My recent interview with CPO Summit regarding the automation of the entire Procure-to-Pay process generated a number of interesting reader comments.
One that stood out in particular came from a senior public sector executive who made the following observation; Sounds like they are offering an invoice to order matching system that ‘bolts on’ to an organizations existing ERP and procurement system. I can’t help but wonder if they are into three way matching and also whether their fundamental assumption is that an organization is only using a single ERP to do both financials and ordering. The individual then went on to ask if Nipendo’s technology could bridge disparate systems and data as is typical with Government.
While we do much more than simple three way matching – something about which you can learn more about through the following link – it was the question about bridging disparate or multiple systems that I would like to focus on today.
We have always believed that integration is key for any B2B automation. This is due to the fact that organizations have invested thousands of person hours and billions of dollars to build up their current ERP and B2B infrastructure. As a result, there is likely little if any appetite for creating additional silos of information, let alone ripping and replacing incumbent systems.
It‘s no wonder that a recent SCM World Study placed so much emphasis on the importance of legacy ERP systems in terms of cloud adoption relating to supply chain improvement.
It is therefore critical to recognize that over time, organizational requirements have changed and even expanded following corporate mergers and acquisitions, in which companies have often times been put in the position of having to deal with multiple ERP systems from a number of different vendors. This creates a high level of complexity, especially relating to data transformation to and from different data formats.
Add into the equation the need to extend ERP integration from internal systems to include supplier and platform systems – and integration efforts are tantamount to trying to hit a series of moving targets.
It is exactly this kind of integration challenge that makes a universal language critical for enabling a scalable business process – both across systems within the organization and even more so when the process extends beyond the enterprise firewalls and into the supply chain ecosystem.
More specifically, having a universal language, understanding the content of the electronic documents and looking at integration from a business process point of view means that you will be able to leverage an existing infrastructure thereby maximizing any investment you have made in buyer-supplier connectivity solutions—be it electronic invoicing, OCR, EDI, or a supplier portal —and achieve the next level of P2P process automation and reconciliation. The reason is that with a smart technology and architecture in place, you can enable a seamless integration that is quick and simple, with no complex customizations, data mapping, or changes to existing business processes. This in turn means that every partner can easily configure, manage, and maintain their end of the connection, with minimal initial and ongoing cost, time and effort.
This last point takes on even greater importance, given the same SCM World Study’s findings that “Companies continue to lean on their IT departments to do more with less.”