Invoicing Content

Mastercard Track: A Gateway to a New Kind of B2B Ecosystem (Part 2) — SWOT Analysis and Market Implications [PRO]

Over a decade ago, American Express led the payments way in making innovative investments aimed at procurement organizations and their suppliers, primarily through its venture and partnership arms. (Remember MarketMile/Ketera, anyone?) But more recently, it appears that Mastercard has picked up the B2B innovation mantle, opting to organically build a solution aimed at buyers and suppliers with procurement front and center in the business case crosshairs. This new solution, Track, surprised us in multiple ways (click here for an introduction to Track), especially for its audacious supplier network vision (and we might add also for what it is not doing, at least not yet).

Is the tail of Mastercard’s new supplier network offering — comprised of a trade directory, supply risk monitoring capability and payment ledger — wagging the payments dog? The answer might surprise you. This purebred procurement solution can hunt without even hinting at the need to enable a virtual or corporate card swipe.

Indeed, with its new Track solution, Mastercard appears quite serious about the procurement and supplier management market beyond just finding creative ways of leveraging its rails to enable payments. With this new product release, Mastercard stands in contrast to American Express, among others, which still appears to be taking the same old B2B payments and financing pooch out for a walk, albeit with an updated veneer for the digital working capital era.

But before we drown in our doggy metaphors, let’s analyze what’s good — and what’s not so good — about Mastercard’s first generation Track release and what it means for procurement organizations, supporting services providers (e.g., consultancies) and the procurement technology sector as a whole.

Mastercard Track: A Gateway to a New Kind of B2B Ecosystem (Part 1) — Vendor Introduction and Solution Overview [PRO]

B2B payments represent a significant opportunity for payments providers. Within the U.S. alone, Deloitte research suggests that B2B payments are expected to reach $23.1 trillion by 2020, following a 5.8% CAGR since 2014, with large enterprises accounting for more than 60% of all transaction volume. Financial institutions, however, have placed comparatively less emphasis on the B2B space in favor of B2C transactions, which in spite of their smaller relative total size present less complexity in terms of technological and process problems to solve. Yet this is beginning to change. Banks, payment providers and other institutions are doubling down on the opportunities in B2B, and some are even starting to get their foot in the door by offering software targeted toward procurement organizations. For example, Mastercard has been rolling out its new Track solution in partnership with major banks and P2P and S2P suite providers and via public demonstrations at vendor conferences like Basware Connect and Ivalua NOW. Following the integration of Track’s payment capabilities with Singapore’s Networked Trade Platform (NTP) last year, Mastercard is getting its procurement technology start in, of all things, supplier master data and risk management. This may seem like an odd fit, especially when there are other technology providers offering similar — or in some cases, far more sophisticated — tools for managing supplier data and tracking third-party risk. As many B2B “old timers” know, banks and payment networks (Mastercard included) have been trying to insert themselves into P2P processes for nearly 20 years, and the results have been a failure every time, because they were always about funneling the transactions to their payment networks in order to charge suppliers 2% to 3% processing fees. This relegated these initial efforts to tail spend and highlighted how they couldn’t add value to the broader S2P process.

But we think this solution from Mastercard actually has huge potential and will likely be a market disruptor. Why? Well, from a practitioner standpoint, what would you think of a vendor who took all your supplier master data and then ran it through its “magic engine” and then showed you all the duplicates and supplier risk warning flags — and they did this on a freemium basis? That should catch your attention. And it should catch the competitive attention of D&B, LexisNexis, supplier networks, supplier risk/intelligence providers, supplier discovery tools and others that play in this space, as well as the partnering attention of S2P application providers that want an instant supplier network partner that can do more than process low-dollar transactions on a payment network.

Mastercard is just starting the first act of a longer, platform-based play, and the question today is simple: Is this “priceless” MDM and supplier risk solution worth a look? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Because unlike other services in the space, Track takes the long view, supporting Mastercard’s aspiration to enable and connect into a global B2B ecosystem of multiple services, from business identity and risk management to payment facilitation and trade finance. And while we expect many of Track’s initial capabilities and partner offerings to evolve over time — what Mastercard has been publicly demonstrating over the past several months is more of a minimum viable product than a fully matured and battle-tested solution — the first cut is worthy of a deeper dive.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Mastercard Track and its initial capabilities. Part 1 includes an introduction of Mastercard’s offering and a breakdown what the solution can (and can’t) currently do. Part 2 will provide a SWOT analysis and our key recommendations to interested parties (procurement organizations, technology providers, supporting services providers) evaluating Track as encountered through partner P2P or S2P providers.

Procurement Information Architecture and B2B Connectivity: Intel takes RosettaNet into the Future (Part 2) [Plus+]

Editor's note: This is a refresh of our 2014 series on RosettaNet and B2B connectivity, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. Read Part 1 here

One of the more curious aspects of the Intel Israel Nipendo implementation (tied into Intel’s RosettaNet standard deployment) for supplier connectivity is that the system realizes a greater percentage of “straight-through processing” (i.e., no human intervention from the PO creation through to supplier payment) than a traditional RosettaNet implementation. The platform provides an innovative and automated pre-validation service that uses a self-service “training” capability, allowing the trading partners themselves to establish the business validation rules and other key system behavior that ensures smooth downstream processing. Read on for discussion of local requirements and a list of key takeaways.

Accrualify: Vendor Introduction (Part 3) — SWOT, Competitive Placement and Customer Recommendations [PRO]

Accrualify is a new breed of finance-oriented solution that targets a range of procurement and payables processes. It is one of a handful of vendors that, especially within the middle market, can offer solutions that solve the needs of finance and procurement organizations directly. While Accrualify’s AP automation and procurement capabilities are not as robust as some, the overall package and approach could present a more attractive use case for nimble solution buyers with specific requirements in mind.

