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Tradeshift Pay overview: Connectivity as a bridge to finance

Back in May 2018, Tradeshift announced Tradeshift Pay, and proclaimed it was the industry’s first end-to-end cloud platform for supply chain payments and finance, including blockchain-based financing. At that time, very few source-to-pay vendors had any type of payment offering. What those solutions provided was an approved payment request, which involved matching the invoice with documents (purchase orders, packing slips, etc.) and changing the payment status to approved for payment, or “OK-to-pay.” Once the approved payment reached its scheduled pay date, based on the specified payment terms, it was paid.

Some of the e-procurement vendors were developing payment punchout capabilities for catalog purchases, using a virtual card to pay suppliers. Almost no one had any money transmitter license, bulk payment capabilities, cross-border payments, digital wallets or other payment capabilities.

Now in 2020, the source-to-pay world has recognized that the payment gap needs to be closed. Offering capabilities around sourcing, e-procurement, AP automation, spend analytics and other important modules without providing the payment capabilities was not truly a source-to-pay, invoice-to-pay or procure-to-pay solution.

The question was how to do this. S2P, I2P, P2P and AP automation vendors (like Coupa, Tipalti, SAP Ariba) have taken different roadmaps.

In Tradeshift Pay’s case, the focus is providing a digital solution for buyer payments while providing sellers on the network early finance opportunities. The prime objective of the Tradeshift Cash solution is to help sellers get paid earlier for their invoices to address supply chain liquidity. Tradeshift built a solution that can get its network suppliers paid much faster — from an average of 30 to 45 days in the European Union and U.S. down to a couple of days.

Tradeshift Pay is built around invoice automation to get the invoice ready to be paid. But through the integration with Tradeshift Cash, sellers can now be paid before the invoice has been approved. Tradeshift has built a receivable finance solution that ties in their network transactions with their network and third -party data to provide receivables finance.

Let’s take a closer look at how Tradeshift Pay works.

Updated! CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: Procure-to-pay (P2P) keeps the cash flowing during the crisis

Updated April 24: This installment of our Coronavirus Response series has been updated with a profile of a solution that can help with payment automation on a global scale — and because of the COVID-19 disruptions, a special offer has been extended to guilds, nonprofits and trade groups to get free access to the solution. Note: New passages in this post are italicized, and the new profile is toward the bottom.

In this installment of our “Coronavirus Response” series, Spend Matters will focus on procure-to-pay solutions and how they can help manage cash flow during a crisis.

The mission of this PRO series is to examine categories of relevant solutions (and example providers) that professionals in procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should investigate to reduce, and even mitigate, coronavirus supply risk. And even if the solutions are only addressing a subset of the issues, the ability to respond intelligently in the short term can also help set organizations up for the future when sanity returns to the world.

This article addresses the fourth category of the seven we currently have outlined:

1. Supply risk management solutions that include supply chain risk, CSR risk, supplier financial risk, etc. (Read this category’s PRO analysis and solution recommendations here.)
2. Sourcing and commodity management, including advanced sourcing, direct sourcing, automated supplier discovery, and commodity management to help dynamically plan and source. (This category was updated April 23 and is discussed in-depth here.)
3. Advanced procurement analytics to enable direct procurement and/or to perform “spend planning” when demand drops out or spikes. (Its profile for this series was updated April 22 and is available here.)
4. Procure to Pay (P2P) that emphasizes working capital, dynamic discounting, payment control and related finance priorities to help inject cash into the P2P process — especially for many cash-starved suppliers.
5. Fraud, P2P and vendor management safeguards when new suppliers need to be set up quickly, and also when lowlife fraudsters try to use the pandemic as a way to steal money and IP. (Its profile for this series is here.)
6. Providers with deep contract analytics that can analyze a contract portfolio for affected contracts from suppliers (and customers) for not just force majeure clauses, but other related clauses that tie to the multiple risks popping up at once in the pandemic. (Read in-depth detail on this category here.)
7. Contingent Workforce and Services solutions that are able to, at a minimum, help rapidly ramp up on-demand workers to deal with massive resource shortfalls. We are looking at four categories of solutions: for sourcing remote/online work; solutions for sourcing and managing mobile-first contract workers anywhere you need them; solutions to “direct source” and manage contract workers; and solutions for data management and analytics.

