Most companies understand the need to reinforce their Procure to Pay cycle with supporting technologies. The right tools can eliminate time wasted, reduce the opportunity for errors or fraud, and help Procurement teams discover new opportunities through enhanced analytics. These are all valuable benefits, and companies who recognize them should get started down the path of P2P solutions. Right?

They’d be on the right track, but potentially the wrong train.

There’s a “garbage in, garbage out” element to this decision. After all, automating a poor process just leaves us with a bad automated process. These solutions, alone, can’t solve problems that exist at the fundamental level of our P2P processes. So, what should Procurement do?

Examine the Need from the Ground up

Examining any solution, P2P or otherwise, usually starts with framing it in the context of the issues it will help us solve. However, moving right from problem to platform skips an important step: thinking critically about what those issues are – and what is causing them in the first place.

Develop an end-to-end workflow of the process as it stands today. Think through each steps, and highlight critical issues for each. Do this through the lens of your team’s KPIs – are we missing the mark on timing? Do we have too many errors? What is keeping this process from functioning at a higher level?

From here, we can start thinking about process improvements. However, at this stage, we should not be framing those improvements in terms of any technology. In other words, we should consider this final question: “How would we address these issues if we weren’t planning on implementing a new P2P solution at all?”

Choose a Solution that Fits Needs

There are plenty of solutions to choose from in the market. The complexity of the products, the wide span of our processes they cover, and the number of options collectively make this a difficult choice.
Examining our needs as we did above is the first step toward making sense of it all. From the workflow we developed, we start to get a sense for the problems we have – both in terms of what we can solve through process improvement alone, and where we can leverage automation to take us to the next level. This second bucket is where we want to focus on during our review of solutions in the market.

Many solutions will have more functionality that we need or even want. While some companies may implement a solution across their entire workflow, many others choose one or two areas that are a specific pain point (in other words, are most damaging to the process) and expand the tool outwards from there.

In this context, we will need to outline our requirements very carefully. We will need to ensure we understand what we want to accomplish with a solution today as well as tomorrow, and select a solution that that fits this trajectory.

A Considered Implementation

Implementing new technology isn’t a simple matter when it is intertwined with business processes. We need to consider the transformative nature of these implementations. Before we start examining solutions, there are a few questions we must be able to answer:

  • Do we know who our stakeholders are? Who will be responsible for using the solution? An even wider net, who will be impacted by the solution’s successes or failures?
  • What is our Change Management plan? Do we have a strategy for training users and communicating the value of the change? How will we ensure that the implementation will solve our problems… rather than just adding new ones?
  • How are we measuring success? What could make the implementation a failure, and what are we doing to mitigate that risk?

Share To:

Brian Seipel

Post A Comment:

0 comments so far,add yours