Author: Pete Loughlin

This is an important piece of research. For the first time, independent evidence points to a rapid growth in the adoption of e-invoicing and a significant change in the motivation for implementation. A wide range of organizations, from SMEs to large global businesses were surveyed in 2012 to understand their experiences and aspirations for payment technologies. Some of the results of the research  are, to be frank, predictable, while others were a surprise. Overall, the research paints an optimistic picture for technology vendors and their clients who are benefiting from their solutions.

Taulia, the only SAP-certified SaaS platform for dynamic discounting, today announced Hallmark will provide its global supply base with Taulia’s comprehensive suite of services, including e-invoicing, dynamic discounting and supplier self-services. The largest and most successful greeting card brand in the world, Hallmark has long been a technology leader in bringing innovative products to consumers. The company wanted to extend that leadership by providing its suppliers a unique value proposition - comprehensive e-invoicing and self-services, delivered by a dedicated on-board team at no cost to suppliers.

Hipsters look cool. But that’s all. They’re good at it. That’s why they’re hipsters. Hipsters know how to look, how to walk, what shoes to wear, places to be seen, habits to adopt, coffee to drink, names to drop. They have a kind of fetish for image – they look cool even if they’re not cool but that’s what floats their boat and I’m cool with that. Real cool people on the other hand, don’t try to look cool, they just are cool. And there are people who aren’t cool and don’t want to be cool. I’m cool with that too. What I’m not cool with is the people who are not cool, who think it’s easy to look cool. They try but they fail. They’re like a teacher that challenges their students to a dance battle. That's not cool.

I often recall the image of the Dickensian bookkeeper when I look at an AP department. In the 19th century, ledgers were hand written with quill and ink, sometimes in triplicate, which meant doing the same things, literally, again and again. Today, we still have pieces of paper to record the details of a business transaction. In an age when we can trade coffee, oil and pork bellies in the blink of an eye - in an age when even pre-school kids are computer literate - what place is there for paper?

In 2012, the supply chain finance debate became louder and more relevant to more businesses. It’s been described as the perfect storm – the combination of constrained liquidity and very low interest rates means that the gradient between the business “haves” and “have nots” has become steeper – and banks and investors love steep gradients. Supply chain finance is not new but new approaches are emerging based on new and innovative use of technology. In the past, the banks were the only players and they would only play with the big boys. For it to be profitable, the numbers had to be big and the cost of entry was high. But now, as collaborative supplier networks and the associated technology have matured more complex deals can be managed and the cost of entry has plummeted. Increasingly, businesses as well as individuals are turning not to the banks, but their peers for financial support.

One of the difficulties that analysts have is moderating their tendency, out of enthusiasm, to exaggerate the claims that vendors make. They want to report exciting things, things that people want to read. It’s all the more difficult because we all know that the vendors use marketing license in spades when they brief analysts. But the implications of the news announced today are difficult to exaggerate. Tradeshift have got a new investor. Intuit, the engine behind QuickBooks, the people that support 5 million small and mediums sized businesses in the USA, have partnered with Tradeshift. What does this mean? It means that Tradeshift’s network is now the biggest in the world.