Excitement in the e-Invoicing world from Tradeshift and Basware

We have confessed before to finding e-Invoicing well... just a little dull. The excellent Pete Loughlin at Purchasing Insight can get very excited about the technicalities of OCR data capture and suchlike but somehow.. it's never really moved me in the way a good supplier risk management strategy or well-designed sourcing event can do.

But maybe things are changing. Recent developments from leaders in the market – Basware and Tradeshift in particular – threaten to make it really quite interesting.

Basware launched their new platform recently – Alusta - and we'll be featuring more detail on it shortly.  But is it a platform at all? Mr Loughlin says; "Neither is it just a platform. It’s an approach, a philosophy, a road map". So a fair bit to consider there.

Meanwhile, Tradeshift, the upstarts, “disruptive technology” folk of this particular world, launched Cloudscan recently. Jason Busch has just reviewed the product very thoroughly, here and here, and rather than duplicating I would just recommend you take a look at his articles if this topic is of interest to you.

But in brief, Cloudscan is a service through which suppliers can transmit invoices to customers - at its simplest, they can just scan then and email them to "the cloud".  But the really clever aspect is how it acts as a “supplier on-boarding” process by stealth as Jason puts it. So once suppliers have loaded invoices into the system, they are prompted to give further information until – hey presto – they have provided all the info that buyers will need for most of their supplier relationships.

It also plays very strongly to a theme we've mentioned a number of times now – the way that business to business software is mimicking consumer products in terms of a desire to encourage collaborative, social communication and interaction. So the “forms” that suppliers complete in Cloudscan don't look like traditional company registration documents; they resemble more a Twitter or Facebook type interface, being user friendly and pretty much idiot proof!

It's clear that Tradeshift see invoicing as merely a bridgehead into potentially much wider service provision around the whole supplier /  buyer interface. As such they're a competitive threat to many firms who may not even have them even on their distant radar at the moment. And certainly anyone in markets including e-invoicing, wider P2P, supplier information management and supplier / buyer networks should be watching them very carefully.

If Jason's analysis is correct – and it usually is in these matters – Cloudscan is impressive and likely to help Tradeshift's rapid early growth continue. So watch this space as e-Invoicing becomes sexy!

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Voices (4)

  1. Jason Busch:

    And even Mark Hoffman is back! Yes he is … more on this later. The late 90s again, but hopefully with 50X the product substance for P2P …

    1. Christian Lanng (CEO Tradeshift):

      Agree completely with you Jason, without product substance there is a very real risk that the “new” revolution will fail and I think one of the challenges is going to be to sort the real innovation from vaporware, as the incumbents start to realize that they need to improve their game.

      We are not so worried, CloudScan is just the first shot, we have plenty in the pipeline.

  2. Pete from Purchasing Insight:

    I do get excited and the reason is this. The buzz in the e-invoicing world, as well as the e-proc world, feels very like the late 1990’s. It’s not directly comparable – we have a global financial crisis for a start – but innovators are innovating and investors are getting it.

    Tradeshift will do well because they’re young nimble and have decent backing. Basware have, in my opinion, guaranteed their position at the top table for the foreseeable future with a wise move toward “holistic” purchase to pay. (Some of their peers could learn from that.)

    So yes, it is exciting. Very exciting!

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