Category Archives: Procurement Orchestration

It’s a Wild Wild West, and (Gen-) AI won’t tame it!

In this linked post, Jon the Revelator shares his thoughts about “supply chain orchestration”, which is, in his words, the latest incarnation of “agent-based modelling within a dynamic Metaprise” (probably because no one understood what a Metaprise was, no one in their right mind would want to live in a Metaverse, and orchestration just sounds cool). After all, the technical definition of “a synchronized [versus sequential] architecture (private hub) that simultaneously links or incorporates the unique operating attributes of all transactional stakeholders on a real-world, real-time basis” is pretty close to what orchestration does, which today is supposed to link all the systems the organization uses to capture the unique operating attributes of the different transactional stakeholders.

Jon also notes that stakeholder input is required to lay a solid foundation, and that orchestration cannot forget the people aspect, as people are responsible for Procurement. This is where most systems fail today. They don’t focus on usability, stakeholder connectivity, or end user enablement. The process is important, as is automation capability, but it’s not about AI (and definitely not Gen-AI which is just Artificial Idiocy), but Augmented Intelligence where the system automates the tactical and not only allows the user to focus on the strategic, but provides enhanced intelligence to enable strategic analysis. Machines are great at the repeated error-free calculations required for thunking, but they are definitely not great at strategic thinking.

As a result, while software can be a tool to tame the wild west of Procurement, it will only be if it is the right software tool in the hands of an old Pro who knows when to grab the reins and when to grab the Colt 1860. And only an old pro will understand what to look for in a reliable tool, because, unlike the new generations, we don’t fall for “the new hotness”. (Check the comments.)

The Sourcing Innovation Source-to-Pay+ Mega Map!

Now slightly less useless than every other logo map that clogs your feeds!

1. Every vendor verified to still be operating as of 4 days ago!
Compare that to the maps that often have vendors / solutions that haven’t been in business / operating as a standalone entity in months on the day of release! (Or “best-of” lists that sometimes have vendors that haven’t existed in 4 years! the doctor has seen both — this year!)

2. Every vendor logo is clickable!
the doctor doesn’t know about you, but he finds it incredibly useless when all you get is a strange symbol with no explanation or a font so small that you would need an electron microscope to read it. So, to fix that, every logo is clickable so you can go to the site and at least figure out who the vendor is.

3. Every vendor is mapped to the closest standard category/categories!
Furthermore, every category has the standard definitions used by Sourcing Innovation and Spend Matters!
the doctor can’t make sense of random categories like “specialists” or “collaborative” or “innovative“, despises when maps follow this new age analyst/consultancy award trend and give you labels you just can’t use, and gets red in the face when two very distinct categories (like e-Sourcing and Marketplaces or Expenses and AP are merged into one). Now, the doctor will also readily admit that this means that not all vendors in a category are necessarily comparable on an apples-to-apples basis, but that was never the case anyway as most solutions in a category break down into subcategories and, for example, in Supplier Management (SXM) alone, you have a CORNED QUIP mash of solutions that could be focused on just a small subset of the (at least) ten different (primary) capabilities. (See the link on the sidebar that takes you to a post that indexes 90+ Supplier Management vendors across 10 key capabilities.)

Secure Download the PDF!  (or, use HTTP) [HTML]
(5.3M; Note that the Free Adobe Reader might choke on it; Preview on Mac or a Pro PDF application on Windows will work just fine)

Vroozi: Address the Bluesy of your Procurement Problems With a Solution That’s Doozy and Approved by the Choosy! Part 2

Our last post began our discussion of Vroozi, a modern P2P solution that is usable by all organizations of al sizes regardless of where they are, what devices their people use, and where they are in the Procurement journey. Vroozi offers an extensive P2P++ solution that is enterprise grade (and used by some of the largest companies in the world) but that is also priced for the mid-market (that they started out to serve). Yesterday we covered the core e-Procurement and Invoice Management capabilities. Today we’ll cover Payments, the Supplier Directory, Analytics, Platform Administration, and the Supplier Portal.


Unlike many P2P vendors who stop at okay to pay, Vroozi integrates with NvoicePay and CorePay, can push payments into those platforms, actively monitor status, and then pull out changes to payment status as they occur so a buyer, and supplier, can always see the status of any payment.

Cheques, ACH, Wires, and/or V-Cards

Depending on your payment system, Vroozi gives you multiple options for payments and allows you to specify which payment method is to be used by the payment system.


