Mid-sized service providers: IT connectivity growing in importance

Mid-sized companies are discovering the advantages of digitalization and digitized workflows more and more – especially in procurement. Of course, to date only a few service providers use IT to manage their workflows, even though most buyers wish they would.


At least, that’s what the recently published “Procurement Check 2015” indicated. The authors of the study used in-depth interviews with procurement managers to make a discovery: between one and 50 percent of suppliers in mid-sized companies are working with electronic processes. This means that they are transmitting data, invoices, calculations, bids, and much more via email to digital workflow systems.


Suppliers still only moderately integrated

The higher percentage levels are really just outliers. In reality, according to the study only a few suppliers are truly involved. Half of companies surveyed were only able to convince one in ten creditors to work with them on an electronic basis.


It’s a shame – both suppliers and customers could benefit from digital processes and slimmed-down, agile processes. More transparency, a quicker tempo, lower error rates, and dropping invoicing costs are just a few examples of benefits. With these kinds of added value, both sides should be all ears.


Different priorities?

Maybe the issue is that both sides have different levels of knowledge about digital workflow systems? Of course, larger mid-sized companies – perhaps ones with an independent IT department – would have more interest in electronic processes than small suppliers with just a handful of employees. Smaller companies might even fear involved IT connections, worrying about giving up too much information.


Whatever the cause: these are topics even “small” businesses need to consider. Companies are already cleaning up their lists of creditors to ensure they get the best conditions possible from their remaining suppliers and reduce complexity. Suppliers that can make the cut and prove they’re on the same IT wavelength as their customers have a decisive leg up – as long as their services are on par with the competition with regard to price and quality.


So: don’t be afraid of topics like digital invoicing, ECMs, and workflow systems. Digging in will be worth it in the supplier-customer relationship as well – and probably sooner, rather than later.