Research by the Hackett Group outlines some of the key trends in technology that finance and procurement professionals feel will offer the most benefit to their business operations in the next 10 years. Digitalization of B2B connections and transactions lead the list, with predictive analytics and forecasting tools coming in second.
It’s interesting to see that the collaboration between finance and purchasing, through tighter process integration and robotic processing, are still not commonly in use by corporations today. As you can see in the chart, only 23% of polled companies have either partially rolled out or piloted robotic process automation (RPA) and tested its viability.
Once RPA in this area takes hold, we are not going to replace our employees with robots. Like the way that the use of robotics has improved manufacturing processes for the automobile industry, business transaction processing can equally benefit from robotic processes running in the Procure to Pay process. The benefits include an increase in data quality, shorter cycle times, improved visibility of corporate data, and reduced costs.
Connecting and Communicating
Ultimately, companies transacting business need to find a way to electronically communicate with each other. They must also do it easily and in a cost-effective manner. Companies around the globe are still heavily reliant on paper. Not only is this bad for the environment, but it also restricts automation and communication.
Business-to-business communication has existed for some time. EDI and RosettaNet were two initiatives that had some success but were either too costly or too complicated. Vendor networks like Ariba and others exist, but again their costs are prohibitive to all but the largest corporations dealing with the largest vendors.
Using a Translator to Manage Different File Formats
Software platforms in the cloud, such as Palette Connectivity services, leverage a company’s ability to send and receive business transactions by becoming a “translator” of very diverse data formats. The service can receive electronic invoice data from hundreds of different suppliers. The “translator” can take those different file formats and normalize them to fit the data format of the receiving system. This alone can eliminate paper and the manual effort of data entry.
Robotic systems are the next generation of B2B communications networks. They are flexible and cost effective, and best of all they are easily implemented by buyers and suppliers using tools that are available today.
Find out more about Palette AP Automation here.