A decade ago, Coupa announced the availability of Coupa QuickStart, which was a setup wizard that visually guides purchasing mangers through the setup process for users, approval rules, payment and shipping terms, billing information, chart of accounts, suppliers, and other basic information that was required to get a purchasing system up and running in less than an hour.
Needless to say, every system should have that capability today (even though a number still don’t), but given that this was on the market 10 years ago, systems should have advanced considerably since then.
What should they have? More than we can cover in one short article, but at a minimum:
- AI-powered normalized supplier network with community intelligence
and out-of-the-box plugins to allow for quick import of your vendor master(s) from all standard ERP and S2P systems (as well as support for complete XML and CSV exports) and AI to allow for quick de-duplication of suppliers between the network and your enterprise vendor master(s)
- Powerful search capability for quick supplier discovery that can take advantage of detailed product descriptions, community intelligence, and organizational profiles to find intelligent, well-rounded matches
- HR system / standards support
to allow for a quick import of employee profiles and organizational hierarchy direct from major systems or standard export files
- AP/Budget system / standards support
to allow for quick importation of budgets, approvers, and where possible, budget rules
- ERP/IMS integration or standard export file support
to allow for quick importation of categories and products purchased regularly, as well as demand for the past 3 years and current category suppliers and prices
- ERP/TMS integration or standard export file support
to allow for identification of current carriers, the categories/products they currently export, and standard LTL/FTL rates
- AI for profile completion
that imports the relevant organizational profile data from each of the above systems or exports to build the necessary profile that can be shared with suppliers for shipping, invoicing, etc.
- standard category templates for RFPs that can be tailored as needed by an AI that uses past event data in the ERP and current product data in the IMS to tailor the template as appropriate
In other words, it’s 2019 and
- an admin user should not have to define users, the platform should be able to do that automatically given a HR system (export)
- an admin should not have to define approval rules, the platform should be able to identify the most appropriate rules given budgets, approvers, and payment thresholds defined in the AP system
- an admin should not have to define payment and shipping terms, the platform should be able to export that information from the AP, ERP, and/or IMS systems
- an admin should not have to define billing information, that should be automatically extracted from the AP system
- an admin should not have to define a chart of accounts, that should be automatically extracted from the AP/Finance system
- an admin should not have to define/import suppliers manually, those should be pulled in from organizational systems automatically, normalized, and vetted against networks the buyer has access to
- a buyer should not have to create an RFP template from scratch, the platform should present an appropriate one for the category and products based on community and organizational intelligence
- a buyer should not have to do an extensive, time-intensive discovery process to identify new, suitable, suppliers, an AI-backed discovery engine that runs on a community intelligence backed network should identify suitable suppliers in minutes (and support the construction of qualification scenarios in just a few more minutes)
- a buyer should not have to manually manage the invitation, send out, monitoring, and reminders of the RFP, nor manually verify all data for reasonability and completeness, the AI should do that automatically, and automatically alert suppliers to complete missing data, check values that might be outliers, etc. and automatically alert the buyer of suspicious / missing data upon supplier submission
Quick Setup is more than a wizard – it’s using assisted intelligence backed by sophisticated algorithms, community data, and all organizational data to mitigate the need for the organization to do pointless repetitive setup in the first place! But how many platforms have that today? Unfortunately, when the holistic picture is taken into account, the answer is zero.
So, not only are Procurement Leaders still stuck in 2009 (as per yesterday’s article), but so are the majority of technology providers. So when looking for one, find one on this path, unless you want to return to the decade where a lot happened, but little is remembered. Or do you want to do something where you’ll be remembered? Like selecting a platform that could not only modernize Procurement but open it up to the entire organization. Your call.