That’s a very hard question and, to some extent the key elements will, at least in many views, revolve around what you are looking for the platform to support, but there are some elements that should be part of your S2P platform regardless of where your solution focus is.
What are they? Where can you find some hints? For starters, you can loo to the new version of Solution Maps, designed by the doctor, with initial results releasing in less than two months, which have refactored all of the maps to have a new Common *platform* section (as well as a new common section for Sourcing – SXM due to the large overlap between the requirements and today’s platforms) which focuses on areas that are critical to S2P success regardless of your focus.
This new Common section is broken down into five categories
And they key requirements for any platform can be found in these four categories
In our last post we analyzed analytics and technology. In today’s post we are going to look at configurability and the supplier portal, both of which are also vital to ANY S2P application, whether best of breed, mini suite, suite, or next generation platform.
Let’s start with configurability. It has five critical sub-categories:
Sourcing is done over global supply chains so global support for languages, currencies, data exchange, and data protection is absolutely vital.
The application needs to support accurate organizational modelling to allow for selection of proper delivery addresses, identification of appropriate personnel associated with a location, identification of the right accounting structures (for the local country), etc.
When it comes to usability, there is no one size fits all view. The CPO needs to see summaries and critical issues when she logs in, the category buyer needs to see a snapshot of current category performance, current projects, related issues, and so on. The CFO only cares about the financial summaries and impacts. And so on. And no one wants to click around for 5 minutes to find the information they need – they want it in their face when they log in. A good measure of a modern application is not how long the user is in it, but how long they aren’t in it. From a user’s viewpoint, as Weird Al so eloquently put it two decades ago, “it does all my work without my even askin’”.
These days, users don’t have tasks to do, they have projects to manage. RPA was built to do mindless, repetitive tasks. And that’s what the system should do, guiding the buyer through the project to allow her to focus on the strategic decisions and relationships.
A modern S2P application needs some workflow support that allows it to adjust to the needs of the user and the senior administrators to pre-define common workflows to optimize user productivity.
Similarly, every application that collects or stores supplier data needs to provide great capabilities around
Business is captured in documents of all shapes, sizes, and types … and these come from both parties, not just the buyer – it must be easy for the supplier to get and put these with ease
A supplier must be able to maintain, or at least easily submit updates and corrections to, their profile. The whole point of a portal is to enable the supplier and ease life on the buyer.
And, of course, as we dive into each of the main areas of S2P, there are other core features, but these foundational elements need to be addressed before any vendor can offer a great best-of-breed point based solution, mini-suite, suite, or platform.