The P2P Category

10 Reasons For Procurement to Work With Payments (Part 1) [Plus+]

Sometime shortly after the phrase “P2P” was born, we managed to collectively forget what the second “P” meant. As a friendly reminder, it stands for “pay.” Rather than spanning the length of a transaction from an initial order to payment to a vendor, P2P became known (while companies wrote RFPs for solutions and as vendors marketed tools) as the combination of e-procurement and e-invoicing. This duo, while extremely valuable, doesn’t exactly impact payment all that much (if at all).

But payment matters much more than most folks we talk to in procurement think. By taking control of payments, we can, for example, do an end-run around the administration hassles and supplier headaches that poorly run accounts payable (AP) functions create. And this is just one reason to consider getting more involved in payment strategy and execution. In fact, we can think of at least 10 reasons that should factor into a business case for procurement to seize control and initiative around payments.

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Why Mid-Size Companies Need On-Demand Solutions to Conquer Tail Spend

Procurement has firmly entered the tail spend era, and with necessary tools now available to tackle this persistent purchasing problem, supply organizations are finally consolidating costs, cracking down on unauthorized spend and clawing back lost time to deliver real value to their businesses. At least, that’s what the picture is starting to look like at large manufacturers and corporates. Within the typical mid-size firm, however, addressing tail spend still eludes many procurement organizations. The issue is less a challenge of capability than finding a solution that fits their unique business needs.

Coupa R20: Incremental Disruption in Action [PRO]

The Spend Matters analyst team recently spent some time going through a deep dive demo on Coupa R20 and found it to be a solid incremental product release. But in this brief, we wanted to discuss the “revolution through evolution” we saw in addition to the new product details that we cover. Coupa’s product releases are now running about three times per year, and it’s refreshing to see more than 500 clients quickly moving through these releases. Such is the promise of SaaS, right?

R20’s main improvements are focused on services procurement and community-based intelligence, which allows users to extract insights from the B2B data generated within the Coupa buyer and supplier base. The disruptive aspect of R20 is twofold: its attempt to tackle the big nut of services procurement with Services Maestro and its efforts to derive intelligence from its installed base through what it calls "community intelligence."

This last trend is really the most disruptive aspect of what’s happening in digital value chains. It changes the provider value proposition from serving up “empty apps” that process the data of a single customer enterprise to one that provides a collective intelligence derived and captured from mass adoption of cloud-based tools that generate the data used to drive key insights.

There are some potential risks that companies face, however, when platform providers attempt to monetize (directly or indirectly) proprietary commercial information between buyers and sellers. Just as Facebook is not really free to the users who themselves are the “product” sold to advertisers, there’s a similar effect happening with suppliers who can use business networks for free but whose data is aggregated and repackaged in ways they aren’t necessarily aware of.

In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we explore these topics and more, as well as share our initial thoughts on some of the more interesting features in R20.

Zycus: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

Aatish Dedhia, Zycus’s founder, has long preached the benefits of technology provider self-sufficiency, including management-driven investment, profitable growth and organic, suite-based product development. It is based on these principles that Zycus “grew up” from a razor-focused pioneer in the spend classification sector nearly 20 years ago into a strategic procurement technologies suite and, eventually, a full end-to-end source-to-pay (S2P) suite provider. While Zycus has strong comparative solutions depth and capability in certain areas, part of its broader market appeal has been often comparatively low pricing, which we view as a value-based feather in its cap.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether a provider like Zycus, either on a modular or source-to-pay suite basis, is likely to be a strong shortlist candidate for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Zycus for their S2P needs. The remainder of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Developing a Digital Operating Model: GEP Releases 2018 Procurement Outlook Report

trade

GEP recently published its 2018 Procurement Outlook Report, which provides insight on important business and technology trends for procurement and supply chain professionals. Now in its sixth edition, the report tackles changing political and economic policies, emerging technologies and trends in eight major spend categories. And 2018, according to the authors of the report, will be the year for procurement to develop a new digital operating model.

E-Procurement 2018 Trends and Forecast (Part 3: Provider Analysis and Market Sizing) [PRO]

AnyData Solutions

So far in this Spend Matters PRO series exploring 2018 e-procurement trends, we have covered both procurement organization (demand) and technology provider (supply) trends we are seeing in the market. Today we kick off the third and final installment of this series by examining three additional provider trends: the new, resurgent role of B2B e-marketplaces such as Amazon Business; new and varying approaches to chasing tail spend, including e-marketplace models; and the early rise of embedded artificial intelligence (AI) in an e-procurement context. Finally, we conclude this three-part brief with our 2018 market sizing for e-procurement and a list of trends we see driving demand in the market. Don’t forget to read Part 1 (2018 customer e-procurement trends) and Part 2 (2018 provider trends — M&A and B2B/P2P intersections), as well.

The Consequences of Eliminating Purchase Orders (POs) [Plus+]

finance

Should procurement eliminate purchase orders (POs) entirely? This is a daring concept in theory, provided an organization has the right processes and systems to control internal purchasing and buying activities and to protect against mistakes suppliers might create, accidentally or otherwise, for unsuspecting purchasing and accounts payable organizations to correct. These errors could include duplicate invoices, use of substitute products or materials, wrong line-level pricing, invoices based on the wrong quantities and invoices impacted by escalation/de-escalation clauses that are tracked incorrectly.

