The Insider’s Guide To Improving Payments And Cash Flow: Evaluate And Select A Partner

Alan Cohen and Scott Pezza

Part 7 of the Payments and Cash Flow Series.

Your organization desires a set of business outcomes and is aligned on goals and timing. You have support from a cross-functional group of executives. Core requirements have been identified. Now it’s time to select a partner to help ensure the success of your payments and cash flow initiative.

Key considerations when selecting a partner

Before compiling your shortlist and initiating conversations, your company should determine which criteria are most important for you when selecting a partner. Examples of key considerations include:

  1. Experience: How experienced is the company in payments and/or cash flow? How many years have they focused on these areas, how many buyers and suppliers have they onboarded, what lessons learned have they collected, and what improvements have they made over time?
  1. Expertise: Depth of expertise extends to the company’s people as well as their solutions and services. Is the expertise specific to a solution area(s), industries, geographies, etc.?
  1. Capabilities: To what extent do the capabilities match and/or exceed your requirements? Think about future expansion and alignment with corporate IT strategy. Will they be able to support you not only today, but also in the future?
  1. Successes/references: Request examples of success and discussions with reference clients about their experiences, challenges, and results.
  1. Global coverage: Which countries, currencies, and languages do they support? Where do they have a local presence and support for solution capabilities and services?
  1. Innovation: Is there a track record of innovation that extends to a future roadmap? Note: It’s also valuable to learn about the evolution of capabilities and services, and delivery history against a plan.
  1. Business model: Understand how the partner will make money and if the business model supports long-term viability for the company’s success and staying power.
  1. People: Have confidence and be comfortable with the people you’ll work with, including the partner’s leadership. These programs thrive when they are approached as collaborative relationships. The people you work with can be just as important as the tools you use.

Call to action

To help with the partner selection process, you should:

  1. Define key questions to ask. Determine what you need and want to know and categorize the questions.
  1. Prioritize selection criteria. Focus on what’s most important and impactful for your decision criteria; i.e., what criteria is a “must have” vs. “nice to have.”

Take the next steps

We can help you with your payments and cash flow project. Our team of industry experts can provide guidelines, project templates, partner selection criteria, and all the tools you need to initiate, plan, implement, and execute a successful project.

To contact us, send an email to: SAP_improve-cashflow@sap.com

Read our complimentary e-book

And if you haven’t read it yet, get our complimentary Insider’s Guide to Improving Payments and Cash Flow e-book. You’ll learn how to build a business case for improving payment processing and cash flow management, and determining 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.