Derek Wilson
Director of Business Consulting

Budgets within Purchasing and Accounts Payable functions are tight. Senior Management does not usually decide to implement a new purchase to pay solution simply because there is some spare budget available. Normally, there is an underlying recognition and acceptance that something needs to be done differently. The reasons for this can be many, with both push and pull factors playing a part. The decision to go ahead and implement a new purchase to pay solution is not taken lightly.

The typical scenario

So what happens next? The senior management of the purchase to pay function often has clear objectives when they initiate the search for a new solution. They undertake a search and selection process to determine the best fit for their needs and to assess how different solution providers can enhance business operations. In parallel, the sales teams of the various purchase to pay solution providers will endeavour to demonstrate how their system can provide the biggest benefit.

The alternatives are assessed, the decision is made, and contracts are signed for the chosen solution provider to deliver the desired changes. The project begins. Frequently, the first thing that happens is that the customer assembles a project team consisting of representatives from the purchase to pay operational staff. These people may not have had any previous involvement in the discussions to date, may not have worked on a project before and, all too often, they still have their normal day job to perform.

At the same time, the purchase to pay solution provider does a project handover from their sales team to a consulting project delivery team. Again, it is frequently the case that nobody from the delivery team has been involved in prior discussions with the customer.

The quality of handover and information exchange from the sales/selection process to the design and delivery stage can be highly variable, both on the customer and vendor side. In the worst case scenario, the implementation project starts with none of the participants having any information about the objectives and goals that were identified and agreed on during the sales stage. This can mean that neither team has a clear understanding of what they are aiming to achieve.

Contributing to this mix is the fact that the customer operational representatives may be concerned that they have a backlog of work developing in their ‘day job’: they simply want to get back to their desks and get on with the important work. Equally, the solution provider’s implementation team have a budget and timescale for delivery: they want to build a solution that works for their customer quickly. In this case, their customer is the business operational representatives.

In these circumstances, there is a high risk that discussions about business requirements will concentrate on existing processes. This is because the solution provider’s implementation team will ask what is needed, and the operational team will explain what they do in the existing process. No-one has a clear idea of the drivers of change that initiated the project. Meanwhile, everyone wants to complete the project and move on. This is a recipe that leads to the automation of existing processes, with the vendor team enjoying the technical challenge of making the system do something non-standard while the customer representatives simply want to minimise any disruption to their ways of working: after all, it keeps life simple, doesn’t it?

The realization

Six months after go-live, the customer’s senior management comes back to the purchase to pay solution provider. The conversation goes something like this: “Your project was on time and on budget. The users like using the system. But we still have the same issues: we simply get there faster. We haven’t changed anything.” To which the solution provider replies, “Well, we built everything that your team asked for.” This is a wholly unsatisfactory conversation for both parties. There is a sense that the project was an opportunity missed.

The solution

Basware Business Consulting was established to avoid just such scenarios. Our team of consultants is comprised of experienced business operational managers who have completed projects in a wide range of industries. Our job is to ensure that your Basware Purchase-to-Pay solution does achieve the desired business improvements.

How do we do it? Basware Business Consultants are involved from the sales phase through delivery. We can advise you on the optimal way to set up your purchase-to-pay processes to achieve your business goals. We help to develop a solid foundation for the future development in the maturity of your purchase to pay operations. We preserve the strong parts of your processes, improve the less effective parts, and identify the opportunities that you may not have noticed. We can help with the management of business change. In short, Basware Business Consulting ensures that your investment in a new purchase to pay solution does not become a missed opportunity missed.

Read more about how Basware Business Consultants can help you.