99 Amazing Facts On The Future Of Business

Michael Brenner

99 Facts On The Future of BusinessThe Future of Business is being defined right in front of our eyes. Massive changes brought on by the internet, social media and mobile technologies are transforming business models faster than our ability to keep up.


  • Over 40% of the companies that were at the top of the Fortune 500 in 2000 were no longer there in 2010. Click to Tweet
  • By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile-connected devices than there are people on earth. Click to Tweet
  • Facebook has more than 1 Billion network users. Click To Tweet
  • By 2030, 5 billion people – nearly two thirds of global population – could be middle class. Click To Tweet
  • The amount of data stored is doubling every 18 months. Click To Tweet

All these forces are leading to an unprecedented amount of change in the way we interact with our customers, our employees, and with the way we manage our resources. This is causing new business models to spring up, taking advantage of the more closely connected business and social networks.

At the individual level, as consumers of information, products and services, we are all empowered to dramatically change the very nature of the way we interact with the brands we support. We are demanding new customer experiences:

  • Millennials are 3 times as likely to follow brands over a family member on social networks. Click To Tweet
  • 73% of people surveyed wouldn’t care if the brands they use disappeared from their life. Click To Tweet
  • The half-life of a piece of content shared on top social networks Twitter and Facebook is 3 hours. Click To Tweet
  • Globally, more people trust regular employees to tell the truth than CEOs (50% vs. 43%).Click To Tweet
  • Newspapers have lost $40 Billion in advertising revenue since 2000. Click To Tweet
  • The average number of sources of content consumed by a shopper in a purchase doubled from 2010 to 2011 going from 5 to 10 pieces of content consumed. Click To Tweet
  • More than 70% of customers surveyed believe small businesses are more concerned about their needs than larger companies. Click To Tweet
  • It is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to keep a current one. Click To Tweet
  • Content on the internet tripled between 2010 and 2013. Click To Tweet

And we’re seeing a re-definition of the relationship between employee and employer. This is forcing businesses to consider the future of work. In the future, businesses will need to move beyond productivity as the sole measure of an employee’s value and put programs in place that make the most of their worker’s human potential:

  • Only 7% of Gen Y works for a Fortune 500 company as startups dominate the workforce for this demographic.  Click To Tweet
  • Worldwide, more than 3 billion people are working, but nearly half work in farming, small household enterprises, or in casual or seasonal day labor. Click To Tweet
  • Gen Y will form 75% of the workforce by 2025 and are actively shaping corporate culture and expectations. Only 11% define having a lot of money as a definition of success.  Click To Tweet
  • More than 620 million young people are neither working nor studying. Click To Tweet
  • India will add a million new workers every month for the next two decades. Equal to the entire population of Sweden joining the labor force every year for 20 years.. Click To Tweet

In the larger context, we’re thinking in new and different ways about how to manage and optimize resources that are feeling the strain such as time, information, and of course, natural resources. Companies that leverage solutions to manage big data are seeing massive increases in operating margins. Consider these facts with regard to resource optimization:

  • Fathers in the US have nearly tripled their time with their children since 1965. Today’s mothers spend more time with their children than mothers did in the 1960s. Click To Tweet
  • 1.2 billion people were still living on less than $1.25 a day in 2010, a decrease of 100 million since 2008. Click To Tweet
  • By 2050 more than 40% of the world’s population will live under severe water stress. Click To Tweet
  • The global rate of extreme poverty fell to 20.6 percent, less than half the 1990 rate of 43.1 percent. Click To Tweet

And we’re taking advantage of new Social and Business Networks to manage the breathtaking amount of data and the real-time connections being made over the social web:

  • Typical mobile users check their phone 150 times per day. Click To Tweet
  • 90% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. Click To Tweet
  • 29% of Millennials find love through Facebook while 33% are dumped via wall posts or text messages. Click To Tweet
  • Wearable devices have grown by 2x month over month since October 2012. Click To Tweet

In support of all these amazing and transformational changes driving the Future of Business, we’ve gathered 99 Facts on The Future of Business. We’ve created this resource to help you – whether you are a business leader, a social consumer, a millennial employee – to help drive transformational change within your corner of the world. Because no matter what you do, where you do it, how much experience you have or whatever industry you serve, the future of business will be created by you.

