Author: Pete Loughlin

Like buses, you wait for one for ages then two come at once. It was only a few weeks ago I was speaking to Perfect Commerce - a rebranding of one of the great names of the past, CommerceOne - and this week I had the great pleasure to speak with Deem - one of the other greats. You'd be forgiven for not recognizing the name. Deem is a re-branding of a product that many will be familiar with - Ketera. Deem acquired Ketera in 2010 and today they're announcing what is in effect a relaunch. In their words "Deem Spend has been re-branded, refreshed and revitalized to automate entire sourcing processes and maximizes savings for our customers on every transaction".

When implementing Purchase to Pay, the strength of the objections to change can be surprising. People prefer paper. They don't want to change. They want things immediately and they refuse to follow new processes. They think they can get a better deal themselves compared to the prices offered on a supplier catalog. It's been the same for years - decades even - and it's that last objection: "I can get a better deal myself" that can be the most difficult because it is - or more precisely appears to be - a valid objection. So how do you overcome it?

What links the P2P Summit in Vegas later this month and the entrepreneur of the year award? The P2P Summit, (which by the way you should attend – see here) is one of the most important dates in the calendar but, being very honest, I struggled to see the connection between Las Vegas and P2P until I saw the announcement today about the London AIM market entrepreneur of the year award.

This week I had the pleasure to support a seminar session run by Canon promoting their P2P offering. This is the transcript of my presentation P2P has always been important - important in the sense that it has always been important to ensure that the correct approval is given before something is bought. It’s important in the sense that it has always been important to ensure that suppliers are paid according to contractual terms - and important in the sense that it’s important to ensure that the details on an invoice sent by a supplier match what was asked for and what was delivered. But P2P has taken on a greater importance in recent years and there are three things that have put P2P in the spotlight
  • Visibility
  • Accountability
  • Automation

Yesterday, Tradeshift celebrated the opening of their new London offices with a reception in the heart of the financial district of Canary Wharf in London.  Set in Level39, the Fintech community in 1 Canada Square it was an opportunity to see the Tradeshift vision of the future of P2P – and, I have to say the vision is as exciting as it is dramatic which was matched by the magnificent view of the river Thames and the rapidly evolving skyline of London. London Skyline   Christian Lanng’s presentation was actually superb, it really was, but there was one part of it when he made a claim that I suspect - just suspect - may not have been quite 100% based entirely in the broad realm of factuality - if you know what I mean - but more of that later.

This is how the thought process goes for AP automation: "Electronic invoicing could save us lots of time. We could automate accounts payable." "Wait - this could be to be complicated. We'd need a project manager and an expert. We may have to buy in some software or work with a third party. Actually this stuff doesn't come free. It could cost a fortune." "$1 per invoice must be cheaper than the cost of a paper and manual process but at 1 million invoices per year, we'll never justify that. Let's make an incremental step toward automation. We can scan our invoices and handle them digitally." Yeah, right!

[caption id="attachment_9451" align="aligncenter" width="413"]Something familiar out of context can have a dramatic impact Something familiar out of context can have a dramatic impact[/caption] Joe Hyland, CMO at Taulia, recently wrote an excellent piece about industry disruption in which he highlighted three of the characteristics of a truly disruptive strategy. Essentially, Joe advises: 1. Don’t simply reinvent the wheel. 2. Don’t plagiarize an existing model and 3. Don’t make incremental changes – be bold. I’d agree with all of that but there’s something that Joe didn’t say – perhaps because he didn’t want to blow the Taulia trumpet too overtly – so I’m going to say it for him.