My name is Bob Solomon and I’m a Board Member of Eved. I’ve spent the last 6 years consulting to B2B software platforms and networks. Prior to that I spent 10 years building and managing the Ariba Network, which helps connect suppliers and buyers for major enterprises around the world.
So Bob: How can procurement, finance, and the business, work together to solve problems inherent in a spend category while also achieving their individual goals?
This is a great question because procurement, finance and the business have three entirely separate goals for any given spend category.
Finance wants to make sure that transactions are:
- Recorded properly
- Allocated to the right cost centers/GL codes
Procurement is primarily concerned with:
- Finding the right suppliers
- Contracting with them
- Ensuring that the business is using those suppliers, and paying the right prices
The business, or planner, is primarily concerned with:
- Running greats events
Building a solution that meets those three divergent needs has been a real problem for a long time. In terms of the history of supply chain management solutions, the first solutions were all oriented to accounting. There was no Internet, so you didn’t have to worry about interacting with the supplier other than via phone or fax. Therefore, the ERP lead the way and these were solutions for finance. In the mid 90s with the advent of the Internet and procure to pay solutions, you had new solutions that were built largely for procurement and then integrated to the ERP.
The first generation of procurement solutions did a good job of helping the procurement department identify, negotiate, lock down contracts and transactions with suppliers. However, they weren’t really built with the user in mind. The latest evolution has been to solutions such as Eved that try to meet the needs of procurement, finance and the business.
So in category after category whether its travel, temp labor or in this case meetings and events, we’ve seen this third generation of solution that has many of the aspects of the first two generations. However, this new generation adds an interface that makes it easier for the business to use, and adapts to the particular needs of the category like meetings and events.