08 Mar How can you tell if an AP automation vendor is right for you?
We all have the same instinct when making technology decisions; compare multiple solutions on a feature-by-feature matrix, and then pick the one with the needed features at the lowest price. While it seems to be a logical decision-making paradigm, it makes the critical error of assuming that each vendor is equally capable of delivering the specific features you require on an equal basis. That is simply not the case. Different vendors may have all the same features listed, but the fulfillment of the features’ promises can vary widely. Think about it this way: a common feature of all basketball players is that they dribble… but some clearly dribble better than others. Assuming all dribbling is created equal is a sure-fire way to lose basketball games.
Do they understand your industry?
Perhaps the single most important indicator of success potential is the vendor’s familiarity with your specific industry. If the vendor tries to convince you that all industries are alike, run. The vendors who are worth your time will listen to your company description, and will be able to converse fluidly with you about your needs, providing suggestions for optimizations from Day One. It’s not necessary that your vendor have expert-level direct experience in your industry, but it should be considered a minimum requirement that your vendor understands there is no one-size-fits-all version of Accounts Payable automation.
Do they have references?
Hand-in-hand with industry experience and flexibility is proof of professionalism. Agreeing to terms with a vendor is a completely different thing from fulfillment of the promised implementation. Get to know your vendor better by getting to know some of their current and past customers.
How frequently do they update their software?
The world of technology is far more similar to farming than it is to publishing; it requires constant ongoing care for it to continue to create value. Updating software to match the changing landscape is one of the most critical functions of every software vendor. Look for a reliable pattern of software updates as an indication of how reliable your software vendor’s technology will be.
How well have they answered your questions?
Choosing an AP automation vendor is a long-term decision. AP automation sits at the heart of your organization’s operations; you are best served by treating this decision like the start of a relationship. As you go about gathering the information you need, pay special attention to how each vendor answers questions. It’s okay not to know the answer to all questions, but it’s not okay to pretend you know when you don’t. Ask every question you have, and investigate every answer supplied. Be satisfied that the way the vendor addresses your questions complements your business needs and transparency requirements.
Learn more about the benefits of automating AP by contacting simplifiAP today.