The platform is capable of verifying taxes, as it integrates with Avalara and Vertex out of the box. Thus, if the customer buys a subscription to one of these platforms, Vroozi will use them to automatically maintain up-to-date global tax rates, as well as track any tax exceptions and waivers (as overrides) that you have based upon your global status. It can also track all of the taxes that you owe and simplify your tax management. Alternatively, if you don’t have these subscriptions, you can set up your standard rates in the Taxes area under Master Data Management. but if you do a lot of global business at a lot of different locations, this is not recommended. (Also, if you purchase a subscription to Avalara or Vertex after Vroozi installation, you just need to provide your access details in the Vroozi Connectors Manager.)

Supplier Directory

Supplier Management maintains a copy of all suppliers being transacted with by the organization and the records contain basic company info (name, address, primary contact channels), business information (business and tax ids, company attributes [for catalog/search enhancement], categories, payment terms, geographic service area, sustainability notes, description), insurance info (by insurance type with policy numbers and expiry dates), supplier contacts, PO submission method (platform, email, etc.), and related contracts.

Vroozi is not designed to be a supplier master — as most organizations use their ERP or a specialist SXM platform with deep supplier relationship, performance, compliance, or risk — functionality, but is designed to maintain all of the relevant information on active suppliers for purchasing in the P2P tool, and can push updates back to the source system, as most updates will come in during Procurement efforts.

One of the unique capabilities of the platform is the ability to configure all of the electronic supplier interactions through the supplier management screen — where the buyer can define how to send POs, confirmations, and RFQs to the supplier; (whether or not and how it will) receive PO acknowledgements, change requests, (advance) shipping notices, invoices, etc. from the suppliers; how m-way matches will be made; how payments will be made, etc. The electronic interaction with every supplier can be configured to a very fine-grained level, as well as the control a supplier has in their portal.

Contract (Meta) Data Management

Contract (Meta) Data Management in Vroozi is on a category and item basis, as each catalog, or item, can have an associated contract. Vroozi is not a CLM system and makes no claim to be such, but understands the importance of tracking relevant contract terms in the P2P system, as well as the source documents in case the need arises.


Analytics in Vroozi is powered by Looker that provides out-of-the-box reporting dashboards on spend, suppliers, documents, catalogs, user, and master data as well as a dashboard custom designed for AP Managers that provides easy access to invoice, memo, and PO data. Vroozi is not a full spend analysis platform, nor is it claiming to be one. If you need help with historical spend classification and categorization, or a standalone spend analytics platform, they work with Spendata, which we have covered here on Sourcing Innovation in 2018 (Don’t Throw Away That Old Spend Cube! Spendata Will Recover It For You) and this year (The Power Tool for The Power Spend Analyst, Now Usable By Apprentices As Well!).

Vroozi also supports report subscriptions and most users choose to get their pre-configured reports through email on a regular basis. The platform comes with a large number of basic reports where the user can define the data subset and fields they want to see and the report will be generated and sent to them.


The self-service administration capability in the platform is quite extensive.

Catalog Management

The company can define as many catalogs as it wishes, including multiple catalogs for the same supplier if they want to customize catalogs for sub-companies, departments, regions, or some combination thereof. Catalogs can be created and updated from CSV files or manual on-screen definition (on a product by product, or service by service, basis). When a new catalog (update) is being worked on, it is in a working state. Once the updates are completed, if the user has catalog manager authority, it can go into an approved state, and, if not, it goes into an approval queue. (Suppliers can be given permission to manage their catalogs, but all of their updates automatically go into an approval queue.) Once approved, the catalog can be pushed to live, scheduled to go live at a certain date and time, or held until the organization is ready to publish. All data and meta data regarding catalogs and items can be accessed and maintained in the Vroozi Content Manager.

Workflow & Rules

The rules for email submission, document submission, and approval can be organization defined and maintained quite easily. It’s very easy to define email aliases and user group targets for communication and refined rules for structured document submission (invoice, shipping notice, etc.) which can be routed based on company codes, plant codes, cost centers, and other organizational details enabled in the Accounting section. Similarly, purchasing requests can be routed to the right approver group based on company codes, plant codes, cost centers, etc.

When it comes to purchase requests, the rules support the financial approval workflow or the sourcing approval workflow. Unlike many last-generation tactical e-Procurement / tail-spend platforms, Vroozi understands that even tactical and tail-spend purchases will require organizational approvals beyond Finance / Budget Owners. IT will have to approve software and hardware purchases. MRO will have to approve replacement components (as being sufficiently compatible with existing systems and products). Risk and Compliance will have to approve services. And so on. For Finance, workflows can be spend limit or staircase based, auto-forward to the next group or approver if the first group or approver is not available or does not respond within a time period, and define a global fallback approver (who can have single-approver override status). Sourcing approvals can be defined by request type, supplier, category, or product type.