Owing to the magnitude of the crisis, Spend Matters recently made the series introduction available for free to all readers. PRO subscribers can see our follow-up pieces that profile the other categories and their solutions in that market. We will include a lot of information on each category PRO brief that readers can see without hitting a paywall, but since we also draw heavily from our existing deep-dive analysis of the providers from our SolutionMap database, some information will be available only to our PRO subscribers.

We began our coverage of procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions from three of the P2P suite players (Basware, Tradeshift and Coupa) with particular strengths in emphasizing working capital, dynamic discounting, payment control and related finance priorities to help inject cash into the supply base (especially harder hit suppliers in need of cash) via the P2P process.

In this update, we’re also profiling an AP automation solution from Tipalti that can do e-invoicing and automate payments on a global scale. The solution facilitates cross-border payments in 120 currencies via multiple payment methods. In response to the coronavirus crisis, it is offering guilds, nonprofits and trade groups free access to its platform for a year.

These initial three vendors, while each unique in the P2P/financing space, all have deep capabilities in payment automation and financing programs — like intermediate trade financing and not just basic non-intermediated early pay discount execution. Tipalti also has robust supplier management and early payment capabilities.

If your organization doesn't have a P2P platform with payment and financing capabilities, one of these platforms could be the most fit-for-purpose, off-the-shelf solution to help you preserve, deploy or have access to cash through the COVID-19 crisis, but obviously longer-term too.

If other practitioners, providers or consultants would like to contribute to coverage in this category, please let us know or fill out this survey.

Each category-specific PRO piece in this series will have three sections:

1. Problems and Use Cases. We’ll highlight the problems in force (which will vary through different phases of the crisis) and the various scenarios where solutions can provide deeper insights, intelligence and scalable workflows.
2. Solution Rationale and Value. We’ll outline how various solutions can help solve the problems and the specific questions that they’ll help answer.
3. Example Providers. We’ll highlight the solution providers that can support the problems and deliver some value.

Some providers are offering COVID-specific programs and “freemium” commercial offers, and we’ll note those whenever we update this piece. We’ll also start the series with providers that we already have deep knowledge on, but we’ve been seeking information from other vendors too.

OK, let's dive into the power of P2P solutions.

Through April 2020, a special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off — Learn more

Tradeshift: Vendor Analysis Update (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis

Tradeshift embarked on building both an applications and platform technology business at the same time. Flash forward less than a decade since the provider launched, Tradeshift has remained true to this vision. But how does the provider stack up to others in the market given it can be difficult to compare it with traditional cloud applications providers without the platform element? And how should prospective customers know when to consider Tradeshift vs. others?

Part 3 of Spend Matters’ Vendor Snapshot Update series explores these questions and others. This PRO report provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Tradeshift’s solutions and products. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Tradeshift in the procurement, supply chain and finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers a competitor and SWOT analysis, along with evaluation and selection considerations.

Tradeshift: Vendor Analysis Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

FM Global Resilience Index

Besides the likes of “mega” players like Amazon Business, is there a market for marketplaces? When Tradeshift embarked on its journey to create a platform between organizations in 2010, it had to believe such a need would eventually become mainstream, otherwise its vision and reality would fail to intersect. Fortunately for those that backed Tradeshift’s initial hypothesis, less than a decade since launching, more companies — not just early adopters — are becoming aware of what a platform concept can deliver beyond business applications.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update adds to last year’s Tradeshift strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations decide whether they should consider the provider from both an applications and marketplace/platform perspective. Look for updates on global support, the AI-assistant Ada, analytics, channel/systems integration partner networks, and customer value.

Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview centered on Tradeshift’s business applications, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering the provider. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

Tradeshift is a cloud platform that connects buyers and suppliers with the goal of digitizing supply chain relationships, processes and information, while also enabling everyday procure-to-pay activities. Its capabilities span the buying of goods and services through to financing and payment — and significant capability in between, especially in the invoice-to-pay area.

In addition to providing its own procure-to-pay modules, Tradeshift offers an open integration framework that allows other technology firms (and customers) to integrate and/or development third-party apps, primarily centered on supplier connectivity, transaction enablement and collaboration. Tradeshift can even integrate alternative procure-to-pay providers in cases where specific enabling capability is desired.

This three-part Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an update on Tradeshift capabilities, both as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider and as an e-procurement and invoice-to-pay technology vendor.

The updates since last year's review include information about real-time collaboration; a single sign-on; centralized access to POs, invoices, etc.; an AI-assisted chatbot named Ada; buying topics about GPOs and direct materials; global support; and new sections on payments/trade financing, analytics, services, integration and technology like blockchain.

The PRO analysis is designed to provide facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether they should consider Tradeshift for both traditional “in-the-box” procure-to-pay requirements as well as unique marketplace/platform-type digital initiatives.

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 Tradeshift as a complement to other procurement and finance solutions. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Tradeshift

As part of the SolutionMap RFI process, Spend Matters continuously solicits customer references to determine a procurement technology provider’s placement on the ranking graphics. This is a Spend Matters curated summary of verified customer feedback for Tradeshift, a SolutionMap-ranked provider.

Tradeshift Buys Babelway: A ‘First Take’ Analysis

Earlier today, Tradeshift announced it had acquired Babelway — a technology provider that straddles the line between a cloud integration broker/hub and electronic data interchange (EDI) enablement. It will provide integration services to Tradeshift customers.

This Spend Matters PRO “First Take” analysis offers additional insight on what we know about Babelway and what it does (in plain English), insight into the acquisition/rationale, and a cursory analysis of what it means to Tradeshift customers, partners and competitors.

Tradeshift: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis

Unlike Salesforce, Tradeshift embarked on building both an applications and platform technology business at the same time, commingling the value proposition of each to create something that it hoped would prove larger than either could be individually. Flash forward less than a decade since the provider launched, and Tradeshift has remained true to this vision. But how does the provider stack up to others in the market given it can be difficult to compare it with traditional cloud applications providers without the platform element? And how should prospective customers know when to consider Tradeshift vs. others?

Part 3 of this Vendor Snapshot series explores these questions and others. This Spend Matters PRO report provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Tradeshift’s solutions and products. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Tradeshift in the procurement, supply chain and finance technology areas. Part 2 covered product strengths and weaknesses, and this final installment offers a competitor and SWOT analysis, along with evaluation and selection considerations.

Tradeshift: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

Besides the likes of “mega” players like Amazon Business, is there a market for marketplaces? When Tradeshift embarked on its journey to create a platform between organizations in 2010, it had to believe such a need would eventually become mainstream, otherwise its vision and reality would fail to intersect. Fortunately for those that backed Tradeshift’s initial hypothesis, less than a decade since launching, more companies — not just early adopters — are becoming aware of what a platform concept can deliver beyond business applications.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Tradeshift’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations decide whether they should consider the provider from both an applications and marketplace/platform perspective. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview centered on Tradeshift’s business applications, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering the provider. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

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

Tradeshift is a cloud platform that connects buyers and suppliers with the goal of digitizing supply chain relationships, processes and information, while also enabling everyday procure-to-pay activities. Its capabilities span the buying of goods and services through to financing and payment — and significant capability in between, especially in the invoice-to-pay area.

In addition to providing its own procure-to-pay modules, Tradeshift offers an open integration framework that allows other technology firms (and customers) to integrate and/or development third-party “apps,” primarily centered on supplier connectivity, transaction enablement and collaboration. Tradeshift can even integrate alternative procure-to-pay providers in cases where specific enabling capability is desired.

