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Bloggers and tweeters don’t go too far off piste normally but there is nothing quite like sub-standard telco customer support to drive even the most focused to go right off topic and declare their frustration at their mobile phone operator or ISP. Customer support only needs to be a little bit wrong to make a dramatic difference to user experience and we are all so used to expecting best in class service that even a 10 minute wait to be dealt with by a call center can get us really piste off. It’s not just consumers that need to be kept happy. Business software needs to deliver a great user experience too. OB10 will hold their hands up and admit that their customer support hasn’t been their strong point in the past and that’s why they’ve invested heavily in customer experience. Their newly unveiled portal is a massive improvement both in substance and style.

A torrent of tweets amplified one another over the last few weeks about the apparent enormous current interest in e-invoicing in the United States. Apparently, 42% of companies – a sizable proportion by any standard – are evaluating their electronic invoicing options. They were all quoting from the very fine report published recently by PayStream Advisors’ e-invoicing Adoption Benchmarking Report. But unlike the many tweeps who were excited by this, I was a little underwhelmed and in my opinion, there was some much more interesting revelations in the report.

Ask anyone who’s worked in more than one purchasing organization. When it comes to technology, they’re not normally what you would describe as model implementations. Supplier data all over the place, catalogues out of date, Heinz 57 varieties of purchasing system. Purchase to Pay processes are very rarely joined up and if purchase to pay really is the plumbing of your organization, you’d be drowning. But before you beat yourself up about your role in this chaos, ask yourself the question: Why is it that everything is always a mess?

I’ve heard more reasons why not to use supply chain finance than I’ve heard good reasons to use it. The problem appears to be that those advocating it are the sales people. They would say that wouldn’t they? And those arguing against it are the accountants and treasury managers – and they’re the “experts”. What we don’t get to hear is a real example of what it can deliver. Until now.

When we wrote that e-procurement was getting interesting here we didn’t anticipate that it would be one of the most read Purchasing Insight articles of 2012. There is obviously an appetite amongst purchasing professionals for this topic and now there's a new report that you need to get your hands on.

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