The current climate of business operations is rocky. And though many organizations are finding creative ways to keep business flowing, there’s one thing they might not be maximizing—digitalization. Read more to learn how digitalizing your P2P operations can ensure business continuity.
What even is “business as usual” anymore?
“Business as usual.” It’s hard to put into words what this means anymore. The current state of business operations seems disjointed and strange. For many, it’s the first time they’ve been required to work from home. For others it means quickly figuring out how to access company documents, supplier records, systems and invoice documents remotely. And for most, it means searching for some way to keep some semblance of “business as usual” in unusual times.
The issue is many of these organizations facing pressures to keep business operations and payments flowing as usual in these unusual circumstances aren’t fully leveraging cloud-based procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions.
The problem with lacking digitalization
Think of how your business has changed just in the last few weeks. For instance, how much of your workforce is now remote? Probably a decent amount if you’re trying to adapt and stay afloat. But you can’t expect your workforce to continue with their operations successfully if they don’t have access to the tools they need to do so. It’s sometimes not just difficult for employees to access the software they need from outside the office but access to physical documents can also be challenging.
Consider all the paper documents left sitting on employees’ desks, waiting to be processed but can’t be because that employee isn’t allowed back into their building – what if one of those is an important invoice, new supplier set up or a credit note? If these files were digitized, then there would be no bottleneck present. Orders and invoices could be processed as usual; suppliers could be set up and paid on time; purchases could be made compliantly.
Using digitalization for business continuity
Though a global pandemic might not seem like the most ideal time to digitalize your operations, disruptive times like these provide a beneficial opportunity to consider where your business currently stands and what sort of strategic plan you want to pursue to enable sustained operations and ensure future success. Consider the following questions:
Could you benefit from greater business process and application agility?
What do you want to achieve from digitalization?
Which internal stakeholders and departments should be included in the initiative?
For starters, there’s a lot your business can gain from digital P2P processes. For instance, digitalization enables procurement and AP remote working seamlessly. With easy access to users’ relevant programs, they can continue with business as usual from wherever they’re located so long as they have an internet connection and a device.
From the AP side, without having to depend on outdated business functions and paper invoices, operations keep flowing as usual – the only change is that it’s digital. You can also keep all your information organized and safe for any potential audits in a secured but easy-to-access digital repository that includes all relevant invoice and transaction information.
(Could AP Automation be the key to keeping your cash flowing? Read more in our blog.)
From the Procurement side, digital processes offer streamlined support for multiple workstreams including indirect goods, direct goods, and services procurement. Digital procurement offers a more consumer-oriented user experience (UX) that not only eases training and onboarding, but also packages capabilities and admin rights based on unique roles.
And for all departments, the appeal of incorporating emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), and a conversational UX into their jobs only further support the decision to adopt digital operations.
Other benefits include the following:
Digitalization enables greater spend visibility and analysis. Built-in reporting features offer the flexibility to both customize and automate reporting. With this sort of insight and oversight, your Procurement and Finance teams have better visibility into where money is going, where savings opportunities are hiding, and ways to reduce overall costs.
Digitalization enhances supplier management and relationships. Many global organizations have a long list of suppliers to manage, but having these suppliers set up in your digital procurement solution makes it easier to store catalogs, easily create and approve purchase orders, and enable your suppliers to receive and fulfill orders quicker.
Get started with your digital transformation
Amid what seems like a storm of business uncertainties, one thing is for sure—there’s no time better than the present. The same goes for digital transformation. You might feel behind the game, especially after having to switch possibly your entire workforce and operations remote in the blink of an eye. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.
You can and should consider steps to fully move your business into the digital world. Here’s how you can get started:
Map out your needs: Work together with your business leaders, key stakeholders, and users to lay everyone’s expectations, opinions, and needs on the table.
Consider your gaps and solutions: Take inventory of what solutions can coexist together, what gaps you specifically need to fill in your operations, and decide what solutions are the most important.
Remain a part of the process: After choosing a vendor and implementing a solution, don’t become stagnant. Constantly push for ways to optimize, improve, and strategize with your solution vendor.
(Read more about these steps in our blog here.)
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AP Automation is a key element to achieving and ensuring success. Even more so in the current global climate, AP Automation plays an important role in keeping business flowing as usual. Download our ebook, “Turn Accounts Payable into a Value-Engine” to see for yourself how AP Automation keeps businesses moving.