Author: Pete Loughlin

The business case for e-invoicing is normally measured from the perspective of the accounts payable process in the buying organization. Indeed, it is often said that most if not all of the benefits are stacked in the buyers favor - it’s the buyers that get to automate and eliminate process whereas for the supplier they only seem to incur costs. It’s time suppliers woke up. Take a simplistic view and you can barely make a business case for e-invoicing but take a closer look and the benefits can be astonishing.

I can buy something from amazon in just a few clicks. I feel confident that I’m getting a good price and I feel safe because the product I’ve selected has good reviews. The whole amazon experience has encouraged millions to change the way they shop. The purchasing process (as we like to think of it – it is more accurately a sales process), has been refined and iterated over the years, so what’s gone wrong with the B2B version – e-procurement? The e-procurement vendors’ sales and marketing material will tell a very different story. They'll explain how corporate purchasing could be but it won’t tell you what, in 9 out of 10 cases, it is really like.

Don't tell me your solution is ERP agnostic. I’m a believer in my ERP system and I want to deal with fellow believers. I don’t want to hear that you sit on the fence. It’s a familiar dilemma for vendors. They’d like to please everyone – be all things to all men - or women for that matter. Sales people are always asking product development teams for more functionality, new connectors, compatibility with new standards and so on in order to be compatible with all possible scenarios. So being ERP agnostic – from the vendors point of view – seems like a good thing. Right?

The more I look at the proposed acquisition of Ariba by SAP, the less sense it makes. SAP didn't need the functionality. They didn't need the brand. The Ariba shareholders will clearly be pleased to see this deal go through but what, I wonder, would an SAP sales guy be thinking and what would Ariba's competitors be making of it all?

B is for buying experience

C is for Coupa

D is for déjà vu

I’ve been enjoying reading the Coupa blog recently and especially since SAP’s intention to buy Ariba was  announced. It’s been an excuse for Coupa to really blow its trumpet about cloud and the importance of usability. Coupa’s message is very current although we have heard it before.