Purchase to Pay

We work with many purchase to pay solution providers and they’re quite a mixed bunch when it comes to practicing what they preach. I won’t name and shame. One business, very well-known and respected that advocates prompt payment is the worst payer of its own suppliers I have ever come across. Another, offering a very slick P2P solution has the least impressive P2P processes themselves.

This kind of corporate hypocrisy (a bit harsh, I know) is not uncommon but I don't think it makes a solution provider a bad company just because they don’t always take their own medicine. What is impressive however is a company – perhaps not best known as a P2P solution provider – that has the best reference site you could wish for – themselves.

Today, another post from Richard Manson from CloudTrade The limited use of SMEs by local government has for many years been flagged as a problem. There are 4.8m SMEs in the UK, making up around 50% of the private sector with an annual turnover of £3 trillion. Yet SMEs are often discouraged from public sector deals due to the bureaucracy that comes with working with them and the associated costs which can price SMEs out of this market space. In a bid to increase the use of SMEs, UK government and the European parliament have introduced initiatives to make it easier for SMEs to do business with the public sector. Yet the success of these has been limited. Initiatives have mainly focused on the use of technology and frameworks to reduce the barriers SMEs face in doing business in the public sector. Although a step in the right direction, the myriad of frameworks and poor adoption rates within government has hindered success.

Everyone thinks they’re at the centre of the universe. In a business it’s the sales guys who claim all the credit for growth and profit. After all, how would the business thrive without customers? The R&D people will argue that without great products the sales guys would have nothing to sell. The CEO claims credit for leadership without which the business would have no direction. The founders want to be recognised for the bright idea they had in the first place that started the company. They are all right of course in the sense that all parts of a business play a critically important role but it is also true to say that some functions struggle more than others to gain recognition. Perhaps it's because no-one really understands what they do or maybe they do understand - it's just that it's boring. Working within a a business function that, to the outside is not really that interesting makes it very hard when it comes to securing budget or priority over other competing departments. Purchase to pay is about the least glamorous and least understood back office function that I can think of and so it's a constant challenge to position P2P as a priority but there's one tip I'd like to share that I've used to get attention and secure budget. The problem with P2P is it's boring. But it's also critical especially to large businesses. Trying to explain why something that is a little arcane and dull is more likely to send people to sleep than to get them excited enough to support you. My recommendation is not to explain it at all - instead talk about something people do understand.

The nearest I’d ever been to Las Vegas was reading Fear and Loathing by Hunter S Thompson. A place were money can buy you virtually anything. Where the rules and standards of behaviour adopted by contemporary western civilisation are suspended. Clearly, the perfect location to convene a summit to discuss best practice in purchase to pay. http://youtu.be/8TcQou6RpuY

New technologies always promise to disrupt – it’s nearly always hype or enthusiastic futurology manifesting itself as over excitement that hasn’t really been thought through. But it's not always hype and it's great to see optimistic expectations actually being delivered in the real world.

I tell you what you want what you really really want - Doritos!

It was 1995. Monica Lewinski was in the White House, Windows 95 was launched, the Spice Girls were becoming the biggest girl group ever and last but not least, the internet fridge was launched. Don't believe the nouveau geeks who swear that the internet of things is something new. The Internet fridge has been breaking it's promise to disrupt the world of chilled groceries for nearly two decades. It seemed like a good idea but no one really thought it through. Many of us consider internet marketing to be intrusive. We shouldn't complain. We know what the deal is it when we sign up for "free" services in the full knowledge we're inviting the marketers into our inbox and onto our desktop. But if you thought internet marketing was intrusive, try inviting the marketers directly into your fridge to manage your snack inventory. You might believe you're buying into the internet of everything but, believe me, let an internet fridge into your kitchen and within weeks it will be full of nothing but Tortilla chips and salsa dip.