PROACTIS Blog

Blurring the Line Between Software and Services

Charlotte Sutton
Charlotte Sutton,
PROACTIS
As we have shifted our solution focus over the past few years from traditional on-premise software implementation to cloud-based solution deployment, we have started to see another trend begin to take shape: the combining of software-as-a-service and associated people services into a broader solution to particular needs.
As we have shifted our solution focus over the past few years from traditional on-premise software implementation to cloud-based solution deployment, we have started to see another trend begin to take shape: the combining of software-as-a-service and associated people services into a broader solution to particular needs.

For instance, when we talk with customers about doing a supplier record clean-up before implementing our supplier management solution, they are beginning to ask us things like “Can you just do that clean-up and deliver us a quality supplier directory?” or “Can you just take on the job of on-boarding new suppliers to our directory and portal once we’re up and running?”. And when we talk with them about implementing automated sourcing tools, they are asking “Do you know any experts in X category that can just run a few reverse auctions for us so we can concentrate on categories we know better?”

Another area where this is happening is with electronic invoices. Everyone understands and wants the AP process savings that are possible. A lot of companies have put the technology in place but still have very few suppliers actually sending eInvoices. They’ve come to realise that it takes a concerted outreach program to communicate the benefits to suppliers and to get suppliers on-boarded to the process that best fits their situation. They are asking PROACTIS “Can you just handle that for us?”, “And in the short term, can you just take in all our paper invoices and turn them into electronic records delivered to us for processing?”

Interestingly, one perspective on this trend is that customers are asking us to use our own solutions to perform various aspects of what they need to do but often don’t have the time or expertise to do. In fact, we are increasingly doing that. It makes sense. Why should organisations apply limited resources to doing something that’s infrequent or hard for them to do when it’s something that’s relatively easy for someone else to do?

When we provide these kinds of services, we and our customers are actually working together around the same cloud-based solutions. Location becomes irrelevant. We become part of their team, sharing in responsibility for the information we jointly create and maintain. We did not necessarily see it coming, but the move to cloud-based solutions has given our customers and us new ways of working together that we did not envision even a few years ago. That’s turning out to be very productive for both our customers and us.

Go view this in further detail, download 'Procurement Automation: Key Trends & Hot Topics'