No automation without transformation - turning spent control into spend control

Posted by  Simon Dadswell

PROACTIS In the latest pre-Customer Conference blog, PROACTIS Marketing Director Simon Dadswell looks at what our partnership delivers for customers and how technology is unlocking a range of benefits.

Our focus at PROACTIS together with UNIT4 is to enable organisations to better control their expenditure on all goods and services. The unique combination of our software solutions and expert services ensure customers’ financial and procurement processes are delivering maximum bottom-line value through procure-to-pay process automation and transformation.

This moves organisations from the issues associated with spent control to optimising processes that enable true spend control. That’s the difference between raising a finance file in your ERP to firefight an impending invoice to ensure payment and operating a fully integrated, compliant solution that handles all the information management and access, workflow and business rules, guided processes and secure web access – inside and outside your corporate IT firewall – necessary for ‘closed-loop’ spend management and control. In short, this helps:

• Finance improve visibility and control of spend
• Procurement to create more value and savings opportunities
• The entire organisation streamline the way they purchase goods and services while ensuring compliance in order to capture maximum actual savings

In particular, these solutions are proven to help organisations improve bottom-line results in 4 distinct ways:

1. Savings from reduced cost of purchased goods and services
2. Savings from increased procurement leverage
3. Savings from process efficiencies
4. Savings from mitigated risk of supplier non-compliance and non-performance

For example, the PROACTIS Supplier Network provides a web-based channel for you and your suppliers to interact electronically, and enables a number of supplier self-service functions. It dramatically reduces the administrative effort in your Procurement and Accounts Payable departments while improving supplier communication. It provides the platform for a number of applications that deliver value to both parties:

• Self-service profile management enables suppliers to directly maintain standard information about themselves such as an electronic brochure, terms of business, classified goods and services, branch locations and contracts. Ultimately, it provides a “single version of the truth” of suppliers, contracts etc.
• Self-service catalogue management enables suppliers to state what goods and services they sell in a clear and normalised format and the necessary internal controls to manage updates to supplier content
• RFx and quotation posting and response streamlines the sourcing process
• Account enquiry allows suppliers to access published details of their account, including invoice and payment status, transaction history, etc. This removes a massive overhead for Accounts Payable and resolves supplier queries rapidly.

Many UNIT4 customers are starting to use this cloud-based transaction hub to streamline commerce transactions. PROACTIS Electronic Commerce provides a range of techniques for doing business with your suppliers in a streamlined manner. You can apply a variety of methods based on varying transaction volume and technical capabilities of different suppliers. And over time, you can work with suppliers to move through increasingly efficient methods to deliver incremental improvements that add up to significant savings for both you and your suppliers.

This is a real opportunity for UNIT4 and PROACTIS customers. We want to ensure there’s a win-win for both buying organisations and their suppliers by enabling better interaction and commerce while using the latest cloud and social technologies to support that..

In particular, we focus on best practice process automation and transformation without “boiling the ocean”. Once you have the PROACTIS capabilities in place and address initial quick win opportunities you will be ready to work your larger strategy with incremental expansion and refinement. You will have the tools in place to:

• Increase the range and volume of supplier management and sourcing activities you execute electronically via the Supplier Network
• Expand the range of suppliers incorporated in your organisation’s overall purchase catalogue without the need to perform manual updates – via electronic connections such as punch-out to supplier websites, or via supplier self-service catalogue maintenance etc.
• Methodically move suppliers through increasingly efficient methods of electronic commerce as you and your capabilities increase.

The PROACTIS Supplier Network helps organisation to bridge the functional and process gaps between Procurement, Purchasing and Payables. It enables you to deploy a private cloud environment that you can control while simplifying all types of supplier interaction. For many this is the next wave in process automation and transformation.

Simon Dadswell