In an age of ongoing digital transformation, leading supply chains no longer look to the past to manage their organizational spending. As technology advances, spend management software is advancing right along with it, with newer systems offering a host of benefits that have never been available before. Instead of sticking to the antiquated legacy systems that many are familiar with, industry-leading professionals are investing in cloud-based Procure to Pay (P2P) software solutions to help increase spend management visibility at their organizations.
P2P systems help centralize all of the information about an organization’s contracted suppliers, including everything from item-level pricing to supplier payment terms. This software helps users spot inefficiencies within the supply chain, reduce the number of manual errors, and ultimately stay within a budget by providing detailed spend data. Leveraging this type of cloud solution to analyze your organization’s spend can help you identify new opportunities for saving money, automate tedious and outdated processes, manage risk and legal compliance, and take complete control of all categories of your organization’s spend.
Improving the Shopping Experience
As user expectations for e-commerce and software platforms continue to evolve, an increasing number of organizations are beginning to entice their employees with an improved, Amazon-like catalog shopping experience. End users, especially millennials, have come to expect systems that resemble more of what they experience on eCommerce sites than traditional enterprise software.
These cloud-based solutions are much more user-friendly than the clunky, difficult-to-use enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that many people in procurement are familiar with. Over time, features that are widely popular with consumers, such as enriched catalog content and item comparisons, have started showing up in these systems. These enhancements and more advanced systems encourage user adoption and help reduce the amount of maverick spending. More intuitive P2P solutions that are built with the end user in mind typically deliver better results and offer increased spend management visibility.
Managing Direct and Indirect Spend
However, it’s not all about catalog spending. To truly maximize the benefits and take full advantage of your new P2P system, it’s important that you select a cloud spend management solution that excels at addressing all categories of your organizational spend. Contract-based services, such as legal and financial, should also be included in your spending. In order to gain full visibility and take control of your purchasing activities, you should look beyond your indirect spend and incorporate your direct spend as well. Systems that excel at managing both indirect and direct spend keep total cost of ownership low and prevent users from having to learn multiple new systems and processes to get a complete picture of company spend.
By choosing the right P2P spend management solution for your organization, you can greatly increase your spend visibility and make significant process improvements within your purchasing, AP and contract management department. Because each business case is truly unique and business needs are different, you should do your research to ensure you select a system that will achieve the results that you're looking for. However, a word to the wise: Be careful not to ask the spend management solution of your choosing to do more than it was built to do, and don’t fall prey to an over-anxious salesperson who could be making commitments their company won’t be able to fulfill. While it’s common for organizations to have somewhat unrealistic expectations of these systems, it is usually better to base your decision on functionality that is proven and being used successfully by many customers. Systems are more effective when they are used as intended.