Many businesses remain almost oblivious to the untapped potential in their finance and procurement departments. In fact, these teams are often seen as getting in the way of business, rather than the engine of growth and business development they could be – if used effectively. But it is these teams that are crucial when we talk about Visible Commerce. Without them, Visible Commerce would not be possible.
As we digitize more and more of our back-office processes, finance functions no longer have to manually match and rubber stamp invoices, and the teams’ resources can be redeployed to focus on higher value and much more strategic work. Empowering these teams with the latest technology and data-led insights can be tremendously powerful.
P2P - Powered by Technology and Data
Armed with technology and data, your teams can identify business risks and take steps to mitigate them before they become widely known and start to impact the organization’s reputation and ability to operate as media, shareholders, and other stakeholders start to ask questions.
Likewise, they can identify the key trends shaping consumer sentiment and purchase behavior and proactively take steps to position the business as a market leader in that area, de-positioning competitors, and revealing opportunities to differentiate and market for growth. Be it the use of single-use plastic, palm oil, or whatever campaigning issue next captures the consumer zeitgeist.
With greater visibility of the flow of money, goods, and services across a business’ value chain, businesses can achieve not only cost savings, but also help reduce environmental impact, reliance on partners and suppliers whose values don’t align, and much more.
See More with Visible Commerce
Visible Commerce isn’t simply about purchase-to-pay solutions, and although we believe this technology has a role to play in realizing a future world of Visible Commerce, that world is much more about the experience of doing business and the outcomes associated with visibility and transparency.
Limiting maverick spending, and as a result controlling unnecessary costs is just the first step along the journey, and actually more of a by-product than an achievement in itself. By designing and applying policies that best suit the company’s needs, procurement professionals can create much improved purchasing experiences for their businesses.
In some cases, these systems can be set up almost exactly like the most popular ecommerce sites, but instead of buying throw pillows or sunglasses, colleagues are buying everything from stationary to stairlifts from approved suppliers at favorable rates and terms. The ease-of-use is intuitive for staff and removes virtually all friction from the purchasing process.
However, it’s of even greater benefit for finance and procurement teams. The enhanced visibility and control of spending and transactions provide a wealth of insights that can be used to ensure the business is using its resources efficiently, ethically, and responsibly.
In the near future, the policies that procurement teams can apply to these systems will become more and more advanced and will be able to help businesses achieve much more than purely financial goals.
Visible Commerce Feeds the Hunger for Change
95% of CPOs say they “believe digital transformation will fundamentally change the way services are delivered over the next three to five years,” according to a recent survey from the Hackett Group.
When we look at our product roadmap and the conversations we’re having with our customers, that comes as no surprise. The scale and pace of change the market is craving is remarkable.
And it makes sense. Once finance and procurement professionals have had a taste of what’s possible, their attention very quickly turns to asking, “What else can it do for us?”
The answer is “a lot.”
Imagine, for example, being able to access data on suppliers’ emissions and other environmental credentials, building a dashboard to dynamically track the sustainability of your supply chain. Empowered by this information, procurement teams can shape policies and business decisions to help companies achieve their sustainability commitments – buying only from those who help them meet or exceed their targets.
These dashboards provide teams with heightened intelligence that can be used in more strategic ways, empowering them to take on big picture strategic thinking, and leaving the tactical work to the behind-the-scenes technology.
This level of visibility into suppliers will reduce the risk of working with companies that do not share their values. But rather than realizing this in hindsight and declaring a parting of ways once the damage is done when reputations are tarnished, Visible Commerce enables procurement professionals to get out in front, identify the potential risks and prevent any issues before it is too late. All this, however, relies on assessing acceptable levels of risk and setting the appropriate KPIs from the outset. If you don’t know what you’re measuring, you won’t know if or when you get there.
But it takes the discernment of a human mind to go beyond data interrogation and ask the other humans involved, “Why?” The answer may result in a completely different decision than would have been made with sole dependence on the data.
Power to Procurement
Visible Commerce is the future, and it’s a future that repositions procurement professionals to the forefront of the business and no longer in the background. They become the team who create a positive culture of spending, the company’s growth engine, and not a roadblock.
As the pressure to move faster, accomplish more, and make an impact in the business world increases, we are often pulled in many different directions. But if we’re not truly looking and seeing what’s going on, we’re in danger of being pulled the wrong way.
Mapping out the bigger picture of business relationships and the impact of its decisions will result in a more strategic approach to operations that generates better outcomes - financial, ethical, responsible, or human.
This might sound like a distant future, but we can start this journey today. Much of this technology already exists and many have already embraced it with Basware and the world's largest open commerce network. Embracing this future can be as simple as a few clicks of a mouse and a push of a button.
Join us on the journey and push the button on Visible Commerce.
Ready to learn more?
Learn more about how data collected through every step of your purchase-to-pay (P2P) process can lead you to 100% spend visibility. Download our whitepaper. Questions? Contact us.