When it comes to getting a purchase-to-pay environment up and running, supplier onboarding is a critical yet often overlooked enabler of bringing spend under management. Many companies that have gone down the ERP procurement path in the past were not able to onboard suppliers as quickly as they had hoped, resulting in implementations with only a small subset of the planned supply base integrated into the system.
This is because initial supplier enablement (i.e., capturing and validating supplier information) is often trickier and more time-consuming than it appears. When it comes to the supplier onboarding process, companies must consider, as a foundation, the ability to capture global and local regulations and factor them into requested information (including tax and VAT requirements, such as TIN validation in the U.S.).
In addition, they should prioritize the collection of information that often must connect and feed into multiple internal systems. Systems should also enable multiple parties at the supplier to complete different components of enablement-related questionnaires, requests for information or the like. At the same time, systems should enable a common, single environment to update and manage supplier profile information on an ongoing basis that can populate and update other source systems.
Many companies often leverage these tools to carry out the onboarding process with shoestring resources (often contractors and no additional full-time employees), while at the same time balancing the needs of finance (accounts payable), procurement, legal and other stakeholders when it comes to collecting the right information about suppliers without a process that creates onerous registration steps or unnecessary onboarding delays.
The most experienced provider in the market in terms of supplier enablement, going to back to its founding, is Aravo. Before it branched out to become a supplier information management provider, the company focused almost exclusively on enabling Ariba implementations. Today, there are dozens of vendors focused on the enablement process.
SAP procurement customers can turn to SAP partner Hubwoo, along with a range of other providers like AECSoft, Aravo, Ariba, CVM Solutions and Hiperos. The general universe of supplier information management and supply base management vendors (e.g., Lavante) can help solve this problem as well, although the above-mentioned vendors have the most experience targeting the specific challenge as a whole.
In addition, invoice automation, connectivity and electronic invoice presentment and payment (EIPP) specialists such as Basware, OB10, and numerous others are experienced in solving parts of the whole challenge (depending on vendor) in ERP environments. Last, a number of peer-to-peer providers have extensive experience (e.g., Perfect, SciQuest, etc.) as well. Oracle customers can turn to third parties or leverage Oracle’s own capabilities including iSupplier Portal or Supplier Management Hub.
For a complete, comprehensive look at this subject beyond this article, download our Compass Research Paper.
If you’re interested in learning more about procurement solutions that can enable the ERP ecosystem in general, we would encourage you to download our latest Compass research on the subject.
Jason Busch is Principal Analyst at Spend Matters. His contributions are based on Spend Matters Compass research, which examines a range of procurement and supply-chain technology solutions and trends.