This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides an introduction to Tradeshift, both as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider and also as an e-procurement and invoice-to-pay technology vendor. It is designed to provide facts and expert analysis to help procurement and finance organizations make informed decisions about whether they should consider Tradeshift for both traditional “in-the-box” procure-to-pay requirements as well as unique marketplace/platform type digital initiatives.

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 Tradeshift as a complement to other procurement and finance solutions. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Tradeshift: What Makes It Great (Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap Analysis)

invoice

There has been no greater transformation from a vendor in the procurement and finance software sectors than Tradeshift’s growth in recent years. Within the solution category Spend Matters terms invoice-to-pay — which includes accounts payable (AP) automation, e-invoicing, receivables and payables financing, supplier networks and related capabilities — Tradeshift is now one of the top-performing vendors based on demonstrated technology capability in the Q2 2018 Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap.

Tradeshift has differentiated its invoicing and payments solutions in a number of functional areas. As the Q2 2018 Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap illustrates, Tradeshift delivers above-the-benchmark functional capability in over 80% of the requirements that Spend Matters tracks. Its SolutionMap performance provides compelling evidence that the provider is a must-shortlist candidate for all invoice-to-pay buying scenarios.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Tradeshift vs. SAP Ariba: E-Invoicing and Supplier Network Evaluation and Head-to-Head Comparison

In its early years, Tradeshift was a thorn in the side of SAP Ariba in a handful of strategic accounts. More recently, as Tradeshift transitioned from operating at least in part (previously) on the PowerPoint platform to its own, the provider has emerged as more than just a credible threat and is now an everyday competitor to SAP Ariba, Basware, Coupa and many others.

Tradeshift has real, proven capability today. Through the Spend Matters SolutionMap process, we’ve benchmarked its solution on a functional and customer satisfaction basis across hundreds of procure-to-pay functional and customer satisfaction areas 20 competitors. And when we talk about functional analysis, we’re talking about actual product demonstrations of real GA product.

SAP Ariba and Tradeshift are among the two strongest invoice-to-pay providers in Spend Matters Q2 2018 Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap on a functional scoring basis. But how do they stack up against each other in a head-to-head battle, especially when considering core e-invoicing and supplier network capabilities as part of the invoice-to-pay solution area?

Join us in this unfiltered head-to-head SolutionMap results analysis from our Q2 2018 dataset, along with the commentary of the Spend Matters analyst team. We will be writing “Head-to-Head” columns on a regular basis, sharing the insights of each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers and providing unique comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data, along with the trademark quips that have defined Spend Matters since its inception.

Not an Insider member yet? Here’s a preview: In certain invoice-to-pay categories — which include supplier network, configurability, technology (overall), general services, invoicing setup, invoicing creation/capturing/submission, services invoicing and contract invoicing, invoicing collaboration, invoice validations/approvals, invoice integrations, invoicing compliance, invoice mobility, invoicing analytics, payment/financing and overall invoice-to-pay scoring — SAP Ariba comes out on top. In fact, SAP Ariba, on a straight line, “Deep” persona invoice-to-pay functional basis factoring into account all scoring criteria, is the top performing solution on an analyst scoring basis in Q2 2018.

But in specific categories, Tradeshift wins the race. And overall, the results specific to core accounts payable and invoice/document automation might surprise companies that think experience and size triumph over youthful ambition. Perhaps more important, the SAP Ariba vs. Tradeshift head-to-head shows that one size does not fit all for e-invoicing and associated capabilities. There’s no debate that invoice-to-pay selection processes will reward those procurement and finance organizations that tailor provider selection to their specific needs.

The Q2 2018 Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap benchmark is now based on an underlying dataset featuring 13 separate providers, including nearly all of the must-shortlist invoice-to-pay technology providers procurement organizations can expect to consider in a typical selection process (as well as those they should consider but might overlook). Whether you’re in the market for a new invoice-to-pay product or just want to know if you made the right decision for your organization, our SolutionMap analysis and benchmark data can tell you the answer. Curious to learn more? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.