Process and Best Practice Content

Year-end ‘Dash for Cash’ — 7 Steps to Free Up Funds Without Resorting to Tricks

It’s the end of the year, time for New Year’s Resolutions, a little vacation time and Christmas Party hijinks. But the Hackett Group, a business consultant and digital transformation specialist, is cautioning against year-end fiscal shenanigans, where money is shuffled around to make it appear that the company has hit the finish line in full stride. A new paper from the group lamenting the yearly “dash for cash” argues that you can look for sustainable, healthy ways of freeing up cash at the end of the year without pulling any three-card-monty tricks. According to the paper on working capital, many companies think it’s too late at the end of a quarter or year to free up significant cash. But it suggests 7 steps you can still use.

How to Limit Nature’s Impact on the Supply Chain

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Graham Parker, CEO of Gravity Supply Chain Solutions.

Real-time data will provide visibility and inform decision-making that safeguards the supply chain from the unexpected.

Wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes.

These are just a few examples of the types of natural disasters the world has experienced in the last 12 months. With California still reeling from the catastrophic impact of the recent wildfires, it is increasingly evident that natural disasters are becoming a regular occurrence.

T&E Benchmarks: How Does Your Company’s Technology Compare on Handling Travel & Expense Reporting?

Oversight Systems

Companies in the U.S. spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on travel and entertainment — and a study from Certify Inc., an expense report software company, surveyed executives and finance leaders to get a snapshot of how many still use manual methods versus how many have upgraded their T&E management technology. In the study, officials note that travel and entertainment costs can be a significant part of companies’ budgets, which means efficiently managing employees’ expense reports can greatly affect a company’s profits. Since 2013, the “Expense Management Trends Report: Annual T&E Outlook and Benchmarks” by Certify has worked to help companies of various sizes recognize best practices to consider in travel and entertainment reporting and as methods to benchmark such companies’ current processes against their peers.

Efficio Panel Debate: Good Banter, Robot Jokes and 3 Points About the Future of Procurement

Last week in London I participated in one of the livelier and more spirited panel debates on the future of procurement (skills, technology and more) in recent memory. The event, held at Efficio’s offices Thursday to mark the release of its latest report, “Procurement 2025: Is Digital Transformation Driving More Effective Procurement,” included not only a handful of esteemed panelists and facilitators from the procurement/CPO, consulting and academic ranks, but also a robot — which led to many robotic process automation jokes throughout the discourse. If Efficio does something like this again, ask them for an invitation — you won’t be disappointed!

Here are three points that stuck in my mind from the different panel discussions and chats that I had.

Extinction event: Amazon Textract has just killed the OCR industry. Who’s next and who’s safe?

disruption

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Doug Hudgeon, a business automation expert.

The annual Amazon AWS Re:Invent conference has just finished. The most interesting announcement in the conference was not one of high-profile changes to their serverless and machine learning platforms. The most interesting announcement was a three-minute video about Textract, a new OCR (optical character recognition) service from Amazon. This service extracts text and tables from documents and is priced at $1.50 per 1,000 pages.

The Textract OCR service is interesting for three reasons, each of which is worthy of an article in itself, but we'll briefly look at all three here and the industries that are affected.

Join the Coupa Webinar Tomorrow to Learn About Community Intelligence

Spend Matters UK’s procurement veteran Peter Smith on Tuesday will join Coupa’s John Callan for a webinar in the UK about developments in community intelligence, the idea of driving benefits through a community of organizations that are each buying separately but look to collaborate in some way.

Leading procurement/spend management firm Coupa is hosting tomorrow’s event, “Community Intelligence — A Procurement Revolution.” The time of the webinar was changed to accommodate the North American audience, so sign up here and join the 45-minute session at 9 a.m. Central time (3 p.m. UK time), and bring your questions about community intelligence.

“Advances in technology, driven by firms like Coupa, are increasing the potential for benefits from it, making it a significant tool for procurement and one which we believe procurement leaders need to understand,” Smith says in a preview of the event.

Procurement’s New Reality: A Business Case Blueprint for Innovation

Procurement is a critical function, yet it has challenges being seen as a strategic and transformative player, despite its enormous potential to drive enterprise cost savings and growth. However, forward-thinking procurement professionals are radically transforming business as usual and sitting alongside other key changemakers within the enterprise. Many of these forward-thinking procurement leaders have taken note of the huge digital transformation effected by sales over the last 20 years and have applied many of these operational tactics to sourcing. By emulating the sales framework and approach, procurement executives can usher in a new era where they can better establish priorities, allocate resources, engage stakeholders and react to changing directives. In the process, procurement will also deliver maximum business impact, with a new respect there for the taking.

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A Simplified Approach to Indirect Spend Management

digital

The consequences of poor indirect spend management can be costly — overspending, lack of visibility and control, and too many suppliers doing too little. Having poor visibility into your indirect categories means you have no real understanding of your actual spend, cash flow and working capital status. This can lead to an inability to apply cash to the business when needed. Additionally, CFOs often significantly underestimate indirect expenditures. The reality is the lack of visibility into what you are spending day-to-day can be up to 40% of your total spend. Here are four steps to get control of your indirect spend.

Gary Hare Talks Amazon Business and Turning the Internet into the ‘World’s Largest Supplier Network’ (Part 2)

“I think the market is going to move from being buyer-centric ... to supplier-centric. [Suppliers] need help going digital,” says procurement veteran Gary Hare. “We really have no choice if we want to get this right.”

Hare’s assessment came during a discussion about Coupa’s purchase of Aquiire and the future of e-procurement shopping, which he says involves a way of outworking Amazon Business and turning the internet into "the world’s largest supplier network." He knows the issues because until 2009 he led Vinimaya before it rebranded as Aquiire. Hare, now the CEO of Vurbis USA, talks about the future of e-procurement in Part 2 of this Q&A, which has been edited. Part 1 ran Monday.

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The Rise of Conversational UI: How Chatbots are Used in Purchase to Pay

Interaction between humans and computers has progressed rapidly in recent decades; I almost laugh looking back at how recent it was that we did not even have mobile devices and remembering the clunky first versions that did not have anything close to the functionality of smartphones today. But as we’re all hyper aware now — computers and smart devices are ingrained in how we live, work and play, so it’s no surprise that our relationship with technology is going to the next level with innovations like virtual assistants and chatbots.

Gary Hare: Coupa-Aquiire Deal May Signal the ‘Start of True E-procurement for the Mid-market’

BuyerQuest

After Coupa bought Aquiire in October, procurement veteran Gary Hare said in a Spend Matters interview that the deal “surely sends a signal, but maybe not an obvious one.” Hare knows where Aquiire came from and possibly where this acquisition is taking Coupa. He knows because until 2009 he led Vinimaya before it morphed into Aquiire — back when the company got several of the patents that Coupa hopes will propel it forward. So read about the future of e-procurement in this Q&A, which will appear in two parts.

Blockchain Can Pay Off for XaaS Businesses and Others That Don’t Dismiss It, Study Says

blockchain

As the potential for blockchain usage moves beyond its roots in digital currency, a new study sheds light on how blockchain can bolster “everything-as-a-service” (XaaS) business models, now pervasive in the e-procurement area. “For the emerging ‘everything-as-a-service’ delivery model, blockchain application code will be a key to enabling pay-by-the-use arrangements between service providers and consumers,” says the study by The Hackett Group.