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A few weeks ago I visited Israel to meet some of Nipendo's customers. Nipendo are attracting quite a bit of attention from the analysts because of the success they've had in their home country and now that they're making progress in North America and Europe it's important to see their solutions in action to see what all the fuss is about. It was a fascinating trip. Meeting end users and seeing the solutions in action was a real eye opener. Each client was able to share something unique about the transformation that their business had seen through the implementation of Nipendo and collectively they provide an insight into what makes Nipendo worth some serious consideration.

In part two of this short series of guest posts from REL Consultancy, manager Michael Wydra takes a closer look at how, once an indirect spend analysis is complete the insights gained can be turned to procurement’s advantage. After analysing indirect spend on an aggregated level (see part one), the next step is to go into detail by gaining insight into the specific spend categories. Subcategories should be defined to reasonably group category spend. It can also make sense to capture certain supplier characteristics, such as region, spend contracted and contract expiration date. Even where there is a valid contract, the business may not be actually buying according to the negotiated conditions. A catalogue with negotiated items and prices may be available but not used. Maverick spend, or purchases executed outside the boundaries of a contract, can be a reason for high purchasing costs as well as increased transaction costs. Ideally, an organisation should evaluate the percentage of targeted or negotiated cost savings lost because contracted rates from preferred suppliers were not used during the purchasing process. This is particularly a problem in indirect spending categories, where, on average, 12 percent is lost. Other opportunities include investigating lower-cost markets rather than sourcing locally. Measuring compliance is not easy but necessary to point out process weaknesses.

Every service or solution provider has their USP – their unique selling point that makes them stand out from the crowd. But in reality, when you take a group of similar vendors, they're actually not that different. Electronic invoicing is just like that. To the seasoned professionals there’s a world of a difference between the numerous vendors but to the end user – the ones whose views really count – they’re all the same. So it’s actually quite exciting to find an e-invoicing solution provider that really is a little bit different. Consider this: They’re not disruptive. That's right. A start up that doesn't claim to be disruptive. In fact they have made a virtue of being positively non-disruptive. They are about as non-disruptive as it’s possible to get. That’s quite a challenge – getting suppliers who operate in a paper based world to deal with their customers electronically without demanding they change anything they do. Suppliers like that and suppliers also like that fact that CloudTrade don’t charge them. This is part of the reason that CloudTrade have doubled in size for two consecutive years but to understand the whole story behind CloudTrade’s success, you need to understand their secret sauce – the unique way they approach the market.

I've become a fan of Nipendo. Nipendo offers, in many respects, what I see as the next evolutionary stage in Purchase to Pay. Rather than simply offering clever means to automate the traditional steps in the purchasing process through things like e-procurement and e-invoicing, they offer what I think of as 'Packaged P2P'. When I visited some of their customers recently I spent time with Eyal Rosenberg, their CEO and we spent quite a bit of that time discussing how the Nipendo platform could be leveraged to offer supply chain finance. And now they've done it and the press release that accompanies their new partnership with Integrate Financial explains the synergy.

Accounts Payable the MovieImagine you're a casting director for a new Hollywood movie about Accounts Payable. I know what you're thinking - a movie about Accounts Payable isn't going to break any box office records - but you never know. Given the right characterization and a decent plot it could work. So who would you cast the AP protagonist? Who could embody accounts payable?  Are they young or old? Male or female? Are they attractive or plain? Sexy? Heroic? Timid? Tall? Short? What does a stereotypical AP person look like? 9 times out of 10 you'd say it would be a woman and 10 times out of 10 you'd say they were a little bit crazy. A little bit crazy to say the least. It's true, AP people are nearly always women and nearly always wired in a way that the rest of us don't understand. They memorize dozens, sometime hundreds of account numbers, cost centers and general ledger codes and they get pissed off when the rest of can't remember them all too. But contrast that with the stereotypical purchasing person. How would finance people cast a procurement person in the movie?

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