Click here to view all 99 Facts on The Future of Business.


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What Will It Take To Grow And Succeed In The Year Ahead?

SAP Guest

by Carey Bettencourt, Jeanne Urich, and David Hofferberth, Service Performance Insight

ruler to measure your success according to the Professional Services Maturity benchmark

In February, we introduced our sixth annual Professional Services Maturity benchmark with cummulative results from 1,059 PS organizations.

The results show the professional service market is experiencing high levels of growth across most market segments, including IT consulting, management consulting and managed services. The benchmark has yielded a few trends you should know about.

Growth is strong, but not as strong as in 2011

Accustomed to high levels of growth, the professional services market saw annual revenue growth rates of 15 to 20 percent in the early 2000s. As the global economy dipped into an extended recession, the PS market retrenched but not to the point of flat or negative growth.

In our six years of benchmarking, the average annual growth rate has never been negative. 2009 had the lowest point of year-over-year revenue growth, while 2007 was the most recent high point. Refer to Figure 1 for a year-to-year comparison of key performance measurements.


Figure 1: Year-to-year comparison of key performance measurements

 The 2012 survey showed an average growth rate that was almost 20 percent lower than 2011 growth, as shown in Figure 1. This decline from 2011 could be a reaction to the European sovereign debt crisis and worry over the implementation of increased U.S. regulatory costs in 2013. Regardless, double-digit growth rates signify the strength of the global professional services market, making it a dependable source of revenue and profit, particularly in technology and management consulting services.


Figure 2: Year-to-year change in professional services revenue

Staff augmentation, at the bottom end of the market, is experiencing contraction and significant rate pressure. As for the upper end of the market, the demand for unique and specialized expertise is growing along with higher bill rates. Growth rates over 10 percent generally lead to hiring, while growth below that can be managed through efficiency gains, increased utilization and use of third-party contractors.

It’s no surprise that the greatest reported challenge for PS organizations is talent management, as skilled talent shortages have forced firms to revitalize college recruiting and invest significantly in employee development. With economic improvement, we have seen a steady increase in attrition, bringing it on par with prerecession levels as the war for skilled talent intensifies.

Declining overhead personnel

One key performance indicator that has improved every year is the percentage of employees who are billable as compared to non-billable management, sales and administrative personnel. This metric was less than 70 percent in 2009, but it has risen every year since.

The percentage of billable staff is now more than 75 percent of total staff. While this might not sound significant, it bodes well for profitability because there are now three billable consultants to every non-billable employee. This ratio reduces the pressure for excessive billable utilization because the chargeable workforce has to carry fewer non-billable staff.

Increased reliance on powerful integrated accounting, sales and professional services automation solutions has resulted in significant productivity improvements and fewer administrative roles. However, as the percentage of senior management personnel continues to decline, it could cause operational and sales concerns for PS organizations.

With fewer sales and administrative personnel, sales and marketing efforts could suffer. Reductions in other supporting organizations such as human resources, finance, accounting, and service quality or engineering may compromise recruiting, employee development, financial management and quality. Monitoring this key performance indicator will help PS executives ensure that short-term profitability improvements don’t inhibit long-term growth and quality.

Profits continue to rise

The average organizational profitability in this year’s survey is impressive, as it nearly tripled that of just two years ago. The 2012 benchmark revealed average EBITDA to be 18 percent. Considering the 2011 benchmark showed average profit at 13.5 percent, this year’s survey shows the market is growing and profits are there for the taking.

Many PS organizations are taking the necessary steps to improve profitability. For instance, quarterly non-billable expense went from $1,600 per employee to less than $1,300. Annual non-billable administrative time per employee declined from 232 to 150 hours, giving each employee more than two weeks of additional time. Unfortunately, PS organizations squandered most of this improvement on non-billable project hours, which went up from 196 to 225 hours.

