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Globys Research

A strategic perspective on invoice-to-cash

Success factors in e-invoicing projects: The six Ps

Topics: Information Reporting, Invoicing

Billentis just released their 2015 E-Invoicing and E-Billing Report, which serves as a cross-industry resource for market data and analysis to help understand current and future business impacts. It’s filled with a lot of great insights – stating that businesses that use e-billing and invoicing will help achieve savings of up to 80% and predicting that in 2015 alone, 42 billion e-bills and invoices will be issued globally.

Reading through the 95 page report (yes, there is a ton of information included), one area really stood out. It’s wasn’t the new stats or a recap of the latest technologies. It’s a simple bulleted list of 9 ‘success factors’ for E-invoicing projects. Having worked with a variety of service providers throughout the years, we can attest that many of these are directly tied making or breaking a project – either before it ever gets off the ground or once it’s taken off:

Success factors in E-Invoicing projects

  • Awareness by senior executives about the potential of E-invoicing in a broader sense (the value is much more than just eliminating printing and stamp costs or entering invoice data into the ERP system)
  • Management Support, as many divisions within an organization are involved
  • One very active project owner
  • Defining a three year objective/strategy, but implementing it step-by-step including a quick-win result for step 1 (best is just one invoice steam in one division of a big company)
  • Internal and external communication to key persons affected
  • Being a rollout champion with an excellent strategy for taking on board a high number of suppliers/customers (opt-out strategy if possible, combined with active marketing)
  • Being realistic regarding mid- and long-term technical capabilities in your organization including workflow and archiving – right decision for make/buy and direct or network model
  • Don’t re-invent and develop solutions which are already available for a fixed price and which have been well tested in other companies
  • Being realistic regarding technical capability of your counterparts to send, receive and archive electronic invoices (this is quite often dramatically lower than you expect); simple and economical interfaces and possibly a third party archiving service are essential

It all boils down to the six Ps – the people, the plan, the product, the project, the process, and the promotion. When one falters, success is impacted.  But when all work in sync, the results can be transformative.