ERP & Connection Management

As noted above, Vroozi integrates with a number of applications for Tax, ERP, AP and other Master Data Management solutions out of the box. Connecting to these is simply a matter of providing id and connection keys. For example, there are out of the box connectors for Quickbooks, NetSuite, and Xero.

Vroozi also supports an extensive API which can be used to configure connections to (custom) ERP instances and other master data systems for suppliers and products. The API calls and keys can be updated through the connector manager.


Vroozi can maintain budgets natively in the platform or pull them in from the system you use for Budgeting. This allows every request to automatically be checked against available budget.


The Vroozi platform can support multiple purchasing units, plants, approval groups, and projects as well as supporting full definition of the chart of accounts, company codes, cost centers etc. Each purchasing organization and plant can have its own code that can be used in budgets and routing rules. Approval Groups group approvers into a group with a similar function that can be used for routing inquiries and documents for approval (versus routing to individuals, allowing for faster processing and workload distribution). Projects are associated with a company, a unique code, a time period, possibly a parent project, and, in addition to this information, only needs a name. Quick to setup and easy to track spending against a project. The chart of accounts captures the companies GL codes and related information and the cost centers captures the cost center hierarchy of the organization.


From a Finance/Accounting perspective, the Vroozi platform is very configurable. The organization can decide whether or not they want to support multiple purchasing units or plants, profit centers, cost centers, classes, locations, location types, projects, customers, WBS elements, and even GL accounts within the platform.

Company Profile, Locations, Users, Currencies, UoMs, Categories, and other Standard P2P Data

All of the master data can be maintained by the customer organization administrators through the Master Data Module of the Vroozi platform.

Help Portal

Vroozi ships with an extensive help portal that covers the entire system functionality. In addition, for every customer, they can insert custom documents, videos, application links (to appropriate screens), and even searches as desired by the customer to help their users.

Supplier Portal

The Vroozi Supplier Portal is where suppliers access their orders, notify the buyer of shipments, flip POs to invoices, and check their invoice (and payment) status.

On the home screen, the supplier sees a summary of their orders, ASNs, pending invoices, and payments and can quick click into their profile (for maintenance), users (for maintenance), purchase orders (to see historical, with new at the top), shipping notices, invoices (to see historical, new at the top), and their payment status.

With respect to invoice submission in the Vroozi platform, a vendor can:

  1. flip a purchase order (PO) to an invoice, simply by selecting the PO, verifying the quantity shipped, and submitting the invoice (and they can override the price or tax fields, but that will result in a failed match and there will be no straight through processing)
  2. submit an invoice in a standard encoding, including CXML or EDI, through an API
  3. submit a PDF invoice through the platform or a well-defined e-mail address

In these scenarios:

  1. the invoice goes into the queue for processing
  2. the invoice goes into the queue for processing
  3. the invoice gets sent to the the AI invoice processor that auto-extracts the information for the buying organization (and then, when the buyer AP manager logs in, presents the PDF invoice side-by-side with the processed invoice for verification for easy confirmation and correction, and then the invoice goes into the queue for processing)

Once the invoice is in the queue for processing, the matches are applied, and if they succeed, it goes straight for approvals, and if the invoice is against a blanket PO or contract and in budget, it can be auto-approved and go straight to posting, which can get the Vendor paid fast (and gives the Vendor a reason to use the system).

Note that we did not mention RFQs because Vroozi has streamlined the RFQ process for Vendors and when a vendor gets an email invite, it takes them right to the RFQ response page where it’s usually just a matter of providing their price per unit and submitting the bid. They can change the due date, quantity (if they can’t provide the total requested), or even the part number (if they believe they have a viable substitute) if they want to, knowing that it may decrease their odds of winning the bid. This makes sure they don’t lose it in a list of events in the portal or have to go through unnecessary steps just to submit a quick bid to an RFQ.

All in all, Vroozi is a very extensive, and complete, P2P solution that is perfect for Mid-Market and larger enterprises who need an easy to use system that can be customized with multiple views for multiple sub-units, whatever those may be.

