10 Nov 2010 P2P Leap of Faith Required
Mathematics is fascinating, not simply because of its mystery – detailed understanding of modern mathematics is beyond most of us – but also because of the amazing theoretical journey that mathematicians go on to reach practical destinations. So called “imaginary” numbers had been described in the 16th century but not taken seriously, even within the mathematics community until the 19th and today we would not have aeroplanes, TV or even computers if theoretical mathematicians had not made the leap of faith to continue to develop what appeared to be a field of mathematics without practical purpose. Sometimes we need to make that leap of faith even when the ROI seems less than compelling, in order to get to a place where we can see the big wins clearly.
Sometimes, it best to work backward – build the sky scraper from the top down – because from the top you can appreciate the view which justifies the effort of building it.
Put this in P2P perspective. 15 years ago we were all using paper requisition pads with manual sign off. Technologies like purchasing cards and e-Procurement offered a compelling ROI. Today, advanced techniques like supply chain finance and dynamic discounting offer similarly compelling business cases but they are advanced techniques and require some serious infrastructure to be in place before they can be effective in a large organization. You have to be pretty confident about walking before you can run. This may mean that organizations may have to continue to build and strengthen their P2P infrastructure in the face of limited ROI for further development.
The fact is, to justify further investment in P2P – particularly in order take advantage of advanced techniques – requires a leap of faith.