In Part 3 of Spend Matters’ PRO series examining Accrualify, we turn our attention to placing the provider in a competitive context of a new breed of solutions targeting finance and procurement, offer a strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats (SWOT) framework and conclude with recommendations for potential customers. (See Part 1 for an introduction to the provider as well as Part 2 for its solution strengths and weaknesses.)

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Accrualify: Vendor Introduction (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

In our initial research brief on Accrualify, we introduced the four-year-old provider based out of San Mateo, California. The upstart procurement and finance technology vendor offers a unique set of technology capabilities to manage specific components of the invoice-to-pay cycle, as well as adjacent areas like basic requisitioning and broader accruals management.

The first part of this brief provided an overview of Accrualify’s offering and a short selection requirements checklist that outlined the typical company for which Accrualify might be a good fit. In today’s installment (Part 2), we provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, exploring Accrualify’s “positives” and “negatives.”

Can Source-to-Pay Networks Go Beyond the Approved Invoice?

e-invoicing

Many source-to-pay (S2P) networks struggle to monetize their supplier ecosystem, and a few are looking to change things by using their network data to be more innovative with early pay finance, particularly invoice finance.

For those not familiar with invoice finance, there are three stages where it can be done:

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.

2019 M&A and Investment Dynamics For Procurement Technology and Solutions: Segmenting the Market (Part 1) [PRO]

Private equity — and other — buyout and M&A interest in the procurement solutions market is at an all-time high. We define procurement solutions as technologies and services that target a range of areas that include:

— Core procurement (i.e., source-to-pay, procure-to-pay, etc.)
— Direct procurement
— Services procurement
— Contract management (that goes beyond supplier contracts)
— Accounts payable
— Trade financing (B2B Fintech)
— B2B (transactional connectivity, marketplaces, aggregation and GPO models)
— Third-party (supplier) management from a GRC standpoint as much as from a procurement standpoint

This multi-part Spend Matters PRO research brief explores the “who” (i.e., what types of companies are attracting the most interest and the profile of different buyers), the “why” (i.e, typical investment theses) and the “how” (i.e., the mechanics of deal processes and what is unique to the solution area, including where buyers that are new to the sector often have a higher learning curve than expected). It also explores some important dynamics in the market that have changed in recent months as buyer interest from both the strategic and financial sides increases.

Today we begin by exploring the “who” by segmenting the types of targets that are garnering the most attention into 10 areas and exploring the first five in detail (procurement technology suites, transaction-focused solutions, payment/financing providers, nimble solutions and leveraged buying / GPO models), including sharing illustrative providers in each segment and why buyers are attracted to each group.

* Our parent company, Azul Partners, has directly advised on more than half a dozen transactions in recent quarters, primarily working in a due diligence and strategy capacity for both strategic and financial buyers, leveraging our proprietary SolutionMap benchmark database, customer satisfaction/peer review benchmarks, PRO research, SolutionMap Insider research, and deep domain knowledge. Azul Partners works with investors in two ways. First, we partner with clients as exclusively retained subject matter experts in these markets. Second, we serve as an “arms dealers,” providing subscription research to hundreds of clients.

Accrualify: Vendor Introduction (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

procurement

Most of the well-known solution providers in the P2P space got their start in one of two ways. They either began with improving on the e-procurement experience offered by ERP, pursuing an “Amazon-like” user experience for frontline buyers and then moving to invoicing and payments; or, they focused on the problems of invoice capture, validation and processing, expanding from AP automation to full invoice-to-pay support and later building or acquiring e-procurement functionality. Both approaches eventually allowed such providers to link the two “Ps” in P2P, bringing procurement and finance activities together under one technology roof.

Accrualify, the subject of this three-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction, has taken neither approach. Rather, the San Mateo, California-based provider started, in 2015, with tracking accruals and enabling simple B2B payments. It later built out functionality for AP automation and eventually PO management and requisitioning, giving it what we would call an almost complete P2P solution under the Spend Matters P2P SolutionMap methodology. Yet even without the catalog management and ordering functionality that would give it true e-procurement support, Accrualify has managed in four short years to build a commendable set of I2P capabilities, ones well-suited to the mid-market, as customers such as BitTorrent, Helix, FloQast, Lookout and Getaround can attest.

This Vendor Introduction series offers a candid take on Accrualify and its capabilities. The series will include an overview of Accrualify’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis, and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

Procurement Information Architecture and B2B Connectivity: Intel takes RosettaNet into the Future (Part 1) [Plus+]

Editor's note: This is a refresh of our 2014 series on RosettaNet and B2B connectivity, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO.

Intel is one of the oldest advocates (and active users, in terms of volume) of RosettaNet as a replacement for traditional EDI connectivity. RosettaNet, a set of process and information connectivity standards based on XML (Extensible Markup Language) originally founded in the late ‘90s, was originally spearheaded by a number of large corporations in the high-tech manufacturing sector. Like EDI, RosettaNet has historically only made sense for larger direct material (e.g., manufactured parts, components, or materials) suppliers or customers. Yet, RosettaNet’s implementations, like those in traditional EDI deployments, have focused primarily on connecting large buyers and/or suppliers for purchase orders, invoices, advanced ship notifications, and other typical high-volume commercial documents. Intel suggests on its own website that the typical criteria for suppliers is that the vendor “should have an interest and the resources necessary to automate their business processes."

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

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.