Vroozi: Address the Bluesy of your Procurement Problems With a Solution That’s Doozy and Approved by the Choosy! Part 1

Vroozi was founded in 2012 with a vision of building a modern P2P solution that could be used by all organizations and Procurement professionals regardless of where they were and what device they were using — as they were the first P2P platform with a mobile-first philosophy. The goal was to build a solution that was easy to use, automated to the extent possible, collaborative, and easy to adopt by all individuals in the organization that needed to make purchasing requests, do Procurement, give approvals, and make payments. The opposite of the highly manual, closed, and cumbersome first-generation systems that gave their users the City Boy Blues.

They’ve achieved their goal, and then some, with a solution that is enterprise grade but yet priced for the mid-market. Whereas most P2P solutions fall short of payments, they can do payments (with their direct integration into two leading payment platforms) — and they can do invoicing compliant with both post-audit and clearance countries. Whereas most Procurement solutions require you to switch to a sourcing suite for a simple RFQ, they can do RFQs too. Whereas most focus on either internal/hosted or punch-out catalogs, they do both, as well as mixed and templated service offerings — all through a single integrated search that can also take into account enhanced company and product attributes on hosted and mixed catalogs. Whereas most P2P solutions don’t tie to contracts, the Vroozi platform can maintain all appropriate contract metadata to track spending against contracts and budgets. Whereas most have only the minimal supplier details to send the PO and Payment, the Vroozi platform allows for extended data to be maintained to allow for in-depth recommendations during search, straight-through processing rules for invoices when there are minor exceptions, and meaningful reports and analytics. Speaking of analytics, whereas most P2P platforms have limited to non-existent reporting solutions, Vroozi has integrated a reporting package that’s on par with most mid-market Source-to-Contract and P2P suites which provides a decent starting point for many organizations to get a handle on their spending.

Going back to supplier data, Vroozi can integrate with your ERP/MRP/Supplier Master and keep the relevant supplier data current for you — enhancing what you already have. It’s an extensive P2P++ solution that can even negate the need for a sourcing platform in an organization where the majority of purchasing is tactical or of moderate value or less. (If an organization doesn’t have a lot of high spend or strategic categories that need sophisticated sourcing technology with auctions or optimization capability, they can usually do without a dedicated platform and use pay per event solutions like MarketDojo or consultancies with licences. In other words, the only other solution the organization may need is a CLM solution — which only enhances the value of the Vroozi solution.) Also, because it can be opened up to the entire organization, who can have view access into the status of their request and all associated documents at all times, it has intake out of the box. (And because it can connect with relevant enterprise ERP, Finance, and S2C systems, it can serve as the Procurement orchestration platform as well.)


In the Vroozi platform, e-Procurement revolves around purchase requests that come from:

  • catalog search
  • non-catalog requests
  • RFQs

which may or may not be accessed through their SmartChat NLP (Natural Language Processing) tool.

Integrated and Intelligent Catalog Search

In the Vroozi system, a user can do a search across all of their catalogs, whether they are hosted, punch-out, or mixed (as the user can replicate part of a punch-out catalog in the hosted environment to augment and enrich the data with relevant company and product attributes that can aid in not only the search but the ranking and recommendation). The system can support ordered recommendations based on (lowest) cost, contract/preferred status, diversity supplier, or a weighted combination of those and/or other factors.

Search brings up results in a consumer like (Amazon) interface where it’s one click to add to a cart, and one click in the cart to initiate a purchase request. If a user can’t find what they want internally, or prefers a third-party site, one click takes them to the punchout site, and one click in the punchout site (including Amazon [Business]) takes them back to the Vroozi portal to submit the purchase request.

Search can be filtered on all relevant dimensions (supplier, brand, product [sub] category, etc.), which, if the content is hosted, can also include a slew of company attributes and product attributes. Company attributes could include diversity, green certified, preferred contract, premier (off-contract) supplier, IT, MRO, Office Suppliers, and other relevant categories. Product dimensions can include preferred product (off-contract), free shipping, refurbished, warranty, etc.

Non-Catalog Requests

Not all requests are for products found in a catalog. Some are for custom configurations of products where standard configurations are catalog, and some are for relatively standard service offerings that have contract pricing based on easily defined variables or configurations. The Vroozi application can support both of these through extended-catalog and non-catalog requests. If a buyer needs a new laptop with a custom configuration, the system will bring up an item with drop downs and/or special request fields where the user can select the precise configuration she needs. If a buyer needs to request janitorial services for the new, temporary office location, she can bring up the request, specify the required parameters that define the service level (square footage, type of cleaning [one-time or daily/weekly maintenance for a period of time, deep cleaning, etc.], hours it needs to be completed in), and the system will compute the number of people needed and the contract rate. Even complex requests can be completed and submitted quickly and with ease.

