Invoicing Content

What Happens When Machine Learning Finance Models Fail

These are some strange times. Look, we have $16 trillion of negative yielding bonds, that’s T, for trillion. I’m asked by non-financial people why anyone would want to buy negative yields (you pay to hold them, btw) and I reply, it’s not about income, it’s about trading that rates will fall further.

Which got me thinking: If we are in some liquidity trap world and negative interest rate environment, what does that do to all these invoice financial models being built using the latest and greatest in artificial intelligence and machine learning?

GEP: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Solution Overview (Upstream) [PRO]

SciQuest

SMART by GEP is a unified source-to-pay solution platform and, as GEP is quick to point out, it doesn’t sell “single modules as widgets” on a price list. SMART by GEP can, of course, provide its customers with modular functionality. (See Part 1 of this seven-part Spend Matters PRO series for a company overview of the S2P provider, which also has BPO services and consulting.) However, GEP claims that the majority of its new platform customers will continue to embrace full suite adoption from the get-go, versus a minority that will desire a point-based solution at the start.

SMART by GEP is a cloud-based solution, with full integration capabilities into back-end systems, built and hosted on the Microsoft Azure infrastructure. From both platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and hosting perspectives, this brings the same advantages of Amazon Web Services virtualization (e.g., ability to rapidly “scale up” and “scale down” at any layer in the architecture).

But further, the entire GEP platform is Microsoft native, which theoretically means tighter integration into the Microsoft ecosystem of products (e.g., SharePoint, Office, etc.) than competing products. The Azure platform and hosting model provides another layer of scalability insurance for GEP customers.

In Part 2 of this series, we will cover key upstream functional S2P capabilities — spend analysis, category management, sourcing — that GEP offers within the unified SMART by GEP platform:

When is the right time for mid-market digital transformation?

Procurement software providers that target large enterprises get a lot of attention, but the increased use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is raising the profile of vendors who serve a vast group of businesses that also are doing some heavy lifting — the mid-market companies seeking to digitally transform.

One of those providers is Paramount WorkPlace, which focuses on the procure-to-pay areas of e-procurement and e-invoicing for the middle market practitioner. And it also has a sliver of the enterprise market. We talked to Paramount for a Q&A to gauge how it’s helping to deploy technology and aid digital transformation across a range of businesses.

Defining AP Automation Functional Requirements (Part 3): Invoice Mobility, Compliance, Analytics [PRO]

e-invoicing

AP automation capabilities vary dramatically between different software providers, and the capabilities a finance or procurement organization will require to support the automation of AP processes also vary materially, based not only on company size but a broad range of other factors. These include organizational complexity, invoice capturing requirements (e.g., paper, PDF, electronic, etc.), systems complexity, systems integration, industry, EDI integration/support, payment/financing capabilities, treasury integration/working capital management, geography and compliance requirements — to just name a few.

To understand how different providers stack up against these (and other) categories of requirements, the quarterly Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap Insider report can provide significant insight. And to create a one-to-one map between business requirements for AP automation and vendor functionality capability, SolutionMap Accelerator can dramatically speed up the vendor shortlisting and selection process, even allowing companies to “skip the RFI” entirely.

This Spend Matters PRO series defines AP automation requirements from a functional perspective to put AP, finance and purchasing professionals in the driver’s seat when they evaluate the available supply market for AP automation to fit their needs (either on a standalone basis or as a specific component of broader invoice-to-pay, procure-to-pay or source-to-pay solutions). Click to see our SolutionMap rankings of vendors in each category.

Part 1 of this series investigated core invoicing requirements for AP automation and some of the criteria that Global 2000 and middle market organizations should consider when selecting solutions (i.e., invoicing set-up, paper scan/capture support and e-invoicing).

 In Part 2, we turned our attention to an additional set of AP automation functional requirements, including AP process, invoicing validations, workflow, collaboration and integration requirements.

Now, in Part 3, we turn our attention to a final set of AP automation topics: invoicing mobility, invoicing compliance and invoicing analytics.

Shelby Group creates ‘Digital Invoice’ solution to tackle paper invoices

In procurement software projects, consultants usually play a role in tech selection, implementation or training, but The Shelby Group has taken its procurement consulting knowledge even further and created a product — one that can fill a gap that it saw when businesses struggled to deal with paper invoices in the digital age.

In accounts payable departments worldwide, it’s a common problem that paper invoices are still received from countless suppliers of varying sizes, and it’s known that digitally reading those invoices can save time and money if the clear rate can be improved.

