Webinar presented by Oildex featuring Forrester
When it comes to choosing business software solutions, our number one interest lies in getting the most bang for our buck. Single enterprise-wide solutions might carry a plethora of functionality, but do you really need it all? A common user interface for everyone in your organization may be simpler to use, but does everyone in your organization work the same way?
In a previous blog, we discussed why best of breed solutions actually out-perform single solutions. And last week, Forrester and Oildex hosted a webinar to elaborate on why standalone solutions win over single suites. Here’s a quick summary if you missed it.
The Dominant Player in P2P
Forrester VP and Principal Analyst, Andrew H. Bartels, began the webinar with an explanation of the procure-to-pay (P2P) process, its ePurchasing products, and the importance of eInvoicing.
The P2P process includes eProcurement, contract lifecycle management (CLM), spend analysis, eInvoicing, and supplier network services. Many companies assume an ePurchasing suite will cover all the needs of these areas, but really, eInvoicing should hold the most importance. “eInvoicing is more important than you might think,” says Bartels. It is critical to the entire P2P process because:
- It provides source data for spend analysis
- It provides indicators for contract compliance and supplier performance
- It impacts supplier willingness to do business with you
- It is a source of savings through supplier discounts
Why Suppliers Matter
So if eInvoicing is so crucial, what should companies look for in a business solution?
Bartels says your suppliers need to be cooperative and the solution you choose matters to them. Some solutions understand this and actually focus on engaging a large network of suppliers to attract customers. An optimal business solution will have a number of suppliers already on-boarded or the solution will provide tools and support to easily set up your suppliers.
Additionally, your solution should support different XML standards. Not all suppliers are created equal since their resources and technological investments vary. More suppliers will be able to adopt your solution if it allows purchase orders and invoices to be delivered via electronic delivery, fax, and integration.
Another attractive feature for many includes electronic catalog content delivery from suppliers and the option to maintain the catalog and manage compliance. In this respect, your suppliers are managing the catalogs for you.
The importance of suppliers is not a new concept. Check out this blog on why suppliers are key to your business automation success.
Standalone vs. ePurchasing Suites
Although companies know their suppliers are more likely to adopt a solution that’s easier to implement and use, there’s still much to debate when it comes to the pros and cons of standalone versus entire ePurchasing suites.
Here are some considerations:
With an ePurchasing suite, everyone from accounts payable to procurement will be using the same set of products. However, different stakeholders within your company will have different requirements. Will an ePurchasing suite really fit everyone’s needs?
A suite offers a common data flow and real-time connection to data. But is real-time data flow actually necessary to each and every function in your company? A purchase order, for instance, may be fulfilled several days before an invoice comes in, so real-time visibility may not be necessary for AP staff.
- Individual products in a suite generally cost less than a standalone solution. But many all-in-one solutions offer what Bartels calls “lowest common denominator functionality”. Are you getting the best bang for your buck? Does your solution understand your industry’s complexities to actually help you do business profitably and faster?
Bartels’ advice is short and sweet: “Don’t be lured by the siren song of suites…Industry expertise matters in eInvoicing and can be another reason for choosing a separate solution.” For instance, it’s important for oil and gas companies to select an eInvoicing solution that supports common invoice standards and formats such as PIDX. “Overall, an appropriate eInvoicing solution helps ensure you get the value you’re charged for oilfield services.”
How OpenInvoice Can Help
“Oildex is the largest oil and gas business network. As part of the Oildex network, OpenInvoice helps clients automatically reconcile and validate invoices to field tickets, purchase orders, and pricing agreements,” says Senior Marketing Manager, Michael Ross.
Here are some examples of OpenInvoice’s advantage over other eInvoicing products:
- It automates invoice workflow and allows staff to focus on exceptions
- Invoices can be automatically routed to the correct person or team
- Less time is spent coding invoices
- Administrative load is reduced while data quality improves
- Invoice cycle times drastically decreases, providing opportunities to earn more early pay discounts
- Supplier collaboration improves with an easy to use, self-service portal
- OpenInvoice is purpose-built for the oil and gas industry