Bill rates also continued to rise, resulting in a higher revenue yield per consultant. Average revenue per consultant soared to $206,000, up from $197,000 in 2011.

Although client delight is always the number one PS priority, high profitability provides an excellent indicator of firm health. Many profitability levers, such as cutting administrative, facility and discretionary travel expenses, are sound business practices for the long term. However, other profit levers such as staff, salary, bonus and training cuts may improve short-term profitability yet damage morale and growth over the long term.

Sound management practices favoring long-term growth investments over short-term tactics will yield sustainable profits. For example, providing employee incentives helps drive performance improvements, revenue growth and profitability. Employee, quality and infrastructure investments will lead to greater financial performance over the long haul.

Metrics matter

Every year, we recognize the top 5 percent of benchmark participants with the annual “Best of the Best” award based on superlative overall maturity scores. Perennial winners share many common characteristics, with the main ones being constant management operational vigilance and respect for metrics.

The leaders of the best-of-the-best firms have real-time visibility into and control over all aspects of the business. They understand the impact of key metrics such as attrition, project overruns and excess overhead on bottom-line profitability.

The most mature organizations are more likely to have implemented integrated accounting, CRM and PSA backbones to give them the real-time visibility they need to catch problems and spot negative trends before they spiral out of control. Their key focus and investment are in finding, hiring and retaining top-quality staff, yet they’re frugal in other areas such as expensive facilities and perks that don’t affect client and employee satisfaction.

Looking ahead

A focus on greater efficiency and productivity were major reasons for growth and success in 2012. 2013 will require greater creativity as increased burdens such as health care costs and taxes could limit profitability and inhibit growth as PS organizations’ clients face similar challenges.

The growth and success of the professional services marketplace comes from the organizations offering innovative services to help clients manage change and improve performance. As market dynamics change, leading PS organizations have adapted to take advantage of new technologies to create innovative solutions to help their clients.

2013 will be no different in terms of the need for continuous improvement. But the headwinds will be slightly stronger, and the need for repeatable service offers and organizational efficiency and effectiveness is critical if professional organizations want to remain competitive and profitable.

Carey Bettencourt, Service Performance Insight managing director, is a management consultant who specializes in improvement and transformation for project-driven professional services organizations. She is an experienced change management leader, expert in helping clients develop high-performincareybettencourtg teams that deliver increased utilization, profit and customer satisfaction. Bettencourt has more than 20 years of domestic and international experience in leadership roles with software firms including Oracle, ChannelPoint and J.D. Edwards. Contact Bettencourt at or 949-521-3830.

Jeanne Urich, Service Performance Insight managing director, is a management consultant specializing in improvement and transformation for Jeanneproject- and service-oriented organizations. She has been a corporate officer and leader of the worldwide service organizations of Vignette, Blue Martini and Clarify, where she was responsible for leading the growth of their professional services, education, account management and alliances organizations. Urich is a world-renowned thought leader, speaker and author on all aspects of professional services. Contact Urich at or 650-342-4690.

David Hofferberth, Service Performance Insight managing director and licensed professional engineer, has served as an industry analyst, market Daveconsultant and product director. He focuses on the services economy, especially productivity and technologies that help organizations perform at their highest capacity. Hofferberth’s background includes application and analytical tool development to support business decision-making processes. He has more than 30 years of domestic and international experience with firms including the Aberdeen Group and Oracle. Contact Hofferberth at or 513-759-5443.


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The Key To Customer Experience Is Culture And Passion

Michael Brenner

the future of customer experienceIn today’s future of customer experience interview series, I am thrilled to bring you the thoughts and insights from Anthony Leaper (@ALeaper).

Anthony is the Senior Vice President and Sales GM for Enterprise Social Software at SAP. He is also a passionate advocate for customer experience and I think you’ll see what I mean in the interview below.

How do you define a customer-focused company these days?

