PRO or Plus Content

Best Practices for Your P2P Implementation Project And How to Keep it From Becoming a Nightmare [Plus+]

complex sourcing

Editor's note: This is a refresh of our 2015 series on running a successful P2P implementation, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. Read Part 1 here.

In the Spend Matters webinar “Nightmare on Procurement Street,” we discuss how to successfully implement a procure-to-pay solution (P2P) and avoid the process from turning into a terrible experience. This 2-part Spend Matters Plus series lays out what tips we suggested for procurement organizations embarking on a P2P project. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive, step-by-step implementation guide, however. We simply want to share our best practice ideas based on our experience and our discussion in the webinar. Today, we will focus specifically on project management as a procurement responsibility, as well as ensuring finance and accounts payable (A/P) are included in the P2P implementation project. Other areas we will cover are remembering the importance of supplier integration, system testing and user training in the P2P process.

Transparency-One: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

Procurement and supply chain organizations are facing pressure from consumers, governments and investors to clean up their supply chains. Whether it’s traceability of ingredients (including their source and their quality), assurance that labor and facility conditions are up to code, or proof that emerging compliance standards like modern slavery laws are being met, companies are increasingly being tasked with mapping their entire supply chain while ensuring that suppliers are meeting, and tracking, myriad metrics for safety, sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

This is the narrative that Transparency-One, a provider of supply chain visibility and compliance tracking solutions, is betting the farm on. (This is apt, because the provider actually models and monitors farms as part of the extended supply chains being tracked within its system.)

Founded in 2016, Transparency-One enables executives in charge of sustainability or responsible sourcing to report accurate supplier and compliance data to sales, marketing and regulatory compliance functions about what’s happening in their supply chains end to end, as well as to map product tracking and quality information down to the lot/batch level.

While many such efforts are already underway at major companies, compliance tracking is often fragmented, with initiatives like conflict minerals compliance managed separately (and in different tools) from the tracking of, say, facility safety certifications. Transparency-One is seeking to bring all of these efforts into a single platform, starting first with the food, retail (e.g., grocery, apparel) and industrial materials (e.g., rubber, chemicals) sectors.

Currently operating in 30 countries and in six languages, Transparency-One counts traceability projects with Intermarché, Carrefour and Mars among its pilot customers. It has offices in Boston and Paris.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Transparency-One and its capabilities. The brief includes an overview of Transparency-One’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider. It also touches upon graph databases and their use in this supply chain management, supplier management and risk management mashup area.

Artificial Intelligence in Sourcing Tomorrow (Part 1) [PRO]

In Spend Matters' last PRO article, Artificial Intelligence in Sourcing Today (The Situation Now), we overviewed some scenarios where you can find AI in e-sourcing platforms today, where we define AI as “assisted intelligence” because, as we've stated in this series about AI in modern sourcing and procurement technologies, there is no true artificial intelligence in any enterprise technology today. In fact, there is nothing close, at least not on the open market.

But we will be closer to artificial intelligence tomorrow, and in the near future, we may get to the point where the average market leading platform offers you augmented intelligence on a daily basis.

In our last article, we reviewed the common instances of the assisted intelligence technologies on the market today, namely: auto-fill, workflow automation, outlier identification and rule-based auto-award identification.

However, this is just the beginning of what you should have as a sourcing professional, especially considering what's coming in AI Tomorrow. For example, if you go back to our series in AI in Procurement Tomorrow, you know that soon you will have technologies to prevent overspend, buy on your behalf invisibly, buy automatically, identify opportunities while you sleep, identify new categories before you know of their existence and identify procurement methodologies for success.

But these improvements will spill over into the sourcing domain as well. In Tomorrowland, as a buyer, you will also have augmented intelligence technologies that will allow for:

* Event-Based Category Alignment — not just new category detection * Market-based Sourcing Strategy Identification — not just the right methodology for procurement * Automatic Strategic Sourcing Events — not just auto-buy from a catalog or contract * Suggested Award Scenarios — not just canned options

And it will make your buying life much more efficient. But how?

