As organizations continue to implement technology designed to streamline their Purchase-to-Pay (P2P) processes, a number of trends and concerns keep surfacing. Both were discussed in a recent webinar hosted by PayStream’s Henry Ijams and featuring Greg Horton of OpenText. 

Visibility 

Visibility remained a major concern for all P2P professionals as they’re attempting to find new ways to obtain greater control over the sheer volume of transactions that arise from business processes in a global economy. 

The transactions are becoming increasingly digitalized, as more and more companies continue to eliminate paper by moving to software that handles everything from expense management to corporate travel bookings. The increase in digitalization automatically results in an increase of data, with massive data piling up in the systems. In a perfect world, the collected data would be visible, meaningful and actionable – but that’s not always the case. 

Supplier Relationships 

A significant portion of the data challenges P2P professionals face is related to managing supplier information. In fact, supplier information management topped the list of concerns related to supplier relationships in PayStream’s Supplier Management Report. 

Top Supplier Relations Issues 

  • 43 percent: Problems stemming from poor supplier data management
  • 38 percent: Late invoice payments
  • 19 percent: Poor supplier dispute or query response times 

As Ijams noted in the webinar, enhancing relationship with suppliers is no longer as simple as accepting invoices sent by mail, fax or Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems. Myriad additional formats are now being used, with emailed invoices accounting for up to 40 percent of all invoices sent. 

It’s imperative for companies to be able to communicate with their suppliers through multiple channels. And implementing a management solution that can handle a diverse range of channels is one of the increasing trends among the most innovative organizations. 

Collaborative Commerce 

While the first stage for many companies new to the P2P scene may be going paperless, more advanced companies are now focusing on collaborative commerce as their utmost goal. Collaborative commerce consists of connecting buyers, suppliers and stakeholders involved in transactions, and organizations embracing the strategy have already begun to realize an increase in cost savings as well as efficiency. 

Collaborative commerce is not a one-time strategy, either. In order to continue to meet the needs of buyers, suppliers and stakeholders as the company grows, various adaptations often need to be made. 

A system that works well for US operations, for instance, may not work as well for overseas operations. Adaptations may need to be made to expand the system’s ability to communicate through multiple channels and support multiple currencies and languages. 

Companies need to be flexible as well as willing and able to expand their systems as they grow, keeping customer service, compliance and productivity at the forefront along the way. 

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