You know, for me, it starts with culture and passion. Many companies focus on customer sat scores or responding to customers through social or trying to create customer designed products. But they do it because they have to, not because they want to. You have to create a culture that inspires them from the minute your employees get up to go to work, that all they want to do is delight customers and exceed their expectations and that makes them feel as much a part of the business as the employee themselves. A culture that knows that if you truly care about your customer and their needs and desires – then the revenue will take care of itself.

I always remember Tom Siebel telling us all in the early days how to think about the balance between customers and revenue, he said “If you are on a call with a customer regarding a $10m deal and you see an urgent email from a customer about a problem and issue that needs your attention to close, or a colleague is trying to pass a call with the upset customer to you. Apologize professionally to the prospective customer, explaining you have an urgent need to solve a problem with an existing customer and arrange a time to get back to them, then hang up and handle your existing customers issue in order to make them happy. Making your existing customers happy has to be the priority and if you get that right then it will encourage the new customers.

Roll forward to today’s world, where collaborative interaction goes on continuously between customers and the companies they interact with. Whilst the technology may make the speed by which these interactions happen faster and the visibility of who sees the issues and how you respond, greater, the same is still true, putting your customers’ needs first and spreading a culture that pervasively encourages that thinking is the best way to make sure everything you do is customer focused. Once the customer knows this, appreciates the fact you listen, decide and act at every opportunity to improve the relationship with them. Then they will donate their loyalty, ideas, and, subsequently, wallet spend in your direction.

How do you balance the need for a better customer experience with the return on that investment?

In the past, people looked at interacting with customers as almost an overhead, and at that point it was all about how do you offer the level of customer service and experience you can get away with at the lowest cost. Sad to say that some brands who have taken this route have now started to see their businesses decline and many top brands from the last 30–50 years no longer exist. Other companies from the outset have started from the premise of, we will build great products based on what our customers want, we will listen and refine, if a product fails we will replace, if we slip up somewhere – we will compensate and if we get a customer – we will respect and cherish them, the onus is on us to apologize and make good, not on the customer to prove and justify why we should offer a great experience.

A friend of mine told me a recent story, he made a considerable investment many years ago in a Tumi travel case, some many years later, long after any reasonable guarantee had lapsed and the Handle suddenly broke on the bag. He contacted Tumi and explained the situation, seeking to find out how to buy a replacement handle, the bag was still great, it just needed a replacement handle. The lady at the end of the phone asked for some questions and then just asked if he could send a picture of the handle to her by email. This he subsequently did and a few days later a replacement handle arrived in the post. Delighted he phoned the lady back to ask how much he owed her, the response, “Nothing, just thank you for being a loyal Tumi customer.” The bag is now repaired but no longer stands alone as his only Tumi travel suitcase/bag because his loyalty resulted in additional purchases of other format suitcases and bags from Tumi, and of course many references and recounting of this tale to all the people he meets.

The ROI of this engaging experience and interaction, hard to fully count, but probably runs into the many thousands, the cost to deliver this service – a couple of pounds.

We live in an increasingly networked age. At what point do the traditional ways of organizing companies to deliver customer experiences (headquarters, field, online, call centers, resellers, etc.) get rethought or replaced?

This has already happened, we all shop, check, and transact with our banks. Look for fixes to issues any time, any place, anywhere with the channel that is most convenient. I see a branch of my bank in a high street in a foreign location and I may go into it for service and support. You had better be able to know me and deal with me otherwise you may not be the bank for me in the future. I have an issue with a new item I have purchased, and I want answers now. Is it user error? Is it a fault? Am I the only one with the issue? And how does the company normally help people solve this? I don’t care if your office hours are only 9–5. Guess what, so are mine. I will be working tomorrow, so I may not be able to call you. How are you going to help me? It’s not my fault, I purchased your product.

Companies are getting wise to this. “Start Looking for a Fix” and a “Call Me Now” or “Instant Chat” pop-up can appear, and before you know it you are interacting with an individual who could be anywhere round the world, but is focused on solving your issue. Or your phone is suddenly ringing, and you are instantly relaxed into a feeling of inclusive and ever-present customer-focused experience.

