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Symbeo: Vendor Analysis (Part 2 — Solution Strengths and Weaknesses)

In Part 1 of this two-part Spend Matters PRO series, we introduced you to Symbeo, a long-established company based out of Portland, Oregon, that offers invoice conversion services and AP automation technology globally. By deploying not only its SaaS solution for managing AP processes but also handling the full scope of invoice receipt, capture and validation, Symbeo covers a gaping hole in the AP cycle that most businesses need help addressing — especially when it comes to handling paper invoices. And while its approach and capabilities apply more to one side of the market than the other, the depth of its processes and technology leave a lot to be admired. Whether Symbeo is a fit for a procurement or AP organization’s unique challenges and needs, however, will come down to how exactly the AP cycle is perceived.

Part 1 of this brief provided some background on Symbeo and an overview of its offering. In Part 2, we provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis and a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which Symbeo might be a good fit. We also give some final conclusions and takeaways.

Symbeo: Vendor Analysis (Part 1 — Background and Solution Overview)

AP automation can be a nebulous term. The exact scope of what business processes that a solution provider intends to automate, as well as whether automation covers truly hands-off processing or mere acceleration through digitization, can vary by the vendor. Generally, no vendor does everything comprehensively from end to end. Some can check the boxes in every part of the AP cycle, but none can check every box across the board.

Take, for example, paper invoice processing. Today’s major procure-to-pay solutions will tell procurement and AP organizations they can process all of their invoices digitally, using OCR-based technology and, in some cases, AI-based correction of that capture. But those invoices need to be captured by the P2P solution in a digital format, and then corrected by a human, as OCR accuracy rates, while admittedly improving, are still far from perfect. So if those organizations still receive invoices as paper — which, depending on the source, still can account for as much as 75% of all invoices sent — a standard SaaS AP automation solution would be insufficient to truly automate the AP cycle.

For small and mid-size businesses that don’t receive a large volume of invoices, an internal mailroom and a set of scanners may be enough to account for this imbalance. But for a large multinational corporation, manually scanning and capturing data from thousands of invoices a day quickly becomes a cost center.

This is the point where many multinational corporations call in a company like Symbeo.

Founded in 1983, Symbeo is a provider of invoice conversion services and AP automation technology. The Portland, Oregon-based company exhibits particular strengths in the receipt, capture and processing of manual invoices, including fax, email and paper-based invoices, using a comprehensive “human in the loop” process to maximize efficiency and accuracy. It also provides a SaaS solution for AP automation with an emphasis on exception handling, approvals and invoice collaboration, which depending on organizational requirements can be more than enough or just a starting point.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Symbeo and its capabilities. The first part of this brief includes a company history and an overview of Symbeo’s offering. The second part of this brief provides a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis, a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which Symbeo might be a good fit, and some market implications and takeaways.