Author Archives: Xavier Olivera



Beyond ‘Not OK-2-Pay’: A Coupa Pay Update from Inspire 2019

procurement

Accounts payable is a function often viewed as laborious and time-consuming. Even when enabled by back-office technology systems like ERPs, the general perception of AP is that it consists primarily of transactional, overly complicated activities that generate little additional value for the business.

But this negative perception ignores much of AP’s full potential, which is why multiple solution providers of late have begun to pursue “business spend management” opportunities in the B2B payments space. These new offerings aim to improve the overall efficiency and value potential of AP, particularly by helping organizations move beyond the simple act of marking invoices as “OK-2-pay.” Because as many AP professionals will tell you, an OK-2-pay marker is only the beginning of a series of headaches to sort out — and where the benefits offered by B2B payment solutions begin to reveal themselves.

In this Spend Matters PRO brief, we discuss how some of the capabilities highlighted in the Coupa Pay offering at a recent Coupa Inspire 2019 conference seek to address the common issues of OK-2-pay — or, as they put it in a humorous video during the conference, “Not OK-2-pay” — as well as what Coupa’s recent partnership announcements mean for the product.

What to Expect from a P2P Implementation — Benefits and Costs

P2P implementation

While the benefits of adopting a purchase-to-pay (P2P) solution seem clear on paper, just about everyone who has been around the market on either the procurement, consultant or vendor side has heard horror stories of implementations gone wrong — or horribly wrong, in certain cases. Of course the culprit is usually staring the organization in the mirror. But more importantly, this line between success and failure, as measured by hard dollars, led us to ask a two-part question: What really is the price and when is it worth paying that price to implement a P2P solution?

Procurify: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis

digital

Many technology providers could argue they are part of the P2P space, but as we discussed in Part 2 of this series, the extent of a solution’s P2P capabilities can vary greatly from one provider to another. In the case of Procurify, we view the provider more as an e-procurement player than a full P2P suite, since it does not currently offer true invoice-to-pay support (e.g. features for invoice capture, validation and approval). To compare Procurify with its likely competitors, then, we must evaluate the solution against those that offer similar e-procurement capabilities, whether as part of suites that offer full P2P packages or from specialists. In this light, Procurify hits a sweet spot for small and mid-size businesses and, as defined by Spend Matters’ SolutionMap personas, has a Nimble approach that helps it differentiate its solution from competitors.

This final installment of our three-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Procurify offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other e-procurement and P2P technology providers. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provided a company and deep dive solution overview, a UX/UI ranking, product strengths and weaknesses, and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Procurify.

Procurify: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

Procurify, a seven-year-old provider of spend management software, is filling a market need for Nimble e-procurement solutions, the category of Spend Matters’ SolutionMap where Procurify’s solution fits. With 400 customers and 25,000 active users, Procurify is offering real value to an underserved slice of the e-procurement market, small and mid-size businesses. And with $14 million in current funding, we'd wager additional investments on the product and business side are on the horizon that would only reinforce its SMB market presence and its broader P2P capabilities.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot, Part 2 of the series, explores Procurify’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Procurify. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Procurify: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

procurement

Procurify, a Canadian procure-to-pay (P2P) provider with a presence in 70 countries, is capturing a market not typically well-served by other vendors: small and medium-sized businesses that need e-procurement. While there are certainly many choices of e-procurement and P2P providers today, as Spend Matters’ E-Procurement and Procure-to-Pay SolutionMaps illustrate, there are few remaining choices that have not been acquired by a larger firm or that are tailored to the needs of SMBs. Such a solution would fall under the category of SolutionMap’s Nimble persona, and Procurify’s relative strengths in e-procurement, complemented by baseline AP automation functionality, such as invoice approval and traditional three-way matching, position it as perhaps an ideal match for this market need, as clients like Asana, Planet Fitness, Reliance Oilfield Services and Element Biosciences can attest.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot offers an introduction to Procurify, providing facts and expert analysis to help organizations make informed decisions about whether they should add this P2P provider to their shortlists. Part 1 of our analysis offers a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Procurify. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

My favorite SolutionMap persona borrows from the best so businesses can adapt better than the rest

Spend Matters’ analysts have been writing personal essays on their favorite SolutionMap personas: Nimble, Deep, Turn-Key, Configurator and CIO Friendly, as well as Optimizer for sourcing providers and Global for CWS vendors. The personas help companies select which solution provider is right for them. This week’s essay is by Xavier Olivera, our lead analyst for P2P, e-procurement and e-invoicing and who runs Spend Matters Mexico/Latin America.

Regarding solutions for any company, I like the pragmatic, the simple and the beautiful, I think there is no place for the “nice to have,” the unnecessary or the ugly. On the other hand, in a changing, multipolar and competitive world such as business, being resilient and possessing the ability to change course when circumstances require it is undoubtedly a necessity, not nice to have.

Exploring Basware’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Capabilities and Roadmap: Something For AP and Procurement (Part 3)

Artificial intelligence is starting to transform the value proposition of procurement and finance technologies. But it is not just start-ups that are building new capabilities and gaining momentum. Procure-to-pay stalwarts like Basware are making significant investments in the area as well. This Spend Matters PRO brief explores where Basware’s AI investments are appearing in its invoice-to-pay and e-procurement solutions. Part 1 of this series explores Basware’s recent product enhancements, and Part 2 explores 2019 and 2020 roadmap items.