But procurement has been trained (mostly by control-crazy finance) to require the PO. In fact, think about CPOs touting 100% “no PO, no pay” policies.  Yes, it’s highly controlled, but does it make sense? Are the purported controls worth the cost and risk (in the form of time not monitoring other more important risks)? Procurement and AP organizations considering a “no PO” policy not only need to find ways to protect against these types of errors and mistakes, as well as outright fraud, either supplier-driven or internal. They also need to consider other side issues where key workarounds are necessary

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What Middle-Market Businesses Need From E-Procurement Providers

When it comes to designing e-procurement systems, software providers have largely focused on serving the needs of the large enterprise while ignoring the needs of the middle market. The situation isn’t hopeless, though. As the number of pursuable customers in the large enterprise space begins to dwindle, e-procurement providers will need to change their strategies to attract the SMEs that are not well served by current offerings. To do that, they should focus on three key areas to convert middle market skeptics into e-procurement advocates.

E-Procurement 2018 Trends and Forecast (Part 2: Provider Analysis) [PRO]

The pace of change in the e-procurement market is moving faster than a speeding cXML document flying across the internet. Software vendors are innovating more quickly than ever before; solutions are no longer are just “software” but come preloaded with a dizzying array of additional items that are difficult to compare on an apples-to-apples basis; and customers are coming in smarter both in “new” and “replacement” deals, with greater expectations from provider solutions than ever before, especially the rate at which they’ll begin to realize benefits.

Today we publish the second installment of our 2108 procurement technology trend and forecast series, focusing on solution provider trends and priorities within e-procurement market. Part 2 of this series provides an analysis and exploration of two provider trend areas: continued M&A consolidation expectations in the e-procurement market (fasten your seat belt on this one) and rising procure-to-pay (P2P) and business-to-business (B2B) intersections, including a quantitative look at the rise, definition and size of B2B e-commerce today. Following today’s analysis, the final installment in this series will feature three additional trends and conclude with our 2018 e-procurement market forecast.

So without further adieu, let’s introduce some controversy, data, practitioner recommendations and (hopefully) insight on the first and arguably the most important near-term provider trends Spend Matters is already seeing evidence of early in 2018.

E-Procurement 2018 Trends and Forecast (Part 1: Customers Adoption and Priorities) [PRO]

e-procurement market outlook

You know what they say about predictions? They’re about as common as opinions: everyone has one. This Spend Matters PRO series walks through the trends we are seeing unfold in the market today based on our technology analysis and practitioner research and engagement. So let’s not predict; let’s share and analyze.

Today, we start our 2018 procurement technology trend and forecast series, beginning with customer adoption trends and priorities within the e-procurement market. We’ll explore what customers are valuing most from a selection and deployment perspective in 2018, as well as early trends that are sprouting.

In the second installment of this series, we’ll offer insight into e-procurement technology provider trends and strategies of note, and ask whether these are a good thing for customers (and if not, our recommendations for customers to mitigate risks). We’ll also share our comparative market growth (and sizing) estimates for 2018 compared with last year.

Unlocking Deeper Value in the Procurement and Finance Relationship (Part 1) [Plus+]

finance

Much has been written about the need for procurement and finance organizations to better align with each other, in particular how the two functions can best integrate purchasing and payables into an end-to-end purchase-to-pay (P2P) process. The opportunity for aligning these two functions, however, is much greater than simply improving transaction efficiency. Unfortunately, the various sources of misalignment that plague procurement and finance prevent many businesses from identifying these opportunities in the first place.

The sad part of this story is that the two functions share many common traits. Both seek to:

  • Elevate their value propositions as enabling business partners by providing compelling service offerings — and overcome their perception as bureaucratic corporate overlords
  • Maximize enterprise value and profitable growth through disciplined spend management
  • Spend not just less but better in terms of process efficiency and process effectiveness
  • Use new techniques and technologies to help the business make better decisions that support the above goals
Additionally, these functions should in theory strive to serve each other as internal customers while also enabling the other to deliver higher value to their own internal (and external) customers. Unfortunately, theory has rarely translated into reality, and the result is that each function is leaving money (and risk) on the table.

Procurement can certainly help finance get more value from its suppliers, but it can also help finance improve service delivery in areas such as FP&A, treasury, tax, financial accounting, risk and compliance, commodity management and even accounts payable.

On the flipside, finance can help procurement in multiple ways, namely to help procurement on value-adding activities — including helping finance. This is a classic “help me, help you” moment. If procurement can help finance help procurement (and help finance help itself), then procurement’s value potential can be truly unlocked.

Supplier Retention Seen as Increasingly Important to Businesses, But What About Screening?

suppliers

For today’s executives, achieving supplier retention is increasingly seen as vital to the business. When the payables automation provider Tipalti surveyed executives on issues related to supplier payment, 68% of respondents said that maintaining long-term business relationships with their payees is critically important.