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Why Platforms Need to Monetize Their Supplier Ecosystem

Because P2P solutions started giving away supplier portals, cash flow optimizers, analytics, support, etc., they closed a revenue door. Trying to build a sustainable business model when half your ecosystem is not monetized is very challenging, even as P2P platforms add features and functionality. Sure, many platforms are trying to figure out payments, and that is something that scares the bejeebers out of them due to regulations and compliance rules. (Don’t pay that blacklisted vendor or person, or else.) But payments is not a profitable business for platforms, it’s a service.

Basware: In the Opinion of ‘The Emperor’

I recently shared some quick thoughts on the evolution of Basware, a provider that is arguably making a complicated set of transitions, perhaps even more complex than what Ariba went through as it morphed from an enterprise software company to a cloud- and network-based purchase-to-pay (P2P) vendor, before SAP acquired it. But I would be remiss in commenting on Basware without referring Trade Financing Matters readers to a great post, Basware = Sciquest + Tungsten?, by my old frenemy, Bob Solomon. Bob’s got a heart of gold, but he’s also the one who came up with the Ariba network pricing model while running the Ariba network business – which practically makes him the equivalent of a Sith lord.

Figuring Out Basware in the P2P and Trade Financing Equation

Cloud P2P

Basware doesn’t enjoy sitting still. When I first dove into the provider in the early days of Spend Matters, it was deeply rooted in the enterprise software business with arguably the strongest accounts payable automation capability, as well as e-invoicing, limited e-procurement and even core financials, which is where it began serving the needs of Nordic companies. The company appears to be making greater strides in its cloud offerings in recent quarters as the product set has matured, but the big question is whether Basware’s P2P, e-invoicing and supplier network capability is just a Trojan horse for a new business model built on financing.