Exploring Basware’s Recent Product Enhancements: Something for AP and Procurement (Part 2)

At its recent Basware Connect 2019 customer event in Chicago, Basware brought together both finance and procurement organizations for two days of learning and in-depth product discussions. During the event last month, Basware spent numerous sessions sharing recent product enhancements, as well as highlighting its own product roadmap path forward.

This Spend Matters PRO brief, the second installment in a three-part series, explores Basware’s roadmap for the following products:

— Data, Analytics and Supplier Management
— Networked Sourcing and Procurement
— Networked Accounts Payable and Payments
— IT Integrations and E-Invoice Sending
— Dynamic Discounting and Financing


And our analysts’ give the key takeaways on each of these areas.

Exploring Basware’s Recent Product Enhancements: Something for AP and Procurement (Part 1)

In April, Basware held its Customer Connect user event in Chicago. During a mainstage talk and break-out sessions, the procure-to-pay provider highlighted a number of recent enhancements and product roadmap areas, including the continued incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) throughout its product line. Based on these presentations and recent Spend Matters SolutionMap RFI analysis, this three-part Spend Matters PRO brief highlights selected recent product enhancements as well as what Basware has in store for AP and procurement customers in the quarters to come based on its product roadmap. It also provides deeper insight into how Basware is embedding AI across its procure-to-pay solutions.

The following enhancements are covered and analyzed (with key takeaways included) in this research brief:

— Approval Confidence Scoring/Index
— Committed Spend
— SmartPDF (Basware’s version of InvoiceSmash/Cloudscan)
— Payment Plan Compliance
— Intelligent Order Aggregation

E-Invoicing: How To Diagnose if Your Deployment and Solution is World-Class

e-invoicing

As our journey to world-class e-invoicing continues in this multi-part Spend Matters Plus research brief, we discuss five additional elements to diagnose the overall scope, capability and coverage of your e-invoicing deployment — and whether or not your solution provider(s) can enable you to get to world-class levels of performance. If you want to catch up on this series, we encourage you to learn about all the components of the first five elements (invoice capture, collaboration/workflow, matching, compliance/validations and mobile enablement) and a broader introduction to the topic in first installment of this series. Finally, we invite Spend Matters practitioner and consulting advisory clients to reach out to us to discuss their existing and planned deployments. E-invoicing is far more complex a solution area to analyze than e-procurement, in large part because solution capabilities and organizational requirements show so much variation compared with each other.

E-Invoicing: What it Takes to Get to World Class

e-invoicing

In this Spend Matters Plus series, we explore what makes run-of-the-mill electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) implementations different from those that are transformative and capable of aligning procurement and accounts payable (A/P) with broader business outcomes and metrics. In this analysis, we delve into topics that are important for procurement and A/P teams to discuss with their solution providers — and prospective providers — to enable a world-class e-invoicing deployment on their terms.

As part of this research brief, we first consider the corporate and public perspective on initiatives (aimed at the private sector), both of which involve differing goals, albeit with the need of the individual company deploying capabilities to keep in mind various sets of requirements regardless. In part, depending on jurisdiction, this dual “master” requirement — the business and government — is something that makes e-invoicing quite unique in the area of procurement technology. Next, we include a list of 10 key elements to diagnose the quality of an e-invoicing deployment and how providers stack up, as well as key e-invoicing questions to evaluate your performance and implementation, trends and value-add services that select e-invoicing providers are addressing. Finally, we provide an e-invoicing architecture framework to construct, deploy and manage a set of enabling capabilities based on your specific requirements.

WPS Management (Wescale): Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis 

Procurement organizations today don’t have to do a lot of legwork to build an initial shortlist for choosing an e-procurement or procure-to-pay solution. A Google search will return dozens of companies vying for your business, and the Spend Matters SolutionMaps for E-Procurement and Procure-to-Pay Suites make the process even simpler, rating top providers of these solutions against specific organizational requirements based on buyer demographics and psychographics.

Figuring out the differences between all of these choices, however, is easier said than done.

One of the key ways procurement organizations can do this is by understanding what type of market a vendor seeks to address. Although in concept the potential market a vendor is targeting could appear similar to how others position their solutions, the reality is that each provider is unique in terms of their best-fit customers, their capabilities and the technological foundations of their platform.

This is especially true of Wescale, which provides P2P functionality fit for a variety of businesses through an open business integration platform approach (PaaS, or platform as a service) not commonly seen from e-procurement or P2P providers in the North American market. For that matter, Berlin-based Wescale is not commonly seen outside of Europe — but to the detriment of potential U.S. and global customers that might overlook it due to its primary geographic focus.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Wescale, the branded name for WPS Management, includes an objective SWOT analysis of the provider and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also has a recommended shortlist of candidates as substitute providers to Wescale as well as provider-selection guidance. Finally, it offers a summary analysis and recommendations for companies that can best take advantage of Wescale’s capabilities.

Part 1 of this series provided an in-depth look at Wescale as a company and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of its solution strengths and weaknesses as well as a review of the user experience.