In today’s customer-centric world, businesses in the B2B environment should heed the successes of their B2C counterparts when it comes to technology and service.
“Alexa, please send me two rolls of paper towels and dishwasher soap.”
“Okay, you’ll have those items later today.”
Who could have imagined that ordering household items would be as easy as speaking a few sentences out loud to an AI-enabled assistant? Amazon has turned the usual supply and demand chain on its head with this kind of service, and consumers are becoming conditioned to getting what they want exactly when they want it.
We’re living in a seamless, time-sensitive marketplace, and yet enterprise businesses aren’t keeping up with consumer-facing innovations, so their workforce is left to procure items and essential services through antiquated and complicated processes.
How can enterprise businesses learn from innovations like Alexa to empower their workforces?
Harness the power of data and automation.
Using a company’s data to help buyers and suppliers at all ends of the supply chain can make the work flow easier to navigate. Cloud based systems can organize data on procurement, spending, and invoicing that can help ensure sourcing, purchasing, and delivery run efficiently without leaving valuable dollars on the table or wasting time and resources. Empowering workers across the enterprise with access to data can ensure sourcing and procurement optimization and easier vendor payments.
Automating back-end processes is another great way for enterprises to harness the power of technology to enable their employees to focus on their core competencies and not waste valuable time procuring goods and services. In the past few years, many companies have implemented piecemeal technology solutions from third party vendors specializing in various components of the procure-to-pay process. Companies instead should be moving to single-source solutions and suites that can support all end-to-end financial processes, from indirect spend management to automated invoicing to payments to distribution.
Alexa may make managing your household easier to deal with, but she’s not quite ready yet for enterprise-level tasks. In the meantime, harnessing the power of data across your organization and utilizing automation to make it easier for workers to focus on high-level tasks are promising strategies to keep companies productive and moving towards the future.