One of the many reasons why technology research and analyst firms such as Forrester, Gartner, IDC, Spend Matters, PayStream Advisors and Aberdeen are so valuable is that they undergo intensive research across all vendors in a particular space. The process involves in depth technical questionnaires, briefings, demonstrations and reference checks over the course of several months for all of the companies they deem relevant to, in our case, eProcurement and Procure-to-Pay solutions.
BirchStreet participates in all of these reports, and the results are fascinating. A majority of our competitors operate horizontally, while BirchStreet specializes in hospitality and multi-locational enterprises, often with a food and beverage component. BirchStreet’s solution P2P solution that fits everyone as we are one of the only software providers that offers both a direct and an indirect goods purchasing platform. In a recent report on eProcurement, the analysts recognize that standalone solutions or “specialist vendors” are trending upwards as businesses are looking for best-in-class functionality, not a generalist approach. Supply chain processes are often very complex, so analysts are seeing a shift in replacing existing system with vertical specific and functionality specific solutions. As a specialist vendor, BirchStreet has witnessed this growth and has been able to capitalize on this trend for hotels, management companies, restaurants, casinos, clubs, stadiums, convention centers, airports, food manufacturing and other similar business structures.
Another trend that continues to grow in the eProcurement space are SaaS business models. BirchStreet was established as a cloud based SaaS solution from its inception. The reason SaaS has been so successful is that it allows for flexibility and scalability. Having access anytime, anywhere is a huge plus for companies, especially as mobility has changed the landscape of how companies conduct business. Growth in the SaaS eProcurement solution sector continues to grow as this business model proves to be moving the needle for both vendors and buyers.
Walking hand in hand with eProcurement, the Accounts Payable eInvoicing market continues to grow for both buyers and suppliers. AP eInvoicing and OCR processes are helping companies gain efficiency, boost touchless invoice rates and reduce cycle counts and errors. All of this cuts costs. The rate of supplier adoption of eInvoicing is still slower than that of buyers, but this continues to increase as they see their customers changing their processes. BirchStreet has seen that eInvoicing can cut invoice processing costs by 60% with its customers (which depends on their before and after states).
Spend analysis is another growing trend that BirchStreet predicts will be mandatory criteria for all businesses in the next few years. Procure-to-pay automation with the right reporting tools can give valuable business intelligence to all levels of the business. When customers can categorize their data, they can identify saving opportunities and raise compliance levels. Analysts are seeing this trend increase across all vendors that they conduct their research.