Some organisations get it. They fully recognise the potential that new technology and process has to transform their business. Others, quite simply, don’t. Some still see automation only as a potentially faster way of doing business, but with added implementation and process change costs, and anyway they're quite happy the way things are – so push it to one side.
But they’re missing a trick – and it’s a much broader one than they imagine. Automation, combined with process change isn’t just a question of speed, done properly it can be a means to an altogether more efficient machine.
Strip out the paper
Stripping paper out of the system and introducing reporting capabilities into processes means that organisations can not only reduce their exposure to error, risk and fraud, but are able to gain deep real-time insight into the business at the same time.
Now's the Time to Re-Visit The Automation Strategy
And whether by design or by default, this greater visibility can shine a light on the wider P2P process – end to end. In the past, a procurement contract might have had little to do with accounts payable, and any financial arrangement around payment terms held as part of their relationship with the supplier. But with the growth of einvoicing, and the ability to use financing methods on the back of it, such as dynamic discounting – buyer and supplier can work together to address any working capital crunch. To do that effectively, the different areas of P2P need to be able to work together. As the world responds to the repercussions of Covid-19, there's never been a more important time to invest in different methods of working - both culturally and from a technology standpoint.
End to End Visibility
In some organisations, this is already happening. What were once entirely separate functions, are now connected – both physically in terms of where the practitioners sit in the office, and via the technology they use. Some of the major players like SAP Ariba or Basware for example and others such as Ivalua and Tradeshift, have invested heavily on developing end to end solutions which open up the whole area to greater visibility, including along the supply chain.
Of course, you still need an area of the business which analyses the reporting. So-called “big data” is only as useful to an organisation as the power it gives them. Organisations need to be able to both measure KPIs and act on the intelligence they provide.
Gain Executive Buy-in
One of the ways organisations can make sure that happens, is to sit someone at the head of the table – someone who has the power to look at the processes and analytics and implement change where it’s needed. In some organisations that’s the Head of P2P, or the Global Process Owner. But whoever it is, for change to work, and for them to be taken seriously, they need to have the buy-in from the executive team.
And if you have buy-in from the executive team, it means that they have faith in what you can deliver to the business. And if that’s the case, then those sitting across the P2P process have the capacity to raise their game. The roles available in P2P are no longer static, the technology and culture shift means that they have the potential to evolve into something wider, more valuable to an organisation’s profitability than ever before.