It’s quite easy to “get” the benefits of e-procurement – electronic catalogues linked to a purchase approval workflow. It’s a no brainer and it was one of the most successful B2B technology of the 1990s as the opportunity was seen to emulate the ease of buying that amazon, Dell and eBay offered. But it was never as straightforward as the B2C equivalent. You don’t need to account for everything you buy on eBay and apply GL codes and cost centres and we don’t need a 3 way match. That’s why Amazon is easy. (How many times have you heard someone in business complain about their ERP purchasing module asking why it can’t be like Amazon?)
And what about e-invoicing? That seems like a compelling proposition until you try to automate Accounts Payable in an environment where the purchasing process is out of control.
I’ve often used the analogy of plumbing for Purchase to Pay. Only implementing e-invoicing is like only implementing half of the plumbing – guess what happens when you turn the water on. The same as if you build an e-procurement system to interface with archaic paper processes in AP. It’s not a pretty sight and the apparently compelling benefits of a solution seem less compelling when you realise – too late – that it was actually half a solution.
So what’s the point of P2P? Actually, the point of P2P is to eliminate the manual processes, to automate the end to end purchase to pay process leaving only exceptions. And that’s why Nipendo’s approach to the market hits the right point. The Nipendo proposition doesn’t promise electronic invoicing or e-procurement – Nipendo promises straight through processing – purchasing transactions that go the distance from Purchase to Payment without touching the sides. That’s the point of P2P.
I chatted to Eyal Rosenberg a few weeks ago. It was the first time we’d met face to face (in a skype sort of way) and it was really good to hear him articulate the Nipendo Guarantee and how they’d developed it in real client scenarios – some of which are amongst the most challenging you’re likely to come across. The guarantee has 3 elements – a guarantee of 90% straight through processing, a guarantee to work on top of existing technology and a guarantee to only charge for results.
Sure, it’s a marketing message but it’s a relevant marketing message. It says to me that the Nipendo team understand P2P. They “get” what it’s supposed to deliver and put their money where their mouths are.
Pete Loughlin can be found on twitter @peteloughlin