Financial Supply Chain Management

I was excited to read about Alusta last week – the end-to-end framework or platform that Basware have developed for their procure to pay offerings and I was keen to understand a bit more about it when I hooked up with Juha Häkämies VP Market Development, Rowan Lemley, product Marketing Manager and John Webster, VP Global Product Marketing What is Alusta exactly? Is it the purchase to pay panacea or simply vaporware – a new marketing spin on an old set of products?  Actually a bit of both – but in a good way.

Basware have just made a very interesting announcement and launched Alusta, a “cloud-based platform for business-to-business transaction collaboration." According to their announcement yesterday, Alusta (Finnish for "platform") provides "open, centralized access to all Basware services via a scalable, secure, open collaborative commerce ecosystem for buying and supplying organizations of every size and location." If it lives up to half of the hype, this will be a truly impressive platform. Alusta isn’t ground breaking. It isn’t even new thinking but what it promises is to bring together a wide set of leading edge tools technologies and techniques to create a purchase to pay platform that could be world beating. That’s the promise anyway. So what’s it got that’s so impressive?

Today, we're delighted to welcome a guest post from Lars Rolf Jacobsen - Financial Solutions Manager at Tradeshift. Size matters. Throughout history, it has always been the case that the bigger company in a relationship has all the power. And financial transactions are no exception to this rule. But the rise of the internet has leveled the playing field in some aspects of business. Now, any small company can use Skype to communicate for free with suppliers and buyers across the world. Whole workforces can be recruited and managed through the web, meaning that talent is cheaper and easier to control. And with e-commerce, any company can market and sell a product to a global audience.

Let's get something straight at the outset. I'm not about to suggest that users of e-invoicing networks will want to use them to play Farmville. But what I can see is that the transactional platforms will become free to use as service providers offer other value added services and I want to explain why.

Ready for the new year, Patrick Harbin has published and amazing 50 ways to reduce costs in accounts payable.  They say about new year’s resolutions that you should ensure they are achievable so for those that think 50 major change management  programs in one year - that’s 1 per week – is a little too much, you might want to consider the first 5 because we think the first 5 are the best 5.

There a a few eye-catching headlines that sell the benefits of dynamic discounting. "36% return on capital" for example is pretty eye catching but how does dynamic discounting really work in practice and how do you work out if it is beneficial to take say a 2% discount for payment in 10 days rather than 45? Being familiar with the value of payment terms and how to calculate it is an important sourcing skill but it is essential when trying to understand the value of dynamic discounting.

Tradeshift are an enigma. Their revenue model may have you perplexed. Their tagline "Shift Happens" might raise an eyebrow and their animation for the launch of their Instant Payment offering - well is isn't exactly Pixar. But don't let it fool you. Behind the enigmatic facade of Tradeshift is a brave business model - a business model that is going to fundamentally change the rules of supply chain finance. And this week, I spoke to Tradeshift's charismatic CEO, Christian Lanng, who, in his own words, began to "reveal the riddle that is Tradeshift"