Author: Pete Loughlin

A few weeks ago I visited Israel to meet some of Nipendo's customers. Nipendo are attracting quite a bit of attention from the analysts because of the success they've had in their home country and now that they're making progress in North America and Europe it's important to see their solutions in action to see what all the fuss is about. It was a fascinating trip. Meeting end users and seeing the solutions in action was a real eye opener. Each client was able to share something unique about the transformation that their business had seen through the implementation of Nipendo and collectively they provide an insight into what makes Nipendo worth some serious consideration.

Every service or solution provider has their USP – their unique selling point that makes them stand out from the crowd. But in reality, when you take a group of similar vendors, they're actually not that different. Electronic invoicing is just like that. To the seasoned professionals there’s a world of a difference between the numerous vendors but to the end user – the ones whose views really count – they’re all the same. So it’s actually quite exciting to find an e-invoicing solution provider that really is a little bit different. Consider this: They’re not disruptive. That's right. A start up that doesn't claim to be disruptive. In fact they have made a virtue of being positively non-disruptive. They are about as non-disruptive as it’s possible to get. That’s quite a challenge – getting suppliers who operate in a paper based world to deal with their customers electronically without demanding they change anything they do. Suppliers like that and suppliers also like that fact that CloudTrade don’t charge them. This is part of the reason that CloudTrade have doubled in size for two consecutive years but to understand the whole story behind CloudTrade’s success, you need to understand their secret sauce – the unique way they approach the market.

I've become a fan of Nipendo. Nipendo offers, in many respects, what I see as the next evolutionary stage in Purchase to Pay. Rather than simply offering clever means to automate the traditional steps in the purchasing process through things like e-procurement and e-invoicing, they offer what I think of as 'Packaged P2P'. When I visited some of their customers recently I spent time with Eyal Rosenberg, their CEO and we spent quite a bit of that time discussing how the Nipendo platform could be leveraged to offer supply chain finance. And now they've done it and the press release that accompanies their new partnership with Integrate Financial explains the synergy.

Accounts Payable the MovieImagine you're a casting director for a new Hollywood movie about Accounts Payable. I know what you're thinking - a movie about Accounts Payable isn't going to break any box office records - but you never know. Given the right characterization and a decent plot it could work. So who would you cast the AP protagonist? Who could embody accounts payable?  Are they young or old? Male or female? Are they attractive or plain? Sexy? Heroic? Timid? Tall? Short? What does a stereotypical AP person look like? 9 times out of 10 you'd say it would be a woman and 10 times out of 10 you'd say they were a little bit crazy. A little bit crazy to say the least. It's true, AP people are nearly always women and nearly always wired in a way that the rest of us don't understand. They memorize dozens, sometime hundreds of account numbers, cost centers and general ledger codes and they get pissed off when the rest of can't remember them all too. But contrast that with the stereotypical purchasing person. How would finance people cast a procurement person in the movie?

Quite some time ago now I came across a P2P provider, Nipendo. I have to say, the case studies that they presented on their website were quite astonishing. I’ve seen companies brag – quite rightly – of getting very high levels of PO compliance or impressively high e-invoicing stats but when a company boasts of well over 90% straight through processing – that is over 90% PO compliance with electronic POs matching e-invoices with receipt confirmations – it’s more than astonishing. In fact, I didn’t believe it. Some of the largest and most sophisticated businesses in the world have spent years and hundreds of thousands, even millions  of dollars on supply chain process and they’ve not been able to achieve this. So what is it about the Nipendo approach that allows them to achieve such impressive results and let’s be frank about this, are their claims actually true?

In response to a witty remark by the artist James Whistler, Oscar Wilde declared “I wish I'd said that”. Quick as a flash, Whistler replied "You will Oscar, you will". I often think to myself "I wish I'd said that" especially whenever I read anything by Seth Godin. He distils wisdom into the most straight forward and frighteningly obvious observations. That's why he's a genius. The title of his book Purple Cow is one such example. The purple cow is the one that stands out from the crowd, the one that differentiates itself. This, Seth preaches, is what businesses need to do to promote themselves. Mostly, they don’t. I’m not a marketer but I’m a seasoned marketee and from this side of the fence I can tell you, there is something wrong with the way B2B solution providers try to get their message out.