As we mentioned in yesterday’s post, a decade ago the Oompa Loompas at Coupa announced the availability of Coupa QuickStart which was simply 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.
But just being able to order a product from a catalogue or send out a simple RFP is not very strategic, especially for 2019. And these days, any event that is not strategic is not going to generate much value when savings are drying up, brands are falling, and spending is falling as GDP growth stagnates and we return to depression era economics.
Needless to say, not only should every system have the capabilities that Coupa had 10 years ago, and the capabilities that we outlined in yesterday’s post on what QuickStart Procurement should look like, but that’s not enough. Not for 2019. Ten years ago we were promised semi-cognitive systems, and most systems can’t even automate basic invoice processing. It’s sad, sad, sad.
So, what should a modern system have? One built this decade?
- smart RFI creation
that, as per yesterday’s article, can be generated purpose built for the products in question using templates and organizational data in the ERP
- smart RFI monitoring
that can monitor the event, send out reminders, automatically check inputs against public data, organizational data, and expected data, and send out alerts to buyers when suppliers are late, inputs are off, or bids are outliers
- smart bid analysis
that can compare bids to past bids, market averages, and expected costs from reasonable should cost models
- smart award recommendations
based on bids, delivery times, availability, and supplier preferences
- automatic auctions
that can auto-populate from RFIs, auto-run, auto-monitor, auto-enforce rules, and auto-award and notify winners when the auction is over (as they won’t be invited to the auction if they don’t agree to the necessary terms and conditions to be offered an award beforehand)
- automatic default contract creation
that uses the organizational boilerplate, terms and conditions, default category clauses, awards, and associated obligations to generate a default contract
- automatic document comparison and change tracking
even if the supplier sends back a signed PDF that looks like the one you sent, every character will be analyzed
- automatic performance monitoring plan generation
that will track, based on the contract, when orders should go out, when goods should be received, when documents should be received, when reports should be received, when other deliverables should be received, when assessments should occur, etc.
- real-time performance monitoring
that monitors a plan, sends out alerts to buyers when deliverables are missed, sends out alerts to suppliers when they have not submitted a document or a shipment notification on time, automatically sends out pre-defined performance assessment surveys, etc.
Quick Setup is more than a wizard, it’s an assisted intelligence platform backed by sophisticated algorithms community and market data, and all organizational data and processes to mitigate the need for the buyer to do pointless tactical data processing in the first place and focus purely on the strategic analysis of RFX responses, when the relevant data and insights have already been generated by the platform.
But how many platforms have that today? The same umber of platforms that have assisted intelligence for Procurement. Zero.
In other words, just like Procurement Leaders are stuck in 2009 (as per yesterday’s article, but so are the vast majority of technology providers. So when looking for a new solution, find one of the few technology providers on this path. Otherwise, your solution capability will be nought, and that’s the decade you will return to. Not something anyone wants.