them time and money. It is essentially the convenience of an e-commerce site optimized for the needs of B2B businesses. It has various clever tools and features to help increase efficiency and improve productivity, and is expanding the use of machine learning to automate manual and time-consuming tasks, making processes more streamlined. In a short period of time, it has helped millions of companies in Europe reap the benefits of digital buying. Spend Matters talks to the head of Amazon Business UK.

Why you are thinking about direct spend AP automation all wrong

In light of all the disruption over the last year, businesses must re-examine how they operate, and bottlenecks in back-office operations are ripe for digital transformation that can make companies more agile and resilient. One of the key chokepoints where supply chain operations teams think about procurement technology the wrong way is believing that an indirect AP automation solution can solve direct invoicing as well.

The nature of what’s being bought in direct procurement is more detailed, so your solution needs to account for that. Learn more here.

Can services spend for engineering/maintenance be helped by a new technology approach?

Services procurement creates so many headaches across companies, and business leaders’ frustrations with it have risen to a level that it needs to be addressed.

Spend Matters has heard from procurement pros that technology doesn’t properly address all services workflows, doesn’t offer enough spend visibility, can’t be easily used by anyone across the company, and doesn’t fully meet compliance and audit needs due to the complex requirements of services procurement across various groups.

With an estimated $1 trillion in annual services spent by U.S. firms, those are big issues — especially when trying to buy engineering/maintenance services for manufacturing facilities and equipment, large turnaround projects, capital-intensive projects and IT operations outsourcing.

Managing this process takes a lot of manual, time-consuming attention and often doesn’t efficiently result in the desired outcomes. The effort and time to get engineering drawings or big projects from an offline team into the source-to-pay process raises the question: Why not start the digital process sooner, in the engineering/maintenance phase so the workflow, like sourcing for materials and vendors, can begin sooner and with more visibility?

Tax technology prep: Consider these 4 areas when digitally transforming your business

Oracle

In the first article in our look at tax issues and digital transformation, we noted that problems with tax transactions include overpayments or underpayments, penalties for not complying with the patchwork regulations across state and national borders, the risk of audits, and the lack of tax expertise in departments that handle technology — like IT, sales, finance and procurement.

Tax technology can curb these problems, add visibility and boost confidence in the business. Let’s take a look at what businesses should consider when looking for tax technology.

Supplier collaboration is key to coming out of disruption on top

In an effort to showcase the importance of supplier collaboration in SRM, Vizibl is hosting a webinar this month titled “The Future of Procurement: How Sanofi Are Reinventing Their Approach To Supplier Relationships.” Sanofi is a Vizibl customer that has real-world knowledge of how supplier collaboration works. The company’s CPO will provide first-hand experience of the Supplier Collaboration and Innovation solution. To learn more and register for the free Nov. 25 webinar, visit Vizibl’s registration page.

5 tips to build supply chain resiliency now and for 2021

The global coronavirus crisis shocked supply chains this year, causing a lot of disruption but also setting the stage for something unexpected — the C-suite finally understanding the need for supply chain resiliency and digital transformation. And as stakeholders want to avoid the problems they’ve seen this year, they’re now leading the charge for operational upgrades.

You have to build a supply chain backbone that’s strong, flexible — and capable of continued optimization.

To learn more about ensuring resiliency, we talked with the specialists at Bristlecone, a provider of services for supply chain transformation and product engineering. We wanted their insights because they’re on the ground helping reduce workloads, cutting the time to approve suppliers, adding visibility into spend and improving a full suite of source-to-pay (S2P) processes.

Bristlecone shared five ways you can improve supply chain resiliency as you look ahead to 2021 —  because even if you’ve weathered the coronavirus disruption so far, you’ll need to rebuild your supply chain and procurement functions for future problems, even if they’re not as bad as this pandemic.