I had a situation recently where I wanted to by some new phone equipment for my home office. So I finally got some free time and visited the Li-go UK Web site to browse through the selection available. There was so much to choose from, it was like being overwhelmed as a child in the old village candy/sweet store. I was getting to a point where it seemed too hard to make a choice when suddenly up popped a prompt, “Can I Help You”. This was 5:00 p.m. on a Sunday evening, so I thought, probably a system generated prompt and no one would be available so I ignored it for a little while. It dropped down out of the way, and I continued to look across 3 to 4 different products trying to work out which one to buy. The prompt appeared again “Can I Help You”. I was about to give up and thought, let’s just see how good this really is. So I opened the chat window and explained I was looking for a phone system for my office. For a couple of seconds nothing happened…. Then a response came back….. “I can see you have been looking at these models, what are the characteristics you are looking for etc”… I almost dropped my tablet…. The conversation progressed over about 20 minutes, me reviewing various options and then returning to the chat and finally a recommendation was made. The surprising thing was that this was one of the cheaper options, but the individual at the other end of the chat assured me this was the right option for my needs. The final element of excellence happened when I confirmed the items I was going to purchase, and the individual at the other end simply asked “would you like me to place the order for you and just send you a PayPal invoice, so as to save you the time…” talk about making it easy to buy and would I recommend them to others, I have done….!

We’re hearing that customers want to be part of the development process, especially for consumer products. But people are also lazy and pressed for time. Are they really going to get involved? Why and how?

Imagine if that annoying little issue you have with your TV, dishwasher, washing machine, car…. you name it…. miraculously got fixed in the next version. Smart companies listen to what people are saying out in discussion groups and use that to influence better product design. Some customers get invited to help design, why do this, because if every day I use the replacement product in the future and find it fits my needs perfectly then I will clearly be far more satisfied than I was with the previous models. If I see others commenting on how well the product works for them, I can smile knowing I was a part of that, and if I know that I buy products from a company that takes its customers feedback into account, then I know that the item I am likely to buy is more fit for purpose maybe than similar from the competition.

Not every person will have the time, but my requirements are more than likely not going to be unique, someone will have mentioned them or commented on the challenges somewhere and now and again so will I. The point is whether at that point in time the company is bothered to listen. Sometimes the fact that an item is faster to use, more valuable in its applicability to me etc, then a few minutes here can save considerable more time maybe in the future.

What is the most extreme future that you could envision for the customer experience?

Becoming truly customer-centric by implementing systems that enable you to drive a C2B mentality. Consumer-to-business in a connected world of listening, deciding and then engaging in the most effective manner. Thinking about managed loyalty that is designed around the type of relationship and business results you want from each individual customer.

Will companies stop selling products and services and start selling experiences?

Companies like Virgin Atlantic already do this, so very very well! They sell me a travel experience, uniquely different every time, yet consistent, not focused on the flight, but the whole experience from when I look for my ticket to when I get back through the front door at the end of the trip. Trusted and comforting, yet they do get it wrong sometimes, and when they do, it reminds me that everyone is human, even my friends at Virgin Atlantic, and they clearly go out of their way to make it right. I recently then had an interaction with Virgin Money, and never guess what, they also treated me like they valued me and the experience they were delivering to me, and so that’s what the Virgin Experience stands for, and to me what I think of whenever I see a Virgin logo.

Many other companies are doing the same thing, those that are not become a commodity along with the products they sell, if I am looking for a bargain then I may go to them, but it will have to be cheap. On the other hand if I am looking for value, then price is not the issue, the experience is.

Research says that customers are going to want things extremely personalized and customized to them and that 3-D printers and distributed manufacturing will increase that urge. Do you agree?

Today you can personalize so many things, who knows where this will end up, the problem is, do I know enough to be able to decide what I want, a car is the best it can be through years of research and other peoples input, I am not sure if I designed it myself the result would be so enjoyable…. J

How important is customer experience for B2B companies?