Bulk Upload Requests

Vroozi supports the creation of requisitions via extremely simple bulk upload. It can be as simple as a 2-column .CSV file containing Item Id, Quantity rows for basic products in the catalog. In addition, a full SOW (Statement of Work) requisition can also be created simply by specifying the core fields of: Supplier ID, Category ID, GL Account, Item Description, UOM (Unit of Measure), Price, Tax Code, Currency, Start Date, and End Date for each line on the SOW (Statement of Work). All of the appropriate information is automatically pulled in to create a complete requisition, which can be instantly used to generate a PO if the purchaser is buying from approved suppliers/blanket POs within their budget and auto-approval rules.

Next-Gen AI Powered Smart Chat

One of the main selling points of the intake and orchestration platforms getting all the buzz (and all the funding, some to the point where they are going to have to sell the solutions at ridiculous prices to reclaim the investor’s money) is their ability to not only make it super easy for organizational users to make Procurement requests in natural language through an AI chatbot, but an AI chatbot that will ask the right questions to get them to the exact product or service they need and let them put a request in with a single statement or confirmation (“create purchase request” or “yes”), and, in particular, text-based smart chat bots that can be served through an API to another enterprise platform the employees use daily.

Well, guess what? Vroozi has this too! No need for an overpriced “intake” or “orchestration” platform.

The Vroozi Smart Chat Bot is very well designed, and will ask as many questions as needed to get the user to the exact product or service they need. In the laptop scenario, the system will ask for the primary use (business, development, etc.), memory requirement, storage requirement, etc. In the services scenario, it will confirm the user wants janitorial services, confirm the vendor and contract, take the user through the questions, propose the requisition, and automatically create it with a confirmation.


RFQ Functionality in Vroozi is very straight forward. The user simply has to give the request a name and due by date; define the products or services they want by description, part/service number, category, quantity, unit of measure, and delivery date; and select the suppliers from the directory (or create a new ad-hoc supplier; however, no PR or PO can be created without approvals and master data setup if awarded to an ad-hoc supplier). That’s it. Then it’s wait for either all the suppliers to respond or the due date to hit, evaluate, make an award, and (if no ad-hoc suppliers were selected that require approval), create the requisition. (Once the RFQ is created, the suppliers are notified by email, and it’s one-click from the e-mail to go to the bid screen, where they will be required to enter their one-time bid passcode to prevent compromised logins.) Awarding is just a matter of selecting the bid and clicking the award button.

Easy One Click Approvals

Once a purchase request has been created, it goes to the first approver for approval. It gets entered to their queue in the Vroozi application, where they can approve it instantly, and through e-mail, where they can one-click approve or reject it. The click takes them to either a screen that acknowledges their approval, or a screen that acknowledges their rejection where they can input a reason and whether or not the requester can resubmit with a modification. To make the rejection process super easy, the user can select a standard reason for dispute from a drop down and only needs to free-form enter a reason or further explanation in special situations that should not be the norm.

Invoice Management

Vroozi is not just an e-Procurement platform, it’s also an Invoice-to-Pay / Accounts Payable platform with full invoice management capability. The great thing about the Vroozi platform is that it supports super easy PO flip in the portal (as well as allowing vendors to submit invoices in multiple standard encodings), meaning all the data can come in complete, correct, and already matching. They also support PDF (by email) submission, and have the capability to process (relatively) “standard” PDF invoices and auto-extract all the key fields.

Once the invoice is in the queue for processing, the matches are applied, and if they succeed, it goes straight for approvals, and if the invoice is against a blanket PO or contract and in budget, it can be auto-approved and go straight to posting, which can get the Vendor paid fast (and gives the Vendor a reason to use the system). If they fail, then the invoice is stopped for processing. If everything matches and there are blanket POs or contracts and budgets are met, it can be auto-processed and goes straight to the posting queue. If not, it goes out for approval. Once the invoices is stopped for match failures or is deemed to need manual approvals, it stays in the processing queue until it has received any necessary non-AP approvals (which might be required if all invoices above a threshold value or for certain categories must get sign-off even if there is an approved PO) and there is a goods receipt to match against the invoice with the PO for a 3-way match or an AP manager completes exception processing and pushes it to to the processing queue. Once corrected and/or approved, the invoice goes straight to posting. And, of course, the supplier, if they use the portal, sees the current invoice state at all times.

