Last week I got an email from a company that said they are in the middle of an Accounts Payable Automation project, and their first order of business is to gather all of the service providers and put them side by side so they can compare them “apples to apples”.
It has never made much sense to even the playing field in hopes that one company will rise to the top. I would think that you would want things to be uneven to help give you a better chance of picking the service provider that is right for you.
The Problem To The Problem
What makes the “apples to apples” problem worse is when you look at AP Automation there is only so many ways a company is able to digitize an invoice, put that invoice into workflow and then present that invoice to an accounting system. I have been in the industry for 15 years and I haven’t found a unique way to do this (yet), so when you look at systems side by side, on the surface they will look identical.
Find The Learning Curve
When looking at competing AP Automation products and services one of the key indicators to how difficult or easy it is to use and maintain the new process is by looking at what I like to call the learning curve.
What Is It?
The learning curve is made up of three things:
- The time it takes to implement – This time is measured from the moment the project starts to the time you are live (not fully deployed – just live).
- The time it takes to train – Calculate the amount of time it takes to train an end-user, not an admin – just the people who will be using the new process day-to-day.
- The time it takes to retrain – This is the amount of time that you have to go back over the new process with they day-to-day people. Just as a note, this third piece should weigh the heaviest in your evaluation.
How Will You Get This?
The thought is this information is after the fact… getting this knowledge would be after you had chosen a service provider… Well, that’s what makes this information so good, if you find the learning curve during your reference checking on each service provider this information will become a huge competitive differentiator!
Want to know more? Buy My Books!
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