The Shelby Group’s Digital Invoice is a powerful solution that clears a majority of invoices (both verified/complete and “close enough”) without human intervention.

Taking the Path of Least Friction for a Successful Payables Strategy

e-invoicing

Inefficient invoice processing is standing in the way of companies achieving their bottom-line targets. The cause is manual, paper-based invoicing systems, which lead to late payments, errors, internal process issues, disputes and damaged relationships with suppliers, among other headaches. In a word, “friction.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. New data is showing that digital AP solutions can eliminate these frictions and streamline invoice processing.

The Payables Friction Index: Barriers to Invoice Automation,” a PYMNTS and Corcentric collaboration, quantifies the issues that businesses experience in processing supplier payments and explains how automated solutions can help ease the pain.

3 tips to improve the ‘first mile’ of your supply chain

Overhauling how your business manages its supply chain is a daunting task, but a good starting point is to look at a segment of the supply chain and focus on three tips: clean your data to improve visibility, automate supplier collaboration and consider what new technology is available to you to make these things happen.

The specific part of the supply chain that many organizations would benefit from focusing on is the “first mile” — when businesses set a solid foundation to work with suppliers, engage services and order direct materials. In our previous article, “How ‘first-mile’ flaws hinder last-mile success,” we discussed the problems that snowball, add to risk and cut into margins.

Now, let’s dig into the top three tips for addressing these problems:

Ivalua: Vendor Snapshot (Part 4) — Product Strengths [PRO]

Global Risk Management Solutions

Anything Ivalua still lacks in global brand and market awareness along with sales/marketing infrastructure and prowess, it makes up for by delivering a source-to-pay platform designed to emphasize functional depth, suite-based capabilities and industry-specific enablement scenarios in the private and public sector. Ivalua delivers a no-compromise set of capabilities and an underlying platform that is most likely to appeal to procurement and IT organizations that want greater flexibility in executing a procurement technology architecture and strategy than what is offered by the majority of suite-based solutions on the market today. Ivalua is generally at the front of the pack in Spend Matters’ “configurator” persona of just about every SolutionMap we look at for our 2019 Q2 results — and the lead dog if the pack includes only the suite vendors.

If you've already read Part 1 of our updated, seven-part vendor snapshot on Ivalua (which includes a detailed company and solution overview), then you know that you're either going to be attracted to the depth, breadth and configurability of the solution — or perhaps overwhelmed by it if you're new to the advanced sourcing and procurement game. With the massive flexibility that comes with massive configurability, there is also a non-trivial degree of configuration settings to pay attention to. (See Part 2 for an upstream solution overview and Part 3 for details on the downstream capabilities.)

In this Part 4 edition of the vendor snapshot, we are going to dive deep into Ivalua's product strengths, providing facts and expert analysis to help a procurement organization decide whether they should shortlist the vendor. Of course, it’s best to read the SolutionMap analysis for all the providers in question. For example, an organization that is putting Ivalua head-to-head with Coupa should compare and contrast what we say here versus what we say in Part 2 of our Coupa vendor snapshot because near-equal scores in SolutionMap do not imply near equal capability in all areas, and definitely not in the areas that might matter to your organization the most.

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

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.

How ‘first-mile’ flaws hinder last-mile success

Businesses want and need to deliver for their customers, and that’s often done by putting a ton of thought and effort into the last mile of the process to ensure success and customer satisfaction. But, while getting products and services to customers is vital, it’s not the first step.

For that, we need to focus on the first mile — that time in any company’s supply chain process where you can set a solid foundation to work with suppliers, engage services and order direct materials. The first mile is just as important as the last mile for meeting customer commitments, and it’s even more important when it comes to maximizing margin, managing inventory and recognizing revenue.

To succeed, you’ll need to improve your processes by implementing a digital transformation. That involves more than using digital forms instead of paper. To truly transform, real-time data and visibility need to be at the heart of how your company runs. Problems in the first mile need a modern solution.

How smart data extraction makes for smart AP automation

What you really want to know when investigating AP automation solution providers is whether the solution has a complete technology, combining OCR (converting images to text), smart data extraction (transforming the text into relevant data) — and machine learning (remembering the data and populating it into the applicable data fields each time the data is recognized). You are looking for a system that gets smarter the more you use it!

Q2 2019 SolutionMap: Contingent Workforce & Services Technology, SPT and S2P suite software providers’ scoring summary reports now available

As part of the Q2 2019 SolutionMap release, the Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT), Source-to-Pay (S2P) suites, and Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) Technology Provider Scoring Summary reports are available today on SolutionMap Insider.