Artificial Intelligence in Sourcing Today (The Situation Now) [PRO]

Not that long ago we ran a six-part series on AI in Procurement (Today Part I and Part II; Tomorrow Part I, Part II, Part III; and The Day After Tomorrow). By the time we defined the levels of AI today, what will be possible in the future and just how far AI in procurement will take you, you probably thought that was all there was too it and were impatiently awaiting the day when your "best of breed" applications would catch up.

The reality is that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

When your platform provider (or, if necessary, your future platform provider) catches up and starts offering you modern capabilities, those capabilities should extend well beyond procurement and spill over into multiple areas of S2P, including sourcing.

So to whet your appetite about what should be coming next, and to make sure your provider knows that you know what should be coming next (and will be holding them accountable), in this series we're going to dive into the applications of AI in sourcing and discuss what is available today, what is coming tomorrow — and what is in your strategic buying future.

Beyond Supplier Risk Management: How Procurement Can Take a Leadership Role in Enterprise Risk Management (Part 3) — Integrating Supply Risk Management into Day-to-Day Procurement [PRO]

In our previous installments of this Spend Matters PRO supply risk series, we discussed an exhaustive list of strategies for using supply risk as a way to align procurement and the enterprise to safely extract more value from spend/supply. In this installment, we are going to dive more deeply into aligning supply risk within the source-to-pay (S2P) processes themselves.

Too often, supply risk management is weakly addressed within S2P, and by using some of the alignment techniques discussed in Part 2 of the series, procurement can align supply risk systematically into its own methodology and processes.

How to Succeed with Systems Integrators and Procurement Technology Implementation: Lessons From Spend Matters UK/Europe and Determine [PRO]

e-procurement

In too many cases, system integration (SI) and consultancy partnering decisions take a back seat to technology selection and related business process considerations when in fact all three areas are important to consider in equal measures as parts of source-to-pay and procure-to-pay deployments. This misstep is often one of the root causes of procurement organization dissatisfaction with technology decisions and adoption.

In this PRO brief, Jenny Draper, Spend Matters’ managing director for UK/Europe, shares her experience and best practices on the topic from serving as a procurement consultant over two decades before recently joining Spend Matters.

This best practice essay includes Jenny’s lessons learned on the importance of systems integration partners and how to set them up for success (and get the most out of a relationship). It covers such topics as when (and why) superior technologies fail, change management missteps, the role of the modern SI and finding the right fit partner. She then explores specific lessons learned from Determine’s boutique partner ecosystem in Europe.

Throughout, the brief also includes key takeaways and summary recommendations for procurement organizations going through procurement technology selections and deployments.

TenderEasy: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

trucking

Despite the current tide of populism, the growing globalization of businesses and, thus, corporate supply chains is a trend no procurement organization can ignore.

Alongside this push into new markets for both sales and production comes a need to more effectively procure transportation because moving commodities or finished goods between facilities, like factories or distribution centers, and their final destinations has become more complex. Add to this a litany of procurement-specific obstacles to effective freight sourcing and management — from a dearth of qualified internal resources to sparse, inaccurate data about freight spend — and the challenge becomes even more daunting.

This combination of logistics category complexity and insufficient procurement capability to manage it is what originally gave rise to the sourcing optimization solutions that most North American organizations are familiar with.

Trade Extensions (now Coupa Sourcing Optimization), CombineNet (now Jaggaer Advanced Sourcing Optimization) and Keelvar (one of the few independent sourcing vendors that currently supports bid optimization) all got their starts enabling logistics procurement across thousands of lanes. As they grew, however, each of these vendors evolved their solutions to support additional categories beyond freight, enabling larger and more complex scenarios while leaving other elements of the transportation equation (like execution) to other technology providers.

TenderEasy, a 14-year-old firm that launched its SaaS solution for freight procurement in 2012, has taken the opposite approach. Rather than expand its sourcing optimization capabilities beyond logistics, TenderEasy has doubled down on freight, positioning itself as the entry point to a broader transportation management ecosystem. It committed to this strategy in 2018 when it became part of the Alpega Group, a global logistics software company that offers end-to-end solutions for transport needs, including not only freight sourcing but also access to freight exchanges and transportation management systems.