Vital, we all know what we like and what we don’t like from our customer interactions in the non-B2B world, when we enter into a commercial interaction, we expect the same level of experience. I will measure how you treat me as an individual at all times, not how you treat my company, that’s hard to measure. I feel how you deal with me and my needs first, then I ask my colleagues how you dealt with them and their needs, and it is the aggregation of those individual impressions that will help me decide. Making sure companies deliver a consistent focused customer experience targeted at the people they interact with, designed to exceed their needs, is how they will win the business.

What technologies do you see as enabling better customer experience?

ESP. CRM chips in the brain. Facial recognition. One-to-one advertising. Who knows. Remember, the iPhone and iPad are old technology now, and who knows how revolutionary the next must have device is going to be. I think pervasive information will be the first big trend, conversations and connections that move from device to device irrespective of where you are. Mobile to car to TV, or wall to fridge to work surface to 3D virtual. Companies like Samsung are already heading this way with virtual devices, swiping from mobile to TV and windows on a window. I can dream of many crazy ideas.

When I was 11, I was asked to write a short story book for English on life in the future. I wrote this brave idea about computers for people, that could provide information like Encyclopedia Britannica and would be about the size of a desk with their own screen like a TV and a keyboard like a typewriter.  My report back from my wonderful elderly teacher said, “7/10 very farfetched and please correct the spellings” If she only knew, and thanks to modern technology, my poor spelling is a thing of the past.

What are your thoughts on the opportunity to use your purchase history to improve customer experience versus privacy concerns?

My view from the aspect of my data and a relationship with a company is as follows: My data is valuable, prove that if I share it with you that I will get even more value because of this, and not because you are going to use it behind my back to make money, then I will share everything you ask of me. Break my trust and more fool you, as everything I know about you is also valuable and I can, in today’s world, cause even more damage than having to deal with changing some of my key data..

Companies need to ensure that they encompass this in their culture we know that we leverage to deliver more value. But we respect the rights and the information you shared with us and treat it confidentially accordingly

How do large companies optimize the customer experience across all the channels available today?

By leveraging modern technologies, learning to listen, understanding and engaging such that they can connect to the customer when they need them, where they need them, how they need them in order to delight and exceed the expectations. Today’s connected world means Individuals can buy from home as well as work from home, connect this ability to all the other channels available and you can deliver an omnichannel experience that envelopes your customer, their needs and desires, leaving little room for the competition.

AnthonyLeaperAnthony Leaper is a software, marketing and sales enthusiast, lucky enough to have been given a  job which aligns with his passion for making a difference in the world of customer interactions. Now heading up the team responsible for business development of SAP’s Social Collaboration products, including specialising in how they relate to the customer experience space. Anthony’s character is strengthened by a personal, almost manic, bias to exceed his customer’s expectations, which has come from over 25 years+ of experience in developing and selling systems for improving customer interaction. Prior to his current role, Anthony was responsible for the Solution Management and Go to Market activities of SAP’s Sales, Service and Marketing Solutions, pushing innovation to improve customer insight and intimacy in a way that delights customers and expands the abilities of companies to connect and engage with their customers and consumers.  


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Confessions Of A Paperholic – Identifying The Problem With Paper

Drew Hofler

Hi.  My name is Drew, and I’m a paperholic.

I do not own a Kindle or an iPad, and I have never read an covered with paper

My driveway is one of three houses on my block with a daily newspaper laying on the blacktop every morning.

I get a rush from the tactile thrill of heavy stationery or journal paper, and the weight it seems to impart to my words as I write them.

The scent of a library or bookstore is an irresistible siren song.

And yes, if a document or report is more than two pages long, I will often print it to read it and make notes on it.

I can’t help it!  I just love the feel of paper between my fingers, being able to underline things, make notes in margins, and draw doodles during boring presentations (while appearing to take notes).  I love Sunday mornings with my thick Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper, my coffee, and my easy chair.  I love being able to drop my paperback in the sand at the beach without worry, or leave it on my towel as I take a dip without worry of theft.  I love paper, because in many ways it offers many advantages over its electronic analogues.

