Plenty of businesses buy technology thinking it will solve all of their problems. When it doesn’t, some will not want to admit their mistakes in buying a solution that wasn’t quite right for their needs. But others want to fx those gaps and still get the most out of the systems that they’re paying for.
A good example of this appears when a system promises to handle all of your core business processes — as well as meet loftier goals like offering rich data analytics or creating a supplier network to add value. The new solution may actually move your business a step away from manual workfows, but
you may be left wondering why you’re not attaining those loftier goals.
Let’s look closer at the gaps that we see:
• A new system can be so complex that users will not adopt it.
• Robust technology can add capabilities but will expose other weaknesses, like if you add RFX automation but
your master data on suppliers is still manually maintained, then the quality of the data isn’t good enough to drive the system’s promised analytics.
• Use of workarounds abounds, wasting more time and propping up manual workfows.
• To solve problems across a company, patchworks of computer systems get deployed haphazardly and only a few staffers can operate them for internal users and external suppliers.
By clearing these hurdles, businesses can focus on relationships that will help weather today’s problems facing the market — like rising costs, the realignment of labor, supply chain delays or risks from the pandemic and climate change.
Here is how to fll the gaps by using technology that works:
• Make sure the new solution is easy to use. If it isn’t adopted as an everyday beneft, then it fails.
• Have confdence that it can integrate with the systems you’ve already paid for. Few businesses can afford to scrap entire ERPs or the range of point solutions that are already installed.
• Look for a system that lets users on both sides of a transaction interact with it in various ways, whether
that’s a frequent user who signs on every day to a best of-breed module or someone who prefers a mobile experience, access via a portal or even using email.
• Ensure that the automation that’s promised actually does free people to do more strategic tasks — like
supplier collaboration, ESG improvement or investor relations.
To learn more about these issues, we talked with Eyal Rosenberg, co-Founder and CEO at Nipendo, whose RFXto-Payment hyperautomation platform focuses on supplier collaboration, supplier networks and automation of tasks like RFX, order fulfllment, supply chain, invoicing and onboarding suppliers.
Spend Matters: An interesting area of business these days is supplier collaboration. We’ve seen the pandemic do less damage to companies that had better supplier relationships so they could source materials from different suppliers. And suppliers more and more are being relied on for driving innovation. Technology vendors that don’t address this trend are falling behind. What gaps need to be flled to ensure that these capabilities succeed?
Eyal Rosenberg: The importance of good supplier relations cannot be overstated. As organizations grow,
they fnd it more diffcult to maintain effective relationships with the myriad supplier types and sizes, particularly if they’re managing those relationships using ineffective methods, which ultimately lead to an abundance of errors, miscommunication, frustration and lost opportunities.
Effective supplier relationships are key to an organization’s competitive strength. Intelligent automation tools — which make it easier for suppliers and buyers to interact with minimal business disruption and associated costs, and which identify errors and opportunities in real time — are great for ensuring an effective fow of communications, minimal discrepancies and speedy resolution of issues that arise.
How does supplier onboarding or the supplier participation rate affect a business’s costs and
Organizations spend exorbitant amounts of money, time and effort implementing automation solutions designed to improve supplier relations, yet they end up with only limited supplier participation. As the saying goes — it takes two to tango. If suppliers are not participating in the process, it is useless. Companies should investigate not only the list of features offered by procure-to-pay automation solutions, but also their track record of onboarding suppliers for full participation in the automation process. As the percentage of participating suppliers grows, so does the ROI of said automation solution, but of course, there should also be a reasonable level of investment and incentives to achieve
high participation rates.
Can technology alone address all of the gaps in business processes?
Humans are key to the success of any technology. While software bots and algorithms can work faster and more accurately than humans, the level of creativity and innovation that only humans have is necessary to address exceptions and to continuously improve the functionality and relevance of the computers. After implementing an effective intelligent automation solution around procure-to-pay, employees can be redirected toward higher value functions.
You mentioned that you have incentives for suppliers at onboarding. What are those benefts?
Suppliers that onboard to the Nipendo platform work more effectively with their customers and get paid on time.
The platform is deployed with minimal business disruption — no need to replace the underlying ERP or accounting systems, simple and highly affordable B2B integration, multiple use methods (email, mobile app, web portal, B2B connection).
The platform guides suppliers through each specific process to ensure that they submit accurate and correct information. This function not only significantly reduces the time it takes a supplier to process each submission but it also ensures that the data is delivered correctly and ultimately that they get
Errors or discrepancies are immediately detected, and there are mechanisms that support effective dispute resolution. Suppliers gain exposure to new business opportunities and consequently to new potential customers. Once on the Nipendo platform, they can receive requests for quotations from companies that are not yet customers of theirs, which are also on the platform. The RFX is directed to relevant suppliers based on their category of business.
Suppliers receive AR fnancing opportunities and credit line options, which account for their credit history on the platform.
Suppliers also receive analytics and business intelligence.
How does having more than 90% of suppliers successfully onboarded affect the supplier networks that your customers want to build?
Nipendo’s ability to address all types of P2P processes and all spend categories, while offering suppliers various ways by which to interact with their customers simultaneously and fully synchronized, set the ground for a massive adoption rate. Interacting through the Nipendo platform is far easier for both suppliers and buyers than through existing methods.
Moreover, the Nipendo platform is not unlike some social media platforms in that it requires no training or education to work with. There is no overhead cost, yet there is instant value-add to each member of the trading community.
We used supplier onboarding as an example of digital transformation, but what do customers need to know to get started with automation if their company has very little technology versus a business that has added solutions but maybe made a mistaken purchase here or there?
Nipendo addresses two types of pain points: (a) the pain felt by companies that have no automation solution in place, which manually interact with a large and often varied number of suppliers. These companies typically suffer from an abundance of errors, slow processing time and ineffective supplier relations. (B) the pain felt by companies that invested in automation solutions that have not delivered on
their promise. These companies will usually shy away from discarding technologies they’ve already invested in and will more likely seek ways by which to justify past investments.Being an end-to-end solution, Nipendo is a great fit for companies that have not yet invested in any such solution.
They will discover that Nipendo is price-competitive and that it is quickly and simply deployed. These companies will experience rapid ROI.
Nipendo was also designed in modular fashion, and such that it can complement other players in the market, which it views simply as a data source. A company that already deployed a solution for their indirect spend, for example, will fnd it simple to add Nipendo on the direct spend side, while at the same time enhancing the functionality of the existing application and its supplier reach.