Theres a tendency for many people to think that automation, new systems, new software, and technology advancements alone are generally powerful enough to transform their organization, alleviate problems, and create utopia. Ironically, we fall prey to the thinking that the new-fangled whatchamacallit is somehow going to function as a white knight. This isnt just in the business world I mean has anyone ever known a true messy in their personal life? Invariably it seems they are always the folks who have new books and guides on organization and cleaning like those alone are going to be the panacea they are desperately looking for.
Peter Drucker was astute in his observations that new systems (like Accounts Payable Software) are great, but that they will necessitate internal resources to administer and manage. This is especially true if you opt for in-house deployment vs. a cloud based approach (see our thoughts on cloud based document process outsourcing here). In actuality, even areas like AP invoice processing that are ripe for significant improvement are going to require someone to champion and own the process.
3 Things Beyond AP Software For Successful Automation
1. The first critical item that has to happen for a Kafka-like AP Automation metamorphosis is a willingness to ditch the following because weve always done it that way thinking. Nothing is more of a buzzkill to innovation and improvement than some cud-chewing, herbivore thinking like this. Yet, many people cling to these types of philosophies. Granted it tends to be more prevalent, the lower on the food chain that you are (no disrespect intended). However, when faced with pressurized circumstances, people are more compelled to at least face up to this kind of thinking, and left unchecked, it can have serious impacts on performance and morale. Think about it if this mindset is the m.o. of an organization, anyone sponsoring change would be going up against a buzzsaw of opposition.
2. The second critical mindset beyond shifting away from the tried & true, is creating a forum where collaborative, the best idea wins conversations prevail. In this way, and with open communication, you can literally map out the best way to move forward in an organization. Recently, I was engaged with a hospitality customer who was going through the process of an entire Procurement lifecyle improvement. Were talking, Procurement systems improvement, Invoice Accounts Payable automation, and automated payment platforms all being configured, tested, and deployed at the same time. Not an easy feat when youre handling north of 10,000 transactions per month, are decentralized, and are running a hijacked ERP. However, to me, the amazing thing is that when open discussions occur, and all ideas are truly considered and vetted, great things happen. I literally saw wins materialize for each of the participating customers representatives as well as cohesion between vendors, and soon to be vendor partners materialize because people embraced solutions thinking.
3. Once youre underway from the mindsets perspective, the third key to successful automation is having an excellent Project Lead honcho this thing through til the cows come home. This is true of any type of project, but especially one that involves many small steps in order to see victory. And thats the thing about AP Software / workflow / Business Intelligence /& Integration projects its a lot of small steps that need to be executed on for the whole to make sense. I guess in that way its something of a mosaic where youre assembling many intricate pieces to make a memorable piece.
Hopefully you can relate to some of these concepts in your efforts to improve your AP operations.
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