The great thing about the platform is the power that is contained in approval chain creation and management, which can be setup in the same manner as purchase order approval chains if desired. Once an invoice is in the processing queue, if there is a 3-way match, it is automatically processed, and if it matches exactly or within tolerances, it goes straight to posting without any touch. If there is only a 2-way match, and if there are exception rules (for example, services, recurring charges, etc.) that allow 2-way processing, then if there is an exact match or a match within tolerances, it will also go to straight to posting without any human touch.

In other words, in Vroozi, only exception invoices need to be processed, and a single click can reject and flip them back to the supplier (preferably with a reason) or accept them when the variation is acceptable, agreed to, or approved by the buyer (such as a higher price for substitute items when an order was made without the necessary notice). Furthermore, to ensure that exception processing is efficient, the end user organization can define multiple types of exception handlers to ensure that the invoice is routed to the right group when there is an exception. For example, if it’s just a tax issue or an unexpected shipping and/or handling charge, then it can likely be resolved by AP and should go to an AP clerk. But if it’s a unit price issue that doesn’t match the contract, which the supplier is refusing to back down on, it might need to go to Procurement for an exception approval or to Legal who may need to call the supplier and explain what will happen next if the unit price isn’t fixed.

In addition, there are built-in options for auto-processing / auto-return for overcharges. The system can automatically reject the invoice, automatically modify the invoice based on agreed to amounts and then notify the supplier of the changes upon approval, or leave the invoice as is and automatically create a credit memo (and notify the supplier on approval that the credit was applied against this invoice or will be applied against a future invoice at payment time).

Shipping Notices & Good Receipts

The Vroozi platform is capable of accepting and processing shipping notices in the same manner that it receives invoices, and these can even be used in a 4-way match if desired by the system. Shipping Notices and Goods receipts are incredibly easy to create in the Vroozi system. Just like a user can one-click flip a PO to invoice, they can one-click flip a PO to a shipping invoice where all they have to do is verify the line-item quantities. Similarly, a user can one-click “flip” a goods receipt from a PO, shipping notice, or invoice as easy as a supplier can flip a PO into an invoice. All the user has to do is enter the quantity received for each line item and the goods receipt is complete and can be used in the 3-way match for straight through processing. Note that if the organization has turned on the appropriate matching, the users will have to receive goods before the associated invoices can be processed.

3-Way Match and Straight Through Processing

The power of an I2P solution is one that can automate invoice processing touch free and free up valuable Procurement and Accounts Payable time to focus on the exceptions and the issues, and not tactical processing which prevents issues from being resolved, and sometimes even from being detected when an invoice has too many line items for detailed processing and all the AP clerk can do is a rough check on the total amount versus the total expected amount. Also, as it is capable of automatically processing every invoice that comes in, it can identify obvious and potential duplicates, invoices that don’t match a PO, and invoices that are potentially fraudulent and reject them or “quarantine” them for manual review.

Credit Memos

Credit Memos are automatically created during invoice exception handling when the buyer decides that the organization is going to pay the PO price (which usually happens when the organization has a contract or valid commitment that has not yet expired from a previous quote), overrides the invoice price to the PO price, and then approves the invoice, which is queued for payment at the adjusted amount captured in the (automatically generated) credit memo that is sent to the supplier. The supplier gets the credit memo in their portal, as well as a status change that informs them that the buyer adjusted invoice has been approved for payment.

Come back tomorrow where we will continue our discussion of the Vroozi P2P++ offering, including Payments, the Supplier Directory, Analytics, Platform Administration, and the Supplier Portal.

Tonkean: Making Enterprise Procurement work with ProcurementWorks, Part 2

In Part 1, we introduced you to Tonkean, an enterprise applications provider founded in 2015 to transform the enterprise back office. Tonkean leverages smart technology to bring people, process, and technology together in a manner that revolutionizes how businesses operate, allowing people to focus on high value work that gets results, and not redundant data processing, unnecessary application usage (which requires unnecessary training and unnecessary time), or unnecessary emails. The primary goal is to increase adoption and push employee requests, and actions, through official channels, instead of having enterprise employees find backdoors and dark hallways to get around cumbersome systems and processes they don’t want to use.

After providing a brief history and an overview, most of Part I focussed on Tonkean’s AI Front Door, a smart AI interface that was built by a team that understands the strengths, weaknesses, and, most importantly, the limits of AI, especially LLMs and (Open) Gen AI, and that includes pre- and post- processing to verify the requests and responses as reasonable, and where confidence is lacking, not provide any response (and send the inquiry, and response, or lack thereof, for a human who can, if necessary, tune the underlying system after review).

Today we will overview the rest of the Tonkean Intake Orchestration Platform for Procurement and how it can help your organization.

