Source-to-Pay+ is Extensive (P34) … But How Do I Orchestrate Everything?

You’ve worked your way through the S2P series and are working your way through finding the initial solution(s) that you need and putting together a plan to select, implement, integrate, train on, and utilize those solutions as part of your daily processes. Since you’ve selected a number of best-of-breed modules (because you realized that you don’t necessarily need a suite, that no suite is best in class across all of the modules, and many of the modules only need endpoint connectivity because you’re not jumping back and forth when you’re within the process of that module), you’ve started wondering about the best way to integrate them (beyond data-based endpoint integration), and, more importantly, how to manage the projects around them (especially since it’s very likely that you won’t find general purpose S2P project management in any of the modules, as even suites can be lacking in this regard).

[Even if you selected a suite, you should still read on to find out just what that suite should be doing to make sure you are getting maximum value, especially since, and we’re sorry to tell you this, the 6 basic modules that form the core process are just the beginning — you will still need data enrichment, ESG/CSR, integration with services management, asset management, inventory management, logistics and supply chain, and other features these core modules won’t have in order to get to the next level of enterprise buying once you get through the first two rounds of opportunities.]

That really depends on

  • what S2P project tracking/management capability you have in the modules you bought (i.e. if the spend analysis module came with a savings tracking module that allowed you to define and track all sourcing/procurement projects at a high level, that may be enough, or it may not)
  • how much insight / visibility stakeholders need into the process status (some modules may provide them with the free/read-only access they need, some may not)
  • how much of your work comes from (one-off) requests vs. corporate purchasing mandates (i.e. are you mainly purchasing bulk products for resale, bills of material for engineering, etc. or are you purchasing a lot of start-up kits for new-hires, one-off requests for conferences/events, special BoMs for build-to-order, etc.)

If i) the spend analysis module contains basic project management in it’s saving tracking component ii) the stakeholders only need visibility during the selection and award phase of e-Sourcing, and they have that through the e-Sourcing module and iii) the team does very little one-off purchasing as they are supporting a manufacturing operation that has low turnover and only goes to the same old shows every year, then chances are customized end-point integration between the modules will be enough.

But, if i) the only “project” tracking is in the e-Sourcing tool and it ends at the award identification, ii) the stakeholders need visibility into the award process, contract negotiation cycle, and current/outstanding POs, and iii) there is a lot of one-off purchasing that needs to not only be tracked, but the status regularly communicated, then you may need a solution to integrate them in a process-oriented workflow and provide visibility into where each purchase request and project is to the appropriate stakeholders. These solutions are typically known as “intake” (and often marketed as intake-to-procure or intake-to-pay) or “orchestration” (and typically marketed as “procurement orchestration” or “sourcing orchestration”) solutions and are starting to pop-up rather regularly now.

The first solution, the granddaddy, of these was Per Angusta, which was recently acquired by SpendHQ. Founded in 2012 to manage the source-to-pay workflow, Per Angusta built one of the first open API frameworks to allow it to integrate with best-of-breed solutions on the market across the Source-to-Pay cycle, and to allow those best-of-breed companies to easily integrate with it proactively. By the time of its acquisition, it integrated with over two dozen best-of-breed solutions (and even a couple of suites) that allowed organizations to incrementally build their source-to-pay workflow in the order that made sense to them, and then easily integrate all of those solutions through one integration to Per Angusta.

It was more-or-less by itself for the first half of its existence, but since then options have cropped up to help you orchestrate the process, some within existing vendors (to provide an interface to the organization and orchestrate their various modules) and some new solutions to solve the orchestration process (and some of these vendors are now building core procurement/payment capabilities if they started as “intake” solutions).

So what are these solutions? And what do they do? We’ll tackle the latter question in our next installment [Part 35] (and then provide a list of vendors in the installment after that).