In Parts I and II, we noted that when we last covered iValua in 2010, they were one of the few providers tackling end-to-end sourcing and procurement in a single suite of integrated modules built on one common platform. We noted in Tackling End-to-End Sourcing and Procurement, Part I that this French company had capabilities that, at least to some degree, addressed each of the core phases of the basic sourcing-and-procurement cycle except decision optimization and tax reclamation. Since then, they have added advanced tax tracking capability, and a boatload of other features that include SIM/SPM, Risk Management, Project Management, Enhanced Analytics, and Extensive UI customization. Today, we will continue our coverage of the platform, which includes modules for Supplier Management, Sourcing, Contract Management, and Catalog Management that were covered in Parts I and II; Procurement, Invoice Management, Expense Management, and Reporting that will be covered today; and Administration that will be covered tomorrow in the series finale.
Procurement, in the iValua suite, is the process of creating requisitions (and having them approved), managing the resulting orders, managing budgets, managing receipts, and managing services deliverables. Requisition management, order management, and budget management are standard fare for Procurement platforms and work as you would expect, but the ability to create and mange receipts and manage service deliverables is a more unique offering for a Procurement platform. This allows for m-way matching in the platform, which is key to ensuring that not only are negotiated savings realized, but that overpayments, and more importantly, fraudulent payments, are not made.
Invoice Management revolves around invoice creation, management, and reconciliation to receipts. It all works as you would expect, and there is nothing fancy here. Just a well-designed platform designed to make the process as smooth as possible.
Expense Management is the process of requesting cash advances, managing requests, creating expense reports, reviewing expense reports, rejecting lines or entire reports, and approving lines or entire reports. The expense management process is fully defined, and consists of creation, validation, accountant validation, threshold checking, finance or external department approval, (final) accounting approval, and settlement. As with invoice management, the process, and the application, works as you would expect.
Reporting is the process of creating analysis reports, browsing them, creating queries, managing them, and then, as a result of the analyses, creating strategic action plans. The analysis capability is quite good. Users can create their own cross-tabs and pivot tables in the browser by dragging-and-dropping dimensions into chosen row and column positions. The analysis can be on any type of data stored in the system — surveys, questionnaires, RFX bid events, e-auctions, budgets, invoices, etc. But the most unique capability is the ability to create strategic action plans, which can serve as the foundation for future sourcing events. Like improvement plans, they can be quite detailed and are generally setup to support savings initiatives.
Each strategic action plan / savings project has a breakdown that allows a user to quickly access the definition data, the team and associated tasks, the financial overview, and detailed analysis through a sequence of tabs. The definition data will indicate the current status, related sourcing projects, and notes added by the team. The financial overview will capture the budgeted savings when the project was approved, the planned savings at project initiation, the current savings forecast, and the amount of savings captured to date. The actual savings (and forecast) will come from the data gathered during Procurement and be calculated using a user-defined formula (which could be as simple as $1 per unit, based upon negotiated rates).
Come back tomorrow when we’ll cover Administration and wrap-up the series!