Insights for Procure-to-Pay and Finance Leaders

Gartner IT Market Clock: E-invoicing ripe for immediate evaluation

Like many things in life and in business, timing is everything. Such is the case when it comes to the fast-changing world of procure-to-pay technology, or to what Gartner refers to with all-encompassing “composite B2B solutions.”

In the research firm’s new 31-page report, IT Market Clock for B2B Solutions, 2014 (user registration required), Tradeshift appears as an example vendor in two asset classes, which happen to be at opposing sides of the Market Clock: Integrated Commerce Hubs and E-Invoicing. More on that in just a minute.

In a nutshell, this handy diagram shows the relative market maturity and commoditization levels for a whole range of solutions that Gartner delineates in the report as application-centric (i.e., Tradeshift) and integrated-centric (i.e., Siemens Teamcenter). The clock is divided into quarters, starting with “Advantage” (markets that have moved from emerging to adolescence), and they continue clockwise to “Choice,” “Cost,” and “Replacement” as they mature. The further away the asset class is from the center, the closer it is to commoditization. The color-coding in the circle indicates how long until the next market phase. Got it? Now for the important stuff.

Remember the comment about timing? Well, in the case of e-invoicing, market maturity is at a point where paper-laden enterprises should get off the sidelines and make the move to electronic to benefit from well-understood process improvements and cost reductions. In Gartner’s words:

Start evaluating e-invoicing project opportunities now, regardless of your company’s vertical industry or financial shape. The pressure to do some form of e-invoicing will increase, no matter where you are, or the size of your business. Sooner or later, you will face the hard deadline of a government mandate.

We could not agree more and echo the analyst firm’s advice to choose a solution that “addresses internal and multienterprise business processes, IT infrastructures, laws and security, and that it’s certified by tax auditors for as many countries as possible.” As well as to plan globally, even if you start to execute locally since the faster you build critical mass the more impact you can make to the bottom line.

Now, moving back up counterclockwise on the clock you’ll find “Integrated Commerce Hubs” near the center of the circle within the “Advantage” section (12:00-3:00). These, Gartner defines, are packaged, many-to-many B2B solutions that support direct and indirect spending. Plus, they combine the capabilities of supply chain information hubs, procurement networks and service procurement solutions to provide a single point of contact for commerce with suppliers of all types.

Tradeshift is all of that and more. Our global platform is built on open standards that can sit atop any other ERP system and support every form of e-doc exchange you may be using. So it’s not just the great-looking, completely mobile user-interface that’s driving the highest supplier onboarding rates in the industry (although our demos do routinely leave onlookers in awe), but the approach itself.

Built on the modern cloud, Tradeshift allows for many innovations. For example, customers and partners can build apps for financing or industry-specific workflows that can then be shared with the entire network.

With such openness, we’ll continue to see network effects take hold, driving more transparency and connectedness across supply chains using Tradeshift. (Check out this video for more details on our vision.)

Gartner’s recommendation regarding the “Advantage” solutions says it all:

Consider investments in the “Advantage” set of asset classes when the goal is to build a competitive advantage through B2B innovation and efficiency.

By choosing Tradeshift, your timing will be just right on two sides of Gartner’s clock.

Related reading

Tradeshift blog – What do AP organizations believe will happen in 2-3 years?

Tradeshift blog – The future of business