When procurement experts discuss procure-to-pay, they most often focus on the "pay" portion. The reality is that the number of users impacted during payment is minuscule compared to the number of buyers. Consider a company that has 100 employees. Conservatively, maybe 1 or 2 of them work in accounts payable. However, at that same company, all 100 employees have probably purchased something on behalf of the company at least once. For those that purchase goods or services infrequently, buying can be a cumbersome process.
The folks that work in accounts payable are focused almost exclusively on payments. And why wouldn't they be... that's a major part of their job. An experienced AP person could likely process payments in their sleep, simply because of how often they do it. Automation, of course, will help that person but given the volumes and repetition of the process, they can become proficient in any technology.
Conversely, consider the average employee who makes a purchase maybe once or twice a year. Because it is not a core need of his or her role and not something done regularly, that person will use valuable time away from their normal responsibilities to navigate the requisition, approval and purchase process. It is even possible that the process has changed since the last time they bought so they could go about it all wrong. Any time they spend muddling through the process is lost productivity to the business. Many times, these people will simply give up and go buy what they need online or at the store, thereby increasing overall maverick spend and reducing spend under control. This is the area of P2P that truly requires the most attention and presents the highest opportunity for ROI.
For purchasers, i.e. everyone in the company, the purchasing technology needs to be truly intuitive, not "intuitive after you do it 100 times". The emphasis of any purchasing technology must be ease of use with clear access to the appropriate products and services relevant to the purchaser's role. In addition, the platform should allow for configurable, automated workflows running in the background to increase the simplicity of the buying process and allow the purchaser to focus on selecting the appropriate product or service; buying it and going back to their regular job.
In a recent CPO Rising report, 96% of respondents claim that usability is "most important" or "very important" for choosing a technology provider. Yet, they continue to select technologies that focus more on the payments process and deliver a cumbersome purchasing interface that only a procurement professional could understand. As a result, the technology requires significant training and ongoing support, creating change management issues.
For some companies, that could mean a users guide of 70 pages for purchasing. If purchasing is that complex, the average line worker will take their lunch break and go to the nearest store to get what they need.
One BuyerQuest customer recently talked about their experiences simplifying the buying process for their internal purchasers. One of the critical factors was reducing the user guide from 70 pages to 2 pages. As a result of their efforts, their buyers engaged more with the purchasing software, increasing spend under contract and significantly reducing lost time associated with purchasing outside of the technology.
No one has ever been trained to shop on Amazon so why should shopping inside of your "company store" be any different?