The Insider’s Guide To Improving Payments And Cash Flow: Determine Key Requirements

Alan Cohen and Scott Pezza

Part 6 of the Payments and Cash Flow Series.

Now that the organization has the will, is aligned across different functional areas, and the estimated value and outcomes have been shared with key leaders in the organization, it’s time to focus on the core business and technical requirements to achieve the desired outcome and create value for the enterprise.

Questions for consideration to identify your company’s requirements

It’s important to think about what’s required for success, both now and in the future. Answering these key questions will help you to identify your company’s requirements:

  1. 100% spending/supplier coverage. To meet your definition of success, will your program need to address 100% of spending or only specific spending and supplier segments?
  1. Services. With current staff or a partner, what services and expertise will you need to be successful? Some examples are program design/strategy, supplier enablement, training, and integration.
  1. Tools. What types of tools will you need to accomplish your goals? These include tools to manage dynamic discounting, supply chain financing, and payment execution.
  1. Geographic scope. Based on your supplier segmentation and spending profile, are global capabilities and services a primary focus or secondary?
  1. Platform vs. point solutions. Is a separate point solution for each specific problem preferred, or is one common platform across multiple processes better for your company AND your suppliers?
  1. IT strategy. What’s your IT strategy? How many connected systems are in scope and where do they all fit in the process flow, from invoicing through payment?
  1. Mitigating risk. In seeking to mitigate risk, which categories are of the highest concern to your organization and its stakeholders?


Call to action
This is the time to define your core requirements for a payments and/or cash flow initiative, ranking them in order of importance across the following four categories:

  1. Partner: Key elements include experience, expertise, capabilities, successes, references, global coverage, innovation, business model, and long-term viability.
  1. Functional: Core capabilities include dynamic discounting, supply chain financing, and payment automation.
  1. Technical: Requirements include architecture, security, monitoring, single-sign on, integration, and third-party accreditation support.
  1. Services: Support services include program design, best practices, implementation/integration, user and supplier training, internal and external communication, supplier enablement, program management, growth/continuous improvement.

And if you haven’t already done so yet, get our complimentary ebook, Insider’s Guide to Improving Payments and Cashflow. You’ll learn how to build a business case for improving payment processing and cash flow management, and determine core requirements for a successful program that will deliver measurable value to your organization. Don’t miss it.

Learn how organizations are gaining instant financial insights and using them to make better decisions—both now and in the future. Register now for the 2017 Financial Excellence Forum, Oct. 10-11 in New York City.

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Alan Cohen

About Alan Cohen

Alan Cohen is VP Payments & Financing Strategy, SAP Ariba. Alan has over 20 years of payments and working capital experience as a practitioner, consultant, and banker. In his current role, he leads the payments and financing strategy for SAP Ariba to help clients achieve improved business outcomes. Previously, at Coca-Cola Enterprises, Alan led the procure-to-pay transformation that encompassed sourcing, procurement, and payables automation, and the company became one of the first to benefit from dynamic discounting. Alan holds a supply chain management degree from Arizona State University. In 2015, he was part of a team that won SAP’s Hasso Plattner Founders Award for an innovative approach to B2B payments. Alan lives in Atlanta with his wife and 2 daughters. He has served on the board of the Weinstein School since 2007 and actively participates in 2nd Helpings, a nonprofit to rescue and deliver surplus food.

Scott Pezza

About Scott Pezza

As part of SAP Ariba's Digital Transformation Organization's Center of Excellence, Scott researches, compiles, and shares best-practice information to help SAP Ariba's customers get the most out of their investments. He has a dual focus on the emerging technologies (AI/ML, IoT, Blockchain, etc.) across the source-to-settle cycle, as well as a specific interest in the financial supply chain (invoice management, payments, discounting, and supply chain finance). His research helps inform strategic planning, performance measurement, and program execution. He has spent the past 17 years in the B2B technology space, in roles ranging from software development and support to research and consulting. Scott earned his BA in English and Philosophy from Clark University, his MBA from Boston University Graduate School of Management, and his JD from Boston University School of Law, where he served on the Executive Board of the Annual Review of Banking and Financial Law.