In our latest webinar “Power Your S2P with Insightful and Predictive Analytics,” participants were asked “How do you think P2P technology will most benefit your organization?” An impressive 81% answered “more automated and optimized processes” but curiously only 13% answered “visibility into suppliers and spend.” Read more to learn what else the webinar revealed.
Duncan Jones, Vice President, Principal Analyst from Forrester, and Rocco Emmaneel, Head of Continuous Development and Analytics at Sanoma, lead participants through a discussion on how aggregating spend data empowers organizations to decrease risks, increase profits, and pinpoint areas where they can improve. Here are four of the biggest lessons learned from their discussion.
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Lesson 1: ERPs have failed us – but ecosystems won’t
It didn’t happen overnight, but ERPs no longer can provide what modern organizations need. Instead, the future will rely on a world of platforms. Originally, ERPs were sold to CFOs with the vision of having the entire organization in the palm of your hands and the promise of a one-stop solution. But it didn’t really work that way. Instead, it resulted in multiple ERPs, myriads of point solutions, spreadsheets, customizations, and workarounds that ultimately prevented companies from getting the complete visibility they wanted.
In the future, Forrester and other analysts predict a vision of intelligent platforms and their ecosystems. These business applications platforms are experts in a particular area and serve a particular purpose—it could be procurement, financials, or even human capital management. These application platforms attract other applications into them. So, some of the point solutions will become configurations and add-ons to the core platform. And because of this, they integrate well together on their own, so you won’t have to worry quite as much about customer integrations as you did in the ERP era.
Lesson 2: Leading applications will have 5 key qualities
Embedded AI: Leading applications will be smart. It will turn “drilling down” into “alerting up.”
Empowered Usability: Leading applications will have improved UI and will be powered by natural language processing (NLP).
Low-code extensibility: If you want to modify a process or capture more data, you can do it without being a professional in coding.
Open integration: They’ll be built to be open. They’ll have typical integration capabilities but perhaps even AI-powered integrations, as well.
PaaS ecosystem: They’ll allow continual enhancement by empowering partners to make their own apps. So, when you purchase a solution you get both what the vendor delivers but also what independent vendors deliver.
Lesson 3: Find your goldilocks zone of data
One reason the ERP model failed is that it only gave “cold” transactional history. Though it did gather and aggregate financial data, it failed to combine data the right way and left out important insights such as recent trends and real-time visibility into things that are happening. And though big-time ERPs today still offer useful data, it’s not enough to empower your organization to look ahead and “alert-up.”
You need data from multiple sources to combine past trends with current performance. You need to find your “just right” zone of data. Too little inhibits your power, too much overwhelms the system and muddies decision making. With a “just right” amount of data, you can (for example) track price trends, predict how a commodity will change, and develop your differentiated approach. Basware Analytics captures and analyzes all your financial data from across your entire procure-to-pay (P2P) process, giving you a holistic view of all your processes.
Lesson 4: Use reporting for root cause analyses
When the audience was asked “How do you use Analytics to improve Procurement and AP operations today?” 27% answered they weren’t using analytics at all, with 29% using analytics occasionally. Only 10% said they used analytics frequently at the operational level.
The concept of P2P is theoretically quite simple and straight forward. However, almost all organizations (Sanoma included) find themselves dealing with many exceptions and deviations outside the traditional process, leaving many employees working on the same invoices and queries, wasting time and duplicating work. So, there’s a big opportunity to use analytics to improve processes and reduce unnecessary workloads. In Basware Analytics, you can analyze root causes behind exceptions by digging into the users that handle the exceptions and identifying suppliers that cause the exceptions to occur. This empowers organizations with the information to track exception trends and improve the process to keep it from happening again.
It’s important to remember, though, that implementing all the features of Analytics doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey where your organization starts with small steps and accomplishments such as using analytics to determine key KPIs and discovering ways to improve your processes. As you continue your journey, you can then use analytics to explore additional possibilities and empower critical users to give their input on process improvements.
Ready to learn more?
If you want to revisit the webinar or if you missed our live session, we’re giving you the opportunity to watch it on-demand. Download the webinar now.