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My recent chat with Andrew Bartolini of Aberdeen Group

Andrew Bartolini of Aberdeen Group and I had a phone conversation on past Monday to discuss UK and global trends in EIPP (Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment). If you do not know, Aberdeen Group regularly carries out research in to number of subjects including sourcing, e-payables and supply chain finance to name a few. Their reports are normally sponsored by number of vendors, and vendors such as Xign, OB10 and Ariba regularly brief Aberdeen Group and other research companies such Forrester about their new products and solutions, market strategies and successes. Given that Aberdeen Group is based in the USA with no presentation in the UK market, there has been less understanding of the development of the UK market. And my objective is to clearly address this inbalance. However, Andrew claims that their regional research effort is split into North America (65%), EMEA – predominantly Europe (25%) and Asia (10%)

According to Andrew, there has been renewed focus on complex categories of sourcing (a subject alien to me) and e-payables driven by CFOs (Chief Financial Officers) and CPOs (Chief Procurement Officers). We both acknowledged that whilst there has been solutions on supply chain finance for a while, especially from vendors such as Xign, the real business need at present is to reduce inefficiencies associated with manual paper based processes. Customers are still looking for simpler solutions that they can easily understand, hence the rapid growth of accounts payable solutions that combine scanning, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and ICR (Intelligent Character Recognition). They are growing at a much faster pace than e-invoicing and EIPP solutions whilst best tangible and intangible benefits are offered by hub based solutions with full purchase-to-pay capability.

I used the opportunity to inform Andrew of the UK market including solutions offered by OB10, Causeway Technologies‘ Tradex, Accountis and Burns e-Commerce (and none British players such as Ariba, Bottomline Technologies, Esker, Basware, etc) and minor and new players such as Asite and TbiConnect. We also spoke of accounts payable automation vendors briefly, but much of the discussion was around the Hub Alliance. I am very passionate about what hub alliance is trying to achieve.

We also spoke about the forthcoming ExPP Summit that I am looking forward. Andrew will be coming to London at the back end of September 2007, and it no doubt will give me another chance to exchange notes.


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