Procurement Intake and Guided Buying

The core of ProcurementWorks is their intake ability described above and guided buying that gets a requester to the right process and form and allows them to monitor, take part in, and/or execute the process end-to-end as required. They can do this through their platform, via e-mail, or a third party platform, like Slack or Microsoft Teams, through their integration capability. If the buy is small and can be put on a PCard, the system will direct the user to do so. If it’s large and requires a buyer to run a Procurement event, the system will guide the buyer to provide all the information the buyer needs and provide updates to the requester after each step of the process is concluded (which the buyer can proactively monitor through the ProcurementWorks request tracking application that monitors the entire workflow, which can be as simple as the request, Procurement approval, and PO/contract generation or as involved as a request, budgetary approval, procurement acceptance, RFX, award selection, InfoSec Approval, Risk & Compliance approval, Legal approval, contract generation, contract negotiation, signing, and completion).

All of this can be done in the Tonkean platform if desired, which will integrate with, push data into, and pull data out of any enterprise applications that are used for Finance, Procurement, Risk, Legal, and Contracts. For example, the system can pull the associated budget for the category from the budget system and send the appropriate manager the request for approval based on the expected cost and the category budget. If approval to proceed is received, the buyer can setup an RFP, which can then be pushed into the enterprise’s sourcing platform (which could be Coupa or Ariba) for execution, and then the results pulled back into the Tonkean request tracking and management module. Procurement can then select one, send it off to InfoSec, Risk, and Legal, in order, for approval, which can come in through the platform, and, once received, use the platform to push the award details into the CLM that can generate the contract, which the platform can then push to the supplier for signature through their e-Signature platform, and when it’s signed, push it back into the CLM.

The platform comes with a number of built-in Procurement process templates that can be customized as needed to support every organizational category and buying process based upon organizational needs. It can be integrated with all the applications and all the document stores, pull in the necessary attachments, help with exchange and version management, and track approvals. And it can be accessed through the form based interface or the chatbot, natively or through API connections.

Procurement Center (Workspace Apps)

The enterprise can create multiple views (and even multiple, separate portals if they like) to support both the Procurement Team and the employees that need to interact with Procurement (so that Legal, Risk & Compliance, IT/InfoSec can all have their own views, and even their own portals if they want to handle their workflows through Tonkean versus their current applications). (Thus, in addition to the Procurement Request Tracker and Manager, Procurement could build a custom Risk and Compliance Portal, Contract Negotiation Tracking and Management Portal, Vendor Inquiry Portal, and so on.)

How little or how much is enabled by default in the Procurement Center is up to the customer, but typically the Procurement Center will contain:

  • AI Front Door: Their name for their AI request intake experience, which can process free text requests or guided requests based on drop downs
  • My Requests: A listing of all of the users’s requests where they can click into the Request Tracker (which listens in near real time for system updates from all integrated systems)
  • My Approvals: A listing of all of the approvals and reviews in the user’s queue (that other users are waiting on)
  • Reporting Dashboards: Tonkean is not a BI/Analytics platform (and integrates with yours for deep Analytics/BI), but comes with a number of out of the box templates for workflow/process/cycle time analysis, request tracking, review and approval tracking, supplier onboarding/review request tracking, sourcing request tracking, invoice monitoring, etc. and can build custom dashboards by role (CPO, CFO, etc.) and pull in data from the connected BI systems to populate those dashboards if desired
  • My Supplier Requests: A listing of the suppliers that the user has requested be onboarded, where they can click into the New Supplier Tracker that tracks the pre-onboarding and onboarding steps that must be completed for the supplier to be onboarded in the Supplier Master (with workflows that adapt to the supplier type; a software vendor offering a product that processes financial or personal data needs considerably more reviews than a new office supplies or janitorial supplies vendor)
  • Solutions Studio: where the super/admin user can update the workflow for the request tracker and all other modules in the system

Reports and Dashboards

As indicated above, there are a number of out-of-the-box reporting templates for Procurement that are easily instantiated/modified in the Tonkean platform. These include, but are not limited to:

Purchase Agreements
The Purchase Agreements Dashboard will summarize, by quarter or month, the number of requests, completed requests, total spend, average completion time for each step (FP&A Review, Management Review, Security Assessment Review, Legal & Privacy Review, IT Review, and Accounting Review, etc.), active requests by status, vendors, spend by vendors, and other key agreement metrics.
New Suppliers
The New Suppliers Dashboard will summarize the number of new supplier requests that came in, the suppliers in each state (NDA Sent, NDA Completed, InfoSec Review, Approved for Onboarding, Profile in Process, Approved, Onboarded in SIM, etc.), and allow a user to click in and see who the suppliers are in each state, who the requester/owner is, and other key data or flags as desired.
Existing Suppliers
The existing suppliers dashboard tracks all suppliers with contracts, insurance, certifications, etc. expiring in the next 90 days where something needs to be done.
CFO Dashboard
The CFO Dashboard will generally contain an overview of spend by quarter/year, compliance, overall productivity, productivity by stakeholder, cycle time by process, workload by buyer/analyst, etc. and other key metrics pulled in from the other reports.

