When large corporations respond slowly to sales pitches, some vendors employ tactics of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (“FUD”) to try to motivate the company to make a decision. Don’t let this happen to you.
This post will help you recognize these tactics and outline of our recommendations on how to embark upon a P2P automation project.
In the P2P software world, selling can be challenging, and customers often take a long time to decide because:
there is a wide variety of AP technology options from which to select (self-hosted vs. cloud; private cloud vs. public cloud; procurement-focused or AP-focused; and so on)
agreement on a solution is oftentimes needed between disparate groups (AP, Procurement, Treasury, IT)
smaller, incremental improvement projects can appear less risky and easier to implement, as opposed to a larger AP Automation project
with a few exceptions, there is no official mandate or law that requires P2P processes to be automated or efficient
Given this background, it is natural that some service providers, especially those with large marketing budgets (often venture-funded companies whose board members sit on other tech company boards) will search out ways to stimulate enterprise businesses to act. Unfortunately, they don’t always use honest tactics, and you are left to filter out the real information from the hype.
Why does FUD Work?
FUD works, to some degree. Fear-based messages tap into insecurities about our future and our capabilities. Some FUD messages imply that if you are not riding high on the crest of some technological wave, then you are a dinosaur and perhaps not as agile or as smart as other corporations. It might also be said that you are not compliant with some government regulation or using security best practices.
Furthermore, it is often directly said that you may find yourself out of your job if you do not take the initiative and get ahead of the curve of some technological innovation that is overtaking the industry. You can recognize these claims as overly-broad, portraying the transformation of entire industries without offering specifics as to how that will happen.
Oftentimes, these FUD claims are prefaced with some sort of dire warning about how trend "X" is taking over completely. A few years ago, we heard this about “big data,” and it took a few years for that term to fizzle out (see: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=40723). Then, “cloud computing” became the rage before “AI” and “machine learning” started to get some buzz. Now, we are hearing a lot about “RPA” and “blockchain” technologies that are going to completely revolutionize applications and put us all out of work. Don’t get us wrong--there are clearly new technologies emerging that we have integrated into our platform as well, but try to separate out the buzzword compliance from the reality and do not take the bait and accept that you are somehow lesser because you are not hyping things in the same way.
There are usually large, vague claims that this latest technology is going to turn the world on its head, and you better buy it (or at least start parroting it back out) so that you appear to know what you are talking about. These claims are often made by people who will benefit directly by scaring you into action.
Don’t Believe the Hype
Now, don’t get us wrong--we agree that there are new technologies and you should use them to generate real value for your company. You should take a hard look and do an ROI analysis--what are the total costs, up-front and over time, versus the benefits you will receive? Vendors should provide you real, reference-able customers with clear ROIs solving problems that are similar to your problems. You should see a demonstration of how a particular technology can solve your real-world problems now, and you should have an honest discussion with vendors about the limits and correct uses of the technology.
Does Direct Commerce employ these buzzword-compliant technologies? Absolutely. Do we pitch these technologies as the Next Big Thing that you have to get in front of? Never.
While we are always innovating and delivering advanced technology like AI and cloud computing to our customers, you will use our SaaS-platform with the best minds in AP Automation behind you - and get a solid, real-world product that enables you to streamline your operations, get better information, and save your company millions of dollars. You will also be able to go to trade shows and show your boss that you are a forward-thinker by talking about the latest trends and how you are applying them to save your company even more money. But...we will not sell you a fear-based message or pitch some vague “taking over the industry” story; furthermore, we hope that you can spot such messages better now and put them correctly into their place in the marketing-fueled hype cycle du jour.
To help you out, future postings will review some of these new and emerging technologies and buzzwords. Hopefully, after reading this post, you will feel a little better about how technology trends are being sold, and you can approach these claims with a smile on your face instead!