Facing a tax audit? Procurement records get targeted first, but tax technology can help

In our look at tax management technology, we’ve explored the tax pain points that businesses face in trying to manually manage tax transactions and avoid audits, and in a second article, we gave three tips to tell if your procurement organization is behind in the race to digitally upgrade its tax obligations.

To shed more light on the issues, we talked with Mike Bernard, Vertex’s Chief Tax Officer about what the tax engine provider is seeing during the coronavirus disruption and in the market overall. He said companies must adjust to a changing tax landscape.

Don’t overlook tax technology when digitally upgrading your business

With the coronavirus disruption accelerating the need for digital transformation, company leaders must ensure that tax considerations are not left out of the planning. Now, more than ever, government entities will be looking for creative ways to recoup losses, and tax in the P2P process may be one of the areas that draws scrutiny.

This is a problem for companies both large and small that are facing choices about how to automate their operations. Procurement professionals are not always armed with enough tax knowledge or experience, nor should they be accountable to make the correct tax decisions on invoices for their organization. Tax technology can be a force multiplier by baking in that expertise into every transaction across the business, making it an important part of an organization’s procurement transformation.

In the first article in our look at tax issues and digital transformation, we noted that problems with tax transactions include overpayments or underpayments, penalties for not complying with the patchwork of regulations across state and national borders, the risk of audits and the lack of tax expertise in departments that handle technology — like IT, sales, finance and procurement.

Tax technology can curb these problems, add visibility and help businesses grow with confidence.

Let’s look at the three key points that will help you determine if your organization is behind in the race to Indirect Tax in Procurement Transformation.

Companies’ responses to coronavirus crisis ‘put procurement tools and technology at the forefront’

Now that businesses have been dealing with the coronavirus disruption for about six months, it’s time to check in with people on the ground who are helping to address the challenges.

So we talked with Diego De la Garza, Senior Director of Global Services & Delivery at the source-to-pay provider Corcentric. Since De la Garza works with businesses on a range of issues — from choosing the right technology or using consulting services or deploying new B2B financial options for customers — we wanted his insights on what’s happening at this stage of the crisis.

“For those organizations who recognized procurement as a function with strategic value, the current state of events worked as a catalyst to propel their relevance and elevate their role, which immediately put procurement tools and technology at the forefront,” he said.

Proactis’ flagship event ReThink ’20 will focus on agility in Procurement and Finance

home working

The landscapes of the Procurement and Finance functions have changed quite substantially over the past year, and even more so over the past six months as they have faced the turbulence of supply disruption, employee retention, and of course spend management challenges. The functions are facing a new way of working and have been forced to adapt to new pressures as they have become more and more relied upon to deliver business continuity.

ReThink ‘20 — the annual flagship event from spend management specialist Proactis — has been designed specifically to help Procurement, Finance and IT senior professionals rethink their course to reach the maximum value they can for their organizations.

Over the course of three days from Nov. 10 to 12, ReThink ‘20 will bring together spend management professionals in a virtual event to share knowledge, best practice, their achievements, shortfalls and learnings in honest and open discussions to really help the professions align.

Direct spend management can help wrangle manufacturing needs, weather coronavirus crisis

Procurement technology often gets noticed for its cost-cutting abilities with indirect spend, but the COVID-19 disruption has highlighted the value of other features, like supplier relationship management, supply chain collaboration and working capital management.

And manufacturers should take notice because direct spend management holds just as much savings opportunity as indirect spend, but manufacturers often haven’t deployed the technology yet.

The challenge of external workers: How can a CEO turn a hidden workforce into a more flexible force?

If a CEO asks for a snapshot of the company’s external workers, it wouldn’t be a snap for most procurement departments to pull that information together because individual departments like HR and IT often use different technology to engage an array of workers — for gig jobs, contract labor, overseas staffing, shift work and more.

If those departments operate separately and the systems aren’t integrated, a hidden workforce exists that the CEO and senior leaders can’t effectively manage.

This becomes even more problematic in the coronavirus era, when companies shed temporary staff during the lockdown, but for the recovery stage may need to re-engage talent.