Basware’s new purchase to pay platform – they’ve been peeking at my wish list

Basware’s new purchase to pay platform – they’ve been peeking at my wish list

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?

Purchasing Insight logoIf I had a blank piece of paper and I wanted to design the ultimate P2P solution, my wish list would look a bit like this.

Mobile – For years there’s been a compelling case for a mobile P2P client. Whether that’s for inventory management in a large warehouse, placing purchase orders on a construction site or approvals when working remotely. Cost of hardware has always been quoted as an issue – despite the fact that most people have had hardware up to the task in their pockets for years.

The extended enterprise – it’s been talked about for a long time. The term has been used in a number of contexts but what I mean by the extended enterprise is the recognition that just as supply chain processes don’t begin and end in your organization, neither should the technology. Purchase order and sales systems as well as AP and AR functions should share common platforms. Users on each side of the fence should have access to the same transactional data. It ensures consistency of data, eliminates duplicate work and speeds issue resolution. It’s a no brainer.

Social – businesses are being forced into adopting social as newcomers to the world of work resist archaic practices like email. (Yes you read right!) And it’s inspiring entirely new ways of working. Just as product reviews in Apple’s iStore and seller reputations supported by buyer feedback on eBay help us make purchasing decisions, so too can P2P user communities help decision support within the enterprise.

Financial supply chain visibility – a totally transparent financial supply chain allows buyers and suppliers to mutually manage their respective cash flows.

Openness and interoperability – Proprietary networks have their place – it’s just not anywhere near B2B trading. They’re expensive. They’re protectionist in that they place barriers to entry for new players. They’re expensive because they introduce unnecessary third parties into the supply chain.

Everything as a service – I want to run a business not an IT empire. When I want water I turn on a tap. When I want electricity I flick a switch. I don’t want to know how it works, just give me it.

Gamification – I wish I’d thought of it first. Positive reinforcement works better than penalties. Compliance to process is one of the top ten P2P headaches. I want gold stars for good behavior.

And according to the press release, Alusta delivers all of the above (apart from the gamification) and more according to the press release in any case.

I read the press release and I want to know more. So I’m looking forward to  sitting down with Basware’s Juha Häkämies, VP Market Development and  John Webster, VP Global Product Marketing next week to get more detail. And there’s one thing you can be sure of – they are going to tell me gamification is on the way.

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