10 features and benefits to look for in P2P solutions


What your P2P solution should be doing for your business (if it isn’t already)

The search for a P2P (purchase-to-pay or procure-to-pay) solution can be daunting and, quite frankly, mind-boggling. Identifying a tool that best fits organizational business processes, user needs and the desires of stakeholders can be downright exhausting — especially if you’ve never implemented an outside solution before.

Knowing some of the key features and benefits to look for in a worthy P2P solution will help make the search a bit more bearable, and empower your organization to choose a tool that everyone will be happy with. We’re not just talking about old-school ERP or accounting tools that had P2P solutions as an add-on. Businesses need a procure-to-pay solution that’s built for the modern world, and that starts with the characteristics listed out below. But first, let’s cover the basics.

What is a P2P Solution?

A procure-to-pay (or purchase-to-pay) solution is a software suite or system that streamlines the process of procuring goods or services to pay for them. That means it includes solutions for requisitioning, purchasing, receiving, and paying for goods and services.

A primary example of this is Corcentric’s Procure-To-Pay Software, which seeks to integrate procurement teams with accounts payable across the P2P process.

The characteristics of strong P2P solutions

1. Live in “The Cloud”

P2P software comes in a few different forms. Some organizations choose to build a tool internally, while others purchase software from SaaS companies that is then implemented and hosted on-premise. Both of these options come with a higher cost of ownership and, oftentimes, clunky configuration. A best-in-breed P2P solution will offer dynamic cloud-based software. With software that lives in the cloud, the vendor remains responsible for the overall functionality of the tool and partners with organizations to support ongoing business needs and processes.

2. Automate purchase orders

Chances are — if you’re searching for purchase-to-pay software it’s because you’re trying to make daily operations more efficient. And of course, there’s no harm in making things easier for you and your procurement team, either. With that being said, automation is the way to go. An automated procurement process from requisition to PO to supplier submission workflow that’s audited, validated, and error-free should be a required feature of any solution you are investigating.

3. Are configurable

One of the most elusive features to find in a sustainable P2P solution is configurability. Due to major differences in business processes from one organization to the next, a cookie-cutter software solution seems like an easy fix, right?

Unfortunately, these typically require a great deal of process adaptation and change management on the end user’s side. The right P2P tool will enable its users to adapt the solution to their workflow and business needs — not vice versa. Any P2P solutions should be configurable to the existing company structure and have good user experience so it’s easy to integrate.

4. Exist as a single source of data

If you’ve been in the procurement space for some time, you’ve likely heard the stories about nightmarish processes where the entire purchase-to-pay stream was spread out amongst various tools, departments, and approvers. Fortunately, in the age of eProcurement, many if not all procure-to-pay suites create a single source of data. Some of the benefits of having a single source of data include:

  • Improves user adoption
  • Promotes collaboration between requisitioners and suppliers
  • Helps control spend and maverick buyers
  • Monitors performance, compliance, and risk

5. Provide visibility into process and data workflows

Going from catalog to payment is a chain reaction — a group of processes running in series and/or parallel for both the goods or service and the order/payment processing. The ideal P2P solution will provide a dashboard of sorts, giving needed personnel the visibility into each step of the process while streamlining governance, capturing savings, and gathering data for later analysis. This increased visibility enables your procurement team to be more intentional in sourcing goods and services while expanding cost-saving efforts.

6. Include catalog management

What good is a fancy new procurement solution if it doesn’t actually make things easier? Catalog management is all the rave these days (at least in procurement). Top of the line procurement solutions will give users easy-to-navigate, simple search and purchase capabilities. Think about searching for something on Google, or buying something from Amazon — the idyllic experience — just in your P2P software.

7. Feature e-invoicing

While not all procurement solutions include e-invoicing, there are some out there that offer it. Essentially, e-invoicing is the automation and alignment between procurement and accounts payable. It helps speed up the payment portion of the purchase-to-pay cycle while maintaining visibility and compliance. You may not find this to be a necessity when looking at various P2P software, but it proves beneficial if you are looking to enhance payment control and overall responsiveness to invoices.

8. Have built-in reporting capabilities

Automated reporting capabilities, as well as the ability to build independent reports, is a feature that is much desired by procurement professionals. Built-in reporting provides users with strategic insight and control over real-time savings and spend management. P2P tools that capture important data throughout the purchase-to-pay lifecycle assist in monitoring performance, compliance, and risk — and bring us to the Holy Grail of procurement…

9. Help with spend analytics

What is your quest? To seek the Holy Grail! Which in procurement is, of course — savings. Best-in-breed P2P solutions will have embedded reporting capabilities to capture real-time data on savings, supplier spend, spend by region, and much more. This data is then analyzed and put into a digestible format so that you and your team can improve efficiency and compliance, uncover maverick spend, and save more money for the organization.

10. Integrate with other tools

The benefits of having the right P2P solution in place can reach far beyond procurement, especially if the tool has the ability to integrate with other systems and/or exists on a platform that includes other modules that may impact procurement processes and efficiency, such as accounts payable automation, contract management, supplier management and sourcing.

Find the Best Procure-to-Pay Solution for You

If you’re ready to find a procurement solution that houses all of these key features under one roof, schedule a no-obligation personalized demonstration of our dynamic cloud-based Procurement Solution with Corcentric.