A quick look at objectivity in the purchase process
When you’re sorting through spend management options, it’s hard to separate substance from sales. It’s difficult to discern who’s the best and who’s merely better at marketing themselves. It’s a challenge to see through the spiel and determine what a given solution actually does.
So, to start the new year off right, we thought we’d simplify things by taking on any misperceptions that might be out there.
To help clarify your decision process, we’ll take a look at a few key myths and highlight the difference between what’s said by salespeople and what matters to businesspeople.
1. Experience is not one-sided
We know the end-user experience matters more today than ever before – and for good reasons – but your experience is just as important. You need to be able to easily slice and dice your spending data, so you can measure it against growth objectives, the core needs of the business, and pressing issues like social responsibility.
If a spend management solution doesn’t make your job easier – by providing the data that helps you make more informed decisions faster, by keeping you on top of regulations and restrictions (think VAT reclaim and GDPR), and by diminishing your day-to-day to-dos – it isn’t really a solution at all.
Now, back to the end-user, because if they don’t have a great experience with the solution, they’re not going to use it. Therefore, it must:
- Remove every possible point of friction and frustration from the travel and expense process.
- Offer a fully functioning app packed with features and designed with consumer-level simplicity.
- Make staying on policy and in compliance the easiest way to get things done.
The best way to know for sure what users are saying is by seeing what they’ve said. Check out the ratings in the App Store, but don’t stop with the rating. Look at the number of people who’ve rated it. Because it’s easy to get a few dozen people to say something’s okay, it’s much more difficult to get 750,000 people to say it’s great.
2. Connected does not mean integrated
Managing spending, particularly T&E, is an inherently integrated process, one with multiple steps and seemingly too much data, all of which needs to be combined a single, elegant flow. So as you look at solution providers, ask yourself if they appreciate the difference between connected and integrated.
- Loosely coupled functionality hidden under a thin veil of consistent UI.
- Systems are built from the ground up to work together without any intervention from you.
- Travel bookings flow directly into expense reports without any effort or extra steps.
- All types of expenses – including cash, corporate cards, p-cards, virtual cards, ghost cards, and more – can be captured in one place.
- Prebuilt connectors eliminate inefficient data and support the automatic flow of information between your ERP/accounting system and your expense solution.
Look closely at the solutions you’re considering, and you’ll see the difference. You’ll also be able to avoid some serious challenges down the road by choosing the option built for true integration.
3. Reporting is not created equal
Analysis is absolutely critical when it comes to spending. That means it’s critical to get the right reporting and analytics suite from your spend management solution, and if you think providers are all the same, you might need some analysis yourself.
First of all, data makes the difference. If a solution doesn’t capture and connect all the spending data from all the sources we mentioned above, all the analysis in the world doesn’t matter. It’s simple: If you don’t have all the data, your reports won’t give you the whole story.
Next, know that the right solution should show you more than standard information. It should, in fact, help you find and focus on data typically hidden from basic reports. It needs to pull every digit into view, so you can:
- See if supplier payments that should be covered by POs are ending up in expense reports.
- See how much spending is going on personal cards (and find out why).
- See where your expense categories are working and where they’re falling short.
Your solution should also come with access to analytics experts who will help you determine what, in fact, you’re looking for, design the reporting, and decipher what it all means. It should also give budget managers a simple dashboard where they can see what’s spent, what’s pending, and what’s planned, so they can see how their budgets stack up and distribute spending where it’s needed most.
Basic reports can’t give you all this; it takes technology built on a background of decades in the business. So be sure you know what you’re getting.
No, we aren’t the best because we say it. We’re the best because we prove it: See five more reasons why you should transform your spend management with SAP Concur solutions.