Editor’s note: This is the inaugural post from Elliot Beaudoin, Director of Product Marketing at Tradeshift. His author page will be live shortly.
Tradeshift Buy is the first eProcurement product of its kind, so it’s no surprise procurement executives and practitioners have questions about functionality and benefits. In this post I’ve pulled together the most asked questions from our recent webinars, live demos, and prospect RFPs.
1. How does Buy improve visibility and control of my indirect spend?
The foundation of Buy is based on providing simple and enjoyable features for all suppliers and end users at your company. Our thought is you truly can’t get your spend under control unless both your internal users and suppliers adopt your system. Giving both parties solutions that are useful, enjoyable and simple to use directly translates to higher adoption rates.
We onboard a higher percentage of suppliers than anyone else in the industry, period. The reason we are able to do this is suppliers love using the revolutionary features of the Tradeshift platform (check G2 Crowd), suppliers use one account to connect to multiple customers (which no one else in the industry can do by the way), and after all that, it’s free.
Having more suppliers on a single system means that our buyers gain more visibility and control– increasing collaboration with more of their supply base, giving their users better content to shop from and providing visibility to negotiate better contracts.
On the buyer side we empower users with products in their business lives reminiscent of the ones in their personal lives. Consumer products are collaborative, easy to use, and intelligent. Tradeshift Buy is built from the ground up with these principles in mind.
Tradeshift collaboration is at the forefront of the next generation of business co-working tools–allowing for seamless user collaboration across documents, teams and entire organizations. Instead of overly complex and lengthy approvals, our customers are able to get visibility and control by simply making 1:1 interactions real time, simple and in context of all a document’s history.
Tradeshift’s ease-of-use is best in class. We don’t add frivolous charts, colors and graphs that distract users from buying goods or services to get their job done.
Lastly, Tradeshift Buy is intelligent in that it learns while your users shop for products. As they search, favorite and buy products, Tradeshift Buy uses machine learning to adjust the results shown to the end user based on past behavior. Buy is truly the next generation Procurement application.
2. How is your answer to the traditional catalog problems of the industry different from others?
When you talk about product catalogs and the way they should work, you have to talk networks as well. Tradeshift is the only true multi-connection B2B network, everything else is a Portal of some flavor or another.
But what the heck does that even mean? The easiest way to explain it is to walk through an example.
In a portal, if I’m a supplier and I want to upload my catalog to three of my customers, I have to upload that same file three times to every single customer. Also, I have to login three times because I have three different accounts. I am essentially a stripped-down user. In a true network, I have my own account that I log into once. I also upload my catalog one time, and then offer it to one, two, three, or all of my customers in a single stroke of the mouse.
This is possible, because in a true networked application, I can have one account that is connected to multiple buyers, and even connect to my suppliers. It’s mind blowing.
So, coming back to why this is important. It’s the same philosophy you see throughout Tradeshift. We believe when you give valuable easy-to-use solutions to both sides of the business relationship, both parties benefit. For catalogs, this means buyers get up-to-date fresh content, and suppliers gain efficiency by being able to manage all of their products for all of their customers in one free application.
3. What is the Product Engine?
The Product Engine is a collection of technologies that power the answers from the previous question. The best analogy I can give is if the whole experience of being able to upload catalogs, approve catalogs, and shop from catalogs was a car, Product Engine would be, well, the engine. To take the explanation even further, when a supplier is uploading a catalog file or a buyer user is searching for products, they are using Tradeshift-built Apps layered on top of the Product Engine (as well as the Tradeshift Platform).
The next question I always get when I explain this is, ‘Can anyone build Apps on top of Product Engine?’.
The answer is without a doubt, yes.
Being extensible is what sets Tradeshift apart from any competitor. When we build any application, we not only build out solutions for real business needs, we build those solutions on top of an extensible and open piece of technology that any one of our customers or partners can build on top of as well.
4. Why would a supplier want to take the time to upload their catalogue? Will it be easy?
Not only is it easy, but it’s useful, which I think is just as powerful for the supplier.
We understand most suppliers have to use other systems to upload catalogs for different buyers. These systems support different hard-coded headers, proprietary formats, and generally require some sort of training to deal with all the special rules and exceptions. We took all of this into account when we thought about catalogs.
We rethought the entire supplier catalog uploading experience. We automatically map headers using machine learning so that it’s a worry free experience for the supplier. We accept Ariba-formatted files out of the box, so suppliers don’t have to worry about transforming files. Lastly, we don’t require any training because we guide the supplier through the whole process, including the end. If there are any fields that aren’t entered that we need, we allow the supplier to easily find the entries they need to update.
It doesn’t get any easier than that.
5. Can it integrate with my existing systems?
Like I mentioned with our catalog applications, Buy is actually built on top of the Tradeshift Platform. The Tradeshift Platform is built from the ground up to be an open platform where anyone can build any application that connects to our standard business solutions. Buy is no different here.
All of our customers have ERP systems they use to run their business. So, you’re not only able to integrate any system, it’s standard practice for our customers to connect all of the Tradeshift Apps (including Buy) to SAP, Oracle, Netsuite, Xero, even Coupa and Ariba on occasion.
If you think about those last two systems, we are taking a fundamentally different approach. We want our customers to be able to use Tradeshift in ways that make sense for them. We will not hold them hostage to a closed off set of technology. Instead we offer agility, the ultimate imperative in a rapidly changing business environment.
Stay tuned for questions 6-10 in the next installment of this piece. In the meantime, check out Spend Matter’s review of Tradeshift Buy.
Download the Spend Matters report and discover:
- Tradeshift tools, Tradeshift Product Engine, and the big reveal.
- The application’s key strengths and opportunities. Plus, what’s the big deal with Buy Anywhere?
- Why Tradeshift is the most interesting P2P product launch in over a decade, and a peek at what the future will bring.
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