Solutions Studio Module Builder

The core of the Tonkean Enterprise offering is the Solutions Studio that is used to create the no-code workflows from action blocks, triggers, and conditional checks. Action blocks tend to fall into coordination actions (which require people) or workflow (which connect coordination actions and data blocks). Conditional logic make it easy to define requests for information, status, and action items; respond, send updates, and provide notifications; and create approval cycles and assign owners. Workflows make it easy to update data fields, create new (instances of) data objects, trigger module actions, perform (textual) analyses and extract text, create models, train models, and introduce programmatic delays or waits (for information from parallel workstreams, for example).

Data actions provide the means to create, read, update, and delete as applicable (according to the principles of least access required, which will be configured by the Tonkean team on implementation so that any data that should only be capable of being changed in a base system will not be capable of being changed through Tonkean regardless of the user’s authority level) the relevant data in the connected source systems. There are blocks for each system that make it easy to drill in and work with the data in that system, as each data source is preconfigured with the default actions it supports.

For one of the 100+ systems already natively integrated with Tonkean, adding the system as a data source is simply a matter of providing maybe a few connection parameters, and the data source will be good to go for your team, with all of the standard actions available. In the Enterprise Component Manager, it’s easy to drill in and find out, for each data source, the inputs it will accept, the outputs and actions the interface supports, the data retention and audit policies, the access rights, and admins and owners, and general information on connectivity restrictions. It’s also easy to drill into the Tonkean access log and see a complete history and to drill into the data through the Tonkean app (so you don’t have to go to the native app to see what’s available in each object/record, how complete those objects/records usually are, etc. or do low-level SQL queries in the underlying database).

In addition, super users and admins can also define new custom actions if their implementation supports additional data or actions, or they want to define custom actions with more limited capability or complex actions that ensure a sequence of actions (such as updates) happen all-or-nothing. All they have to do is define the action type (Get, Post, Put, Patch, etc.), the URL, the data encoding format, the relevant field(s), and the relevant data and the platform creates the workflow logic for them.

Building the workflow is easy in their graphical select drag-and-drop environment where action blocks and data sources can be dropped and connected by arrows that can encapsulate the associated conditional logic for sequential and parallel workflows.

Procurement Knowledge Base / Component Library

The ProcurementWorks solution can also be configured to support the procurement knowledge base, either by housing documents natively, linking to relevant repositories, or both, allowing for Tonkean intake to also sere as the help center as well as the purchasing request center.

In addition, the Tonkean Component Library contains a large number of standard, out of the box, workflows with embedded standard/best practice, for Procurement, Legal, Compliance and other standard enterprise functions that the customer organization can enable and customize as desired in the Solutions Studio. With Tonkean, an organization doesn’t have to start from scratch, and Tonkean will help the organization pre-configure all of the modules/workflows of interest on go-live.

Data Source (& Communication Platform) Management

The Tonkean platform makes it easy to manage organizational data sources. It’s easy to query which sources exist, what data they have, where they are used, what data can be retrieved, which data can be updated, and what the Tonkean access policies are. Similarly, one can manage which communication platforms are integrated and what they can be used for.

In addition, for each connected data source, Tonkean can provide you a “native” view into the core application and data if you so desire. Want to query your Coupa invoices natively in Coupa? No problem! Tonkean can bring up the appropriate screen from Coupa in a frame where you can see exactly what invoices are there and their status. Want to see the full ticket created in JIRA for the IT Review Team? No problem! Tonkean can pull up the Read-Only JIRA screen for your perusal. It truly is people coordination and enterprise platform orchestration.

In conclusion, if you are a large midsize or global enterprise and have an adoption problem, are struggling to get the value out of your enterprise systems, or are looking for ways to make the whole greater than the some of its parts, and need a better intake platform to boot, consider including Tonkean in your evaluation. They just might be what you need to take your current enterprise software investments to the next level.