In Part I we noted that Vinimaya, despite scaling back on their marketing efforts for about two years, has been hard at work extending their core Procurement Marketplace platform to be a fully-featured Procurement Marketplace platform that fills the gap that ERP e-Procurement solutions leave wide open. Specifically, while the average ERP e-Procurement solution does great when it comes to master data management; workflow, approval, and PO management; and financial system integration; it doesn’t do so hot when it comes to content management, search, ordering, and invoice management. (Just ask vendors like Wallmedien that became the number one e-Procurement provider in Germany by filling in the holes in the SAP e-Procurement solution and Nipendo that is growing fast here in North America by offering an e-Invoice management and automation solution that most e-Procurement solutions are missing.)
The proof that Vinimaya fills the gap is, as they say, in the pudding that a large number of large organizations are eating. The Vinimaya solution, which has had great success in the private and public sectors, and which supports 37 different currencies, is utilized by buyers and suppliers in 13 languages across 80 countries on 6 different continents. That’s pretty damn good for a small company with less than 75 employees headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Vinimaya’s success is due to the uniqueness it brings to the table. A unique federated search capability, a pure focus on the features other platforms lack, and a rapid implementation timeline (as a customer can go live on already supported supplier [platforms] immediately and most suppliers can be added within 24 hours) are just some of the reasons for their success. Other reasons include the platform’s ability to validate pricing in real time, force compliance if required, track pricing discrepancies, and get an organization’s spend under management.
And then there’s Vinimaya’s new vTransport solution that runs on top of their marketplace. One of the big inefficiencies in most Procurement organizations is invoice management and automation. With no standard means of invoice receipt and management, most large organizations require teams of tactical AP personnel who spend the vast majority of their time simply entering invoices into the payment system and validating basic information. In addition, due to limited manpower, only one in ten invoices gets fully validated and the result is a large number of overpayments, duplicate payments, and fraudulent payments. (There’s a reason that the recovery industry is still thriving and vendors like Lavante are building automated recovery solutions.) Like Nipendo, Vinimaya also recognized this issue and also recognized that many of the invoices are for goods and services requisitioned by organization personnel — most of which, if the solution is fully deployed and effectively utilized, should be bought through the Vinimaya platform.
So they acquired a leading PO and invoice management solution, improved it, and integrated it into their solution. With their new vTransport solution, POs can be delivered to the supplier through their mechanism of choice – XML, EDI, e-Document, supplier network, PDF scan attached to an e-mail, or old-fashioned fax, and then the invoice can be returned to the buyer through their mechanism of choice. And everything can be pulled direct from the central ERP data store and pushed back into the ERP workflow when received. In addition, the POs and invoices can pass through the Vinimaya audit engines which can verify prices and totals and limits to make sure no overcharges or fraudulent invoices get through. While the solution isn’t as extensive as you’ll get from a provider like Nipendo (which also has a print-to-cloud solution and [third-party] I-OCR integration), it’s considerably more extensive than the vast majority of e-Procurement solutions (and definitely way more extensive than what ERP offers) and will give most organizations an 80%+ solution. (The only POs and invoices missing will be for goods and servies not put through the platform – but such requisitions and invoices should be few and far between if the platform is fully deployed.) And the fact that it works with all of the big ERP and AP Systems (including Oracle, PeopleSoft, JDE, SAP, Lawson, Ariba, iValua, Microsoft, etc) out of the box is a big plus for organizations that want a good e-Procurement solution that is going to rapidly get their Spend Under Management (SUM).
Also, as indicated in our last post, the core platform has been extended, the UI has been revamped, and the performance has been accelerated greatly. Like many of the other e-Procurement players (like Coupa and b-Pack), Vinimaya has kept a close eye on consumer search and shopping (cart) technology and has incorporated the best features you’ll find on the web into their platform. Not only can you search all of the catalogs, punch-outs, and marketplaces relevant to your procurement needs in one federated search and dynamically validate the pricing and availability in real time, but you can filter on suppliers, price, and other relevant attributes dynamically, compare items in detailed comparison views, filter preferred items (based on simple or complex rankings) to the top, and track the price (and purchase) history of each item in real-time. Plus, the interface can be configured to each buyer and by each buyer to meet their particular needs.
Vinimaya has also added new quick-order and e-Forms functionality to support regular (re-orders) of products and services from suppliers based on standard catalog numbers (which a buyer probably has memorized) and standard organizational needs. The forms can be used for both simple and complex services, and templates can be pre-configured to meet all different types of service and manpower needs, including janitorial, (simple) advertising, and internal full-time and contingent workforce positions. In addition, buyers can also use them to make free-form requests and send them to the appropriate suppliers using the new quick-quote functionality. While not as extensive as what you will find in the Contingent Workforce or Agency Management solutions, it’s more than enough for most goods-based industries.
And extensive improvements have been made to auditing and analytics, but that, as well as other new development, will be the subject of a future post in this series on Vinimaya‘s Global Procurement Marketplace.