However, one area where paper is nothing but trouble is accounts payable and the invoice receipt and approval process!

The invoice process itself is an absolutely necessary control step in the procure-to-pay business cycle.  It is the guardian of the cash flow gate.  It is supposed to ensure that payments compliant to negotiated pricing and discounts are made on time and without duplication.   Yet the information delivery medium upon which this critical process is built (i.e. paper-based invoices) has in many companies not changed since the days when they were delivered via horseback or by carrier pigeon.  This despite the clear facts and evidence that paper invoices unnecessarily costs companies millions every year in inefficient processes, lost savings, and missed discounts.  For example:

  • By some estimates, almost 77% of invoice volume is still paper based
  • According to a recent report by The Accounts Payable Network, 15% of invoices have exceptions adding 6.6 days to the cycle
  • Other analysts state that almost $5 million in negotiated contract savings is lost per $1 Billion in spend due to invoices not reflecting correct pricing…and no way to connect paper invoices to paper contracts.
  • And the inefficiencies of processing paper (exceptions, routing, etc.) delay the payment approval time such that companies often miss a majority of negotiated early payment discounts, not to mention miss the opportunity for net new discounts through dynamic discounting…to the tune of around $2 million missed opportunity per $1 billion of relevant spend.

Clearly paper is a problem!  Trying to solve this, many companies have tried to remove paper by making the documents digital through scanning or OCR (optical character recognition) technologies.  But the problem with paper is not the paper itself…it’s the disconnected, unverified, unfiltered data that populates the source paper.   A PDF image of a paper invoice or digital data taken directly from a paper invoice does nothing to help that.  The old maxim holds true here: Garbage in, Garbage Out…and a digitized paper invoice does nothing to clean up the garbage that creates exceptions, it simply gets the garbage in faster.

The only way to solve the root problem with paper is to uproot paper at the source and start with electronic data that can be verified, cleansed, and filtered before it ever reaches Accounts Payable.  True e-invoicing (invoices submitted electronically via a business network) enables Smart Invoicing, where invoice exceptions are caught and corrected, contract prices are verified, and the invoice is validated as correct at the point of submission, thus capturing negotiated savings and creating the opportunity for early payment discounting through rapid and accurate approval to pay.

There is much more to write about regarding the benefits of kicking the paper invoice habit, but rather than risk tempting you to print this out to read it, I’ll stop here for now.

Take it from a paperholic, identifying the problems with (and IN) you paper invoices is the first step in solving them.


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Whatever Your Destination, Expert Guidance Can Help Get You There

Michelle Affleck

While driving to an appointment the other day, my navigation system gave me three possible paths to my destination:

  • Route 1: 25 minutes on a major highway
  • Route 2: 30 minutes on a major highway and back roads
  • Route 3: 45 minutes on back roads (some turn by turn information unavailable)

Because I didn’t have the time or patience to real-time navigationget lost, I selected the first route and arrived at my destination in exactly 25 minutes without making one wrong turn. Granted, I could have been delayed by circumstances out of my control – like being stuck behind an accident or getting a flat tire – but using the right, most direct route kept me on the best path, and out of trouble.

If only there could be a navigation system for making business decisions…

In business, industry and process experts can help us navigate the road ahead. They can advise us on the best course of action to take, based on their experiences, so we can save time and money, reduce risks, and arrive at our destination with ease.

That’s especially true when it comes to implementing new software, according to an information sheet from SAP.

By working with a software provider that has partnered with experts who have been involved in similar projects, companies can benefit from their trial-and-error experiences and learn from their best practices. Best of all, as noted by SAP, software providers can rely on external resources who are focused exclusively on the project – from planning through completion and next steps – and can take a step back, when necessary, to see the big picture.

As a result, companies can:

  • Minimize deployment and integration risks
  • Increase cost-efficiency
  • Speed time to value
  • Prioritize IT investments

Planning an implementation or data migration project?

To learn more about navigating your next software implementation or migration project with help from the experts, read Plan the Migration of SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse to SAP HANA.


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