By The Direct Commerce Team
Join industry experts Bruce Hanavan, Scott Engelking, and Jill Robbins as they discuss their experiences implementing Procure-to-Pay (P2P) solutions for global Fortune 1000 companies and explore the opportunities and pitfalls in automating P2P.
If you're automating P2P, you've got to sort fact from fiction. In our webinar co-hosted with SSON, our CEO Bruce Hanavan is joined by Scott Engelking and Jill Robbins to discuss “fact versus fiction” in P2P, best-of-breed solutions, value drivers for automation, and so much more.
Read the highlights and some key takeaways from our conversation, moderated by Direct Commerce’s Marketing Strategist, Brent Love, below and watch the full discussion here. You’ll learn more about how to choose the right automation solution for your organization, the benefits of an ecosystem or best-of-breed approach, and what P2P solutions will look like in the future.
Want to hear the whole discussion? Watch our on-demand webinar here.
World Class P2P is Touchless P2P
Brent Love, Direct Commerce: What are the hallmarks of state-of-the-art automation?
Scott Engelking, Grandview Integration: Touchless P2P—minimal touches in your process. If you are not touching transactions and most things are automated, then you are moving towards world-class automation...And then shifting into the vendor side of things, if you have a good process, and you’re telling your vendors through a vendor portal how you do processing, that’s a good sign. If you can provide them things like the status of their payments and invoices, that’s even better. If you can onboard them and have them manage their own data then that’s moving towards world-class.
Understand what you're actually signing up for when choosing a P2P automation provider
BL: Is there a single solution for end-to-end automation?
Jill Robbins, Business Fierce: Of course you’re going to hear that there is a single end-to-end solution, but I would say, buyer beware. Understand what you’re signing up for—what are the hallmarks of end -to-end automation? You really want to ensure that AI is being used to ensure that you have a solid data foundation. And if you’re not finding that in the providers that you are looking at then I would take a step back and reevaluate. You’re going to see that in the marketplace people are selling “end-to-end solutions” but is that truly going to fit the needs of your business long term and short term? And, is it going to deliver that touchless automation that you’re looking for?
SE: You really need to think about your requirements and what you are buying. And if you just jump at a package that someone tells you solves everything, you’re in real trouble. You need to think about your process and where you are and what exact problems you’re trying to solve.
If you are looking to rebuild your entire P2P process end-to-end, think about a broader package. If you’re trying to solve a few individual problems, think about what those problems are that you’re trying to solve. But if you don’t have a good process to start with, a well documented, well understood, well defined process, be very cautious about buying a brand new end-to-end tool and trying to turn it on because you don’t understand what your current process is. You really need to understand that, before you jump into buying a tool.
Bruce Hanavan, Direct Commerce: I think there are a couple of different things that I have seen that drive success and those are ownership and vision. I think it’s really important that someone within— especially within larger companies—takes ownership of the process and owns the understanding of the process. In some of our most successful projects, there’s really been someone there who understands how the company does business, why they need certain types of things done certain ways, different types of purchases, invoices, shipments, receipts and the relationship between goods receipts and orders and invoices.
Often in companies that are less organized, you find that we’re learning as we go. And so we’re sort of halfway in the process and then hear, “oh gosh, we forgot that we have this process and that process.” I think it’s really important that there’s that ownership and understanding of the process by someone who can then guide the others.
Become a fan of composability
BL: What are the benefits of going with an ecosystem or best-of-breed approach?
JR: I’m a fan of the best-of-breed, composable enterprise, ecosystem approach but you’ve got to start with prioritizing what are the issues we’re currently facing and need to solve? And then, where are the opportunities, where do we want to optimize or automate?
Now that we live in a cloud world, most companies and solutions can tap into your ERP system where most of your data is housed and it’s a pretty easy process in terms of implementation. You can then solve those specific needs, but you’ve got to have that baseline data. It’s got to be right, it’s got to be continually enriched, and you’ve got to connect it to the entire value stream.
You’ve got to put in the heavy lifting upfront...it pays off in the long-term.
Each area of AP Automation can drive value
BL: As you go out and talk to companies, how do you uncover what the value drivers will be for them?
BH: Each area of AP automation will have value drivers. And it’s that ability to prioritize and determine where you’re going to start, where you’re going to end, and what problems you’re trying to solve in an orderly manner. That takes leadership and vision and someone needs to take ownership of that. If the decision gets made at a very high level and then pushed down on the practitioners who actually really run the business units, that often is really disastrous because those are the people who understand the best how the company actually works, and they weren’t involved in the decision. So I think it’s really important that those direct practitioners who really understand the daily workings of the company have input into how those processes are implemented. They are the ones who will help you uncover the value drivers for your organization.
What are you trying to solve by automating?
BL: As you go out and meet with vendors and providers, what kinds of questions do you think people should be asking to ensure that they get to that best automation solution?
BH: You really need to understand what it is that you are trying to solve. You know, I’m working with a company now that’s done a P2P implementation, but at the end of the day what they’re finding is that it is costing them an incredible amount of money to manage and maintain that solution. And the reason is, that they didn't define those clear objectives on the front end. So they’ve ended up with extremely high levels of errors and exceptions that are flowing through their processes and those costs far outweigh the benefits they expected to receive from the deployment. So I think if we get back to that question of what are our expectations? What are we trying to solve for? And what are the solutions that are going to drive value in each of these specific areas?
BL: What advice do you have for the audience as they build their solutions?
JR: When you’re looking for a new solution, look at those advanced technologies, digitize your data, and set yourself up for long term success so you can continue to automate, enhance, and hopefully eliminate some of your processes longer term.
SE: Think about what problems you’re trying to solve and go solve them. Communicate like crazy. And, you can’t keep everybody happy, always remember that.
Find out how to build the best P2P Automation possible
Watch our on-demand webinar today for more actionable insights, industry tips, and to hear Bruce, Scott and Jill answer some of our audience’s most pressing questions.
At Direct Commerce, we believe you should experience the best P2P automation possible. To find out what that looks like at your organization, contact our team today. We’ll walk you through the differences between a full suite and best-of-breed solution to make sure you’re getting the right process in place to drive the highest levels of value—and satisfaction—at your organization.