Originally appeared in Républik Achats

The president of the operator Corcentric looks back on the very good year achieved in 2023 in a turbulent context, in two voices, with Xavier Pierre-Bez who now guides the destiny of Corcentric throughout Europe for the Source offer to Pay . A great promotion which says a lot about Corcentric’s ability to bring together its teams from successive acquisitions and varied cultures.

Was 2023 a good year for Corcentric’s development?

Matt Clark: 2023 was an excellent year, we recorded double-digit growth at Group level but also at the French entity level. We have not only managed to acquire new customers, by increasing our presence in certain sectors of activity such as Health, but also to extend the functional coverage of our existing customers. Given the difficult and uncertain macroeconomic conditions, we are very proud of this.

How has the French market behaved?

Xavier Pierre-Bez: In 2023, we recorded the most significant growth in the last ten years. We have signed many new references, such as Bred, Univi and Puy du Fou. Building on this success, a reorganization took place at the end of last year which led to my appointment as director of the business and operations part for Europe , with very important ambitions in 2024 supported by a recruitment program, which concerns as much the functions of implementation consultancy and project managers, in France and England.

What do you expect for 2024?

MC: Although the economic outlook remains wait-and-see, we have many projects in the pipeline and I remain very optimistic. We envision even faster development in 2024. The solutions we offer are even more valuable in times of economic uncertainty that challenge businesses to manage their expenses with a high degree of precision. We allow them to have better control of their investments, a clearer vision of their cash flows and to gain efficiency.

What is your overall workforce and how is it distributed around the world?

MC: Corcentric currently employs 575 people, including 140 in Europe . A large part of our teams are located in North America, but we also have a large team of 85 people in France , spread between Aix-en-Provence and Paris. We also have an office in London. Through our customers we operate in many other countries.

What are the main drivers of your growth?

MC: The first is linked to our efforts to win over new customers. The second axis relates to our ability to develop our relationships with our existing customers. We have over 2,500 customers worldwide and many of them only use part of what we have to offer. The third pillar of our growth is partnering with the right partners. BPO players, for example, benefit from very strategic positions within certain large companies and we can support them in their digital transformation journey.

What are the key customer needs that support your growth?

MC: The dominant concept currently is being able to do more with less. Many procurement and finance professionals need to help their businesses grow while keeping overhead costs under control or even reducing them. The ability of our platform to generate efficiency is therefore an important asset . We must also complement this by supporting our clients in defining digitalization strategies and managing change.

Since the founding of Corcentric, we have aimed to position ourselves at the heart of B2B exchanges, by providing solutions to help our clients better manage their transactions and payments, but not only from a technological point of view. We must provide complementary services to technology. This is all the more important for clients who are already very advanced in their digitalization and who have a holistic vision of their processes and their data flows. Even when a customer comes to us to answer a specific and specific question, it is important that they know that with Corcentric, when the time comes, they will be able to benefit from this vision.

Do you see the electronic invoicing reform as an opportunity to offer both an S2P and O2C solution?

MC: Absolutely. We are very well positioned to be a leader in business-to-business transactions. We have identified this topic for some time. We defined early on what we wanted to build and I think that’s a big relief for our customers who don’t have the time or bandwidth to prepare for it.

XPB: We are launching a global invoicing solution which allows us to manage all invoices, production, non-production, incoming and outgoing regardless of the formats . Knowing that we have Source to Pay, Order to Cash and invoice sending solutions. The product team focused its efforts on designing a solution, integrating AI to centralize everything and reroute to the right channel. This tool will not only allow you to process invoices, but also credit notes, contracts… all types of objects.

What other topics are on your innovation roadmap? Is the focus on efficiency particularly driving technologies around automation and AI?

MC: AI is a huge area of ​​interest for us which a dedicated team in our Business Innovation Lab is working on. It’s not about conforming to fashion, but about designing tools that have real business value. This is the case with the Gopher Intelligent Digital Assistant we built, which uses natural language to give customers faster access to the information they need. We’ve also done a lot of work on using AI to extract data . In B2B transactions, a very large number of documents are exchanged in both directions – purchase orders, invoices, payments, advice, payment advice, etc. – which cannot always be sent digitally and we must be able to extract this data regardless of the document format . But there will be many other areas in which to use AI

We also work a lot in the field of RPA (Robotic Process Automation), both to reduce the burden on our clients, but also for ourselves, in order to be more efficient in the services we provide them. We also try to build tools that we first use ourselves internally with our own services before packaging and marketing them.

How did you manage to establish a common corporate culture knowing that Corcentric came from several external growth operations?

MC: We have invested heavily in recent years in integrating the processes, technologies and employees of the companies we had acquired. We focused in particular on thinking about career paths for our employees, encouraging them to express their needs and plan for the future. This is an advantage that we gain from the international reach that Corcentric has acquired: there is no shortage of opportunities for our employees to evolve in their skills and roles. Our employees are our main asset. Some of them have been working with us for 10 years; 15; 25 years, by complementing these personalities who have accompanied us since the foundations of the company with new skills, new visions, we will arrive at the perfect alloy.

XPB: My evolution as founder of B Pack, promoted to Europe director of Corcentric, is indicative of the culture of our company, which remains a family business keen to promote its employees and help them grow. It is quite rare for an American company that buys a publisher in Europe to find itself, more than five years later, with the former founders still present in operational positions and to have them progress to greater responsibility year after year.