A “technology ecosystem” is defined as “the network of organizations that drives the creation and delivery of information technology products and services”. In this blog, we dive in to why a source-to-pay (S2P) ecosystem is the standard in 2020 and beyond. We uncover why specialization is critical and offer suggestions on how to engage vendors to create the ideal S2P ecosystem.
Master of All? Or Specialize?
While once upon a time the “one size fits all” vendor approach seemed ideal, the industry has matured to learn that no vendor truly offers a full source-to-pay (S2P) suite that is best-in-class across all modules. Not to mention, the time it would take to roll out and maintain such a solution. In the past decade, vendors attempted to support the entire S2P process, however, as buying organizations strive to digitalize procurement and sourcing, it’s becoming apparent that a single suite is typically not enough to accomplish their goals.
Understanding Your S2P Ecosystem
Similar to wireless providers that switch between towers to ensure you never lose service, a proper S2P partner ecosystem makes sure you cover all areas of business spend, by using a multivendor approach. As noted in Gartner’s “Predicts 2019: Sourcing and Procurement Application Vendors Embrace APIs and the Ecosystem Approach”, “Growing partner ecosystems are making it easier for organizations to take a connected, multiple-solution approach to sourcing and procurement automation." “By 2021, major source-to-settle and procure-to-pay vendors will have more than doubled their preconnected partner ecosystems.”
While the bulk of importance is directed towards automating purchasing, payments, and a flexible supplier network, there are many value-add services that surround the S2P process. Services like supplier management, risk management, and contract lifecycle management often only offer basic functionality from suite providers claiming an “end-to-end” solution. Best-practice suggests selecting one vendor for the core areas of focus, then supplementing with other products and services from specialized providers. Companies should evaluate the data in an ecosystem to ensure core information is shared between partners so that analytics can be applied on data across the systems.
To understand the value of a vendor’s product ecosystems and to evaluate the effectiveness of its community, Gartner recommends requesting the following:
Data from the vendor outlining the number of ecosystem participants, the trajectory at which the ecosystem is growing, and insight into those that use it regularly.
Metrics that disclose the number and frequency of documents, components or templates being uploaded by the vendor to the community (often called an online library).
A summary of the past three years of product updates originating from, or inspired by, suggestions by ecosystem partners.
Customer references that you can contact directly for an assessment of the vendor’s product ecosystems, and any user groups that they may participate in.
Basware as an Ecosystem Provider
Basware’s applications were built with integration in mind. Year-after-year, Basware is recognized for our strong integration capabilities, specifically with back-end ERP systems and invoice automation. Customer references and feedback applaud our integration capabilities that enable each user to login to their application in the ecosystem with confidence that the data entered is transacted throughout the spend lifecycle.
Through certified ERP intelligence, Basware enables seamless interoperability with the world’s leading ERP systems, including SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics. In addition to easy ERP integration, our network offers plugins for our customers to pick and choose what solution best fits their need.
Basware is proud of our history of providing innovative technologies and S2P solutions to our customers. But we understand that being a leader in the industry means understanding how we fit into the larger landscape and the future of S2P – and ultimately capture 100% of your company’s spend.
A Word from Gartner
It’s time to adopt an integrated, open approach S2P ecosystem, that provides a central location for all the unique plug-ins and applications that best fit your organization. Read more about Basware’s rankings in the Gartner “Critical Capabilities for Procure-to-Pay Suites 2019” report. Download now.