I don’t do a lot of this verses that. It is easy to compare things and those things have so many moving parts that the comparisons don’t work. Now, to move away from writing in general terms today’s this verses is a fair comparison because the “this” is a common mistake that people make when searching for an Accounts Payable Automation service providers.
Ok, the “this” in my introduction in AP Automation are the features. I am really hoping that this doesn’t hurt anyone feelings, because I am attempting to point out a common mistake that can have a big impact on your decision-making process as well as the ultimate decision. Were people go wrong is their understanding of Accounts Payable Automation as an improvement in their business instead of an improvement in their process. Now if automation is done correctly the improvement will be in both business and process.
Here are a few things to look for that will tell you that you are concentrating too much on features. The first thing to look for is an RFI/RFP. RFPs are notorious for being feature driven vehicles. Some of you, unfortunately, can’t get away from an RFP, so what ever you do don’t make them your ultimate decision (I am going to write more about that at my conclusion). Another indication you are to feature heaving is in the type of questions you ask your service providers. Questions like:
- What do you do with the invoices
- How do you code
- What codes can you have in the software
- Are there email alerts
Well, if the “this” are features, the “that” is impact. Any level of coaching I do with someone who is new to automation it is always around helping them understand the impact that automation brings to an organization. Folks, this is tricky, because if you are new to AP Automation it is very difficult to know impact because you have experienced the impact. Impact is your direct link to changing your business. Indicators that you are focused on impact are:
- Calculating ROI, return on investment
- Cost calculations
- New time or free time calculations
Especially the last bullet about free or new time. In my book, The Argument to Automate, the entire point of the book is to know whose time is going to be freed up and what to do with that additional time. I coach people that the time that is being freed up HAS to be applied to tasks that are more important than the task there were being freed up.
What Is More Important?
(So) Because I did a this verses that you may get the idea that I favor one over the other, features or impact… I don’t. They are both important. You really can’t have one without the other. Were I experience people going wrong is they leave one (usually impact) out and they are very unhappy with their outcomes.
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