Leveraging this network of transportation solutions, Stockholm-based TenderEasy is hoping to bring its Europe-centric expertise across the Atlantic — the company already counts Heinz, adidas Group and British American Tobacco (BAT) as clients — taking on incumbent sourcing optimization vendors in the process.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on TenderEasy and its capabilities. It includes an overview of TenderEasy’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

BirchStreet Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

The hotel, hospitality, restaurant, casino and food manufacturing industries have a range of specialized procurement technology requirements, especially in the procure-to-pay area. But what are these, and more important, how does the market leader in the sector, BirchStreet Systems, stack up to alternatives in the market?

Part 1 of Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering BirchStreet. Part 2 focused on its strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the vendor.

In our third and final installment, we provide a SWOT overview of BirchStreet as a whole, a comparative and competitive market overview, and provide some final summary analysis and recommendations for organizations that might consider BirchStreet as a potential solution partner.

BirchStreet Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores BirchStreet Systems' strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering BirchStreet. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

BirchStreet Systems: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview [PRO]

services sector

While BirchStreet Systems, a 16-year-old provider of purchase-to-pay solutions, is best known as a provider with deep expertise in the hospitality industry, followers of Spend Matters SolutionMap know the company offers more than just vertical-specific functionality. In fact, based on its performance in the Q4 2018 E-Procurement and Procure-to-Pay SolutionMaps, BirchStreet consistently holds its own, from a feature/function perspective, with other solutions taking a more horizontal approach, including SAP AribaCoupaDetermineGEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SynerTrade and Zycus.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides an overview of the BirchStreet Systems, along with facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations evaluate the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations might want to consider BirchStreet. The rest of this multipart research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitors and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, insider evaluation and selection considerations.

How to Keep Your P2P Implementation Project From Turning Into a Nightmare (Part 1) [Plus+]

Editor's note: This is a refresh of our 2015 series on running a successful P2P implementation, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO.

In the webinar “Nightmare on Procurement Street,” we discussed best practices surrounding a procure-to-pay (P2P) implementation project. Webinar speakers were myself, Spend Matters Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell, GEP Worldwide Senior Manager Santosh Reddy and Senior Manager of Technology Product Marketing Paul Blake. This first of a multi-part Spend Matters PRO research brief will examine how to avoid a P2P implementation project from turning into your worst nightmare. While not an all-inclusive implementation guide, the brief points to some important steps that are necessary to conducting a successful P2P implementation.

Beyond Supplier Risk Management: How Procurement Can Take a Leadership Role in Enterprise Risk Management (Part 2) — Aligning Enterprise Risk to Supply Risk [PRO]

risk

In Part 1 of this series, we described the process that most progressive procurement organizations use to relate enterprise risk to supply risk. Throughout such transformations, a single theme pervades: alignment. The premise here is that while value chains are, in fact, a chain of value that flows across multiple stakeholders, the “signal” often gets lost as the components of that value go across organizational and functional boundaries. We’ve written before about this concept of “supply performance management” (i.e., where the definition of supply and the supply scorecard gets translated from the customer-facing value chain all the way down to a supplier/contract level) in terms of measuring and managing supply value, but this same concept also inherently applies to risk management.

Risk management is about protecting those value streams, and therefore the commensurate investment in risk mitigation should align with the value streams themselves. Unfortunately, they often don’t, because stakeholders are not typically measured on risk management explicitly (although they can be measured on it implicitly).

Procurement itself faces this problem. Based on our research, only 8% of procurement organizations are formally measured on supply risk reduction. Instead, they’re measured on overt reward (vis a vis savings) but not on protecting those improved supply outcomes. So, if procurement wants to protect supply outcomes, it will need help and resources from the natural risk owners (i.e., those who are measured on the business outcomes affected by those risks) — and that help will not come unless there is visibility, commitment and action. As such, in this installment of this series, we’ll discuss two critical frameworks that organizations can use to gain alignment.