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January 4, 2018

Source-to-Pay: From Automation to Prediction

Source-to-Pay: From Automation to Prediction

Smart and collaborative platforms, unified interfaces, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence: all these developments are forcing source-to-pay solution providers to regroup and adapt their technology offerings.

In recent years, the IT Purchasing market has experienced strong growth, and profound upheavals. According to a recent study by Deloitte for The IT Purchasing Guide (link is French), 75% of CPOs surveyed believe that the role of Purchasing in implementing the digital strategy will increase in the future. In Issue No. 265, November 2017, the leading French procurement industry magazine La Lettre des Achats cited the need to equip itself with tools to gain performance as a strategic priority for purchasing departments. Proof that IT Purchasing is only at the start.

What follows is an excerpt of a discussion between Julien Nadaud, Chief Product Officer at Determine, and La Lettre Des Achats that takes a look at the IT Purchasing solutions market.

What do you make of the dynamics in the IT Purchasing market? How is Determine adapting?

There is a very strong dynamic in the IT Purchasing market and major changes in user needs.

From simple solutions limited to managing indirect or strategic purchases, we are now moving to tools such as platforms that are capable of managing the most complex business processes end-to-end. Determine, with its Cloud Platform, is part of this trend and supports this movement. Most clients first ask for one or more specific solutions. But, by studying their needs more in depth, we realize that, above all, they are looking to meet a business need which a single solution or even a combination cannot answer.

Today, we encourage our customers to think in the long term and look toward our complete suite by implementing our modular solutions singly or in pairs, eventually leveraging all the modules available on the Determine Cloud Platform (Contract Management, Procure-to-Pay, Sourcing and Supplier Management). Much more than all-or-none suite deployments (50% of which fail) or cobbled-together point solutions, our modular format creates a multiplier effect as each new solution is added. The cumulative effect is seamless and very powerful.

For example, one of our healthcare sector clients called on us because of a specific business need: managing their subcontractors (doctors, surgeons, etc.). The solutions that best fit this need are contract management combined with services procurement. But, this business need came with financial and legal constraints, the obligation of compliance and invoice processing. The entire end-to-end source-to-pay platform was ultimately the best choice to meet such specific business requirements.

What about Big Data, predictive analytics and the development of artificial intelligence? Are these changes part of this trend?

Purchasing processes are not linear and require many interactions, especially when it comes to managing service purchases. Services cannot be purchased like products in a catalogue. Developments such as artificial intelligence and predictive analyses help IT Purchasing evolve because they make business processes easier in two ways: for the most complex purchases, and the work of the end user.

Firstly, Determine focuses on Big Data. Our goal is to provide information on markets, competitors, suppliers, etc., in order to produce intelligence from the external data we collect. Today, we are implementing the initial versions of predictive analyses. This change allows us to create scenarios that anticipate and estimate events occurring. Recommendation engines (or prescriptive analysis) are also included in the new versions of the Determine Cloud Platform, and push recommendations to users that follow a number of rules.

Aside from these technological changes, what else are you currently developing to meet client needs?

We work a lot on refining and expanding Project Management, which allows users to organize their work as an internal project. This enables them to assign user roles and rights, and to link all Cloud Platform features to the project — all its documents and processes. To simplify this complex project, we are also working on robotic task automation. That is, we are adding rules that allow decisions to be made almost automatically. This saves the project significant time and lightens the workloads of teams who can now focus on tasks that add greater value.

Publishers are developing an increasing number of partnership programs. What about Determine?

Having a technology offer that meets the market’s needs is crucial for source-to-pay providers like us. That’s why we just launched our newly expanded DetermineAlliance Partner Program. It’s a dynamic business ecosystem which we are continually developing by adding new consultants, integrators, resellers, and technology partners. It’s all about customer success, and offering a cumulative knowledgebase through experienced partners is critical to that effort.

If you’d like to see first hand how the Determine Cloud Platform can power your source-to-pay and contract management transformation, schedule a personalized demonstration.

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