Procurement technology: what suppliers need to consider | Transalis Blog

Procurement technology enables greater visibility and efficiency for suppliers and buyers alike. Buyers can easily source the right goods and services for their organisation and suppliers can leverage procurement technologies for greater market exposure.

These are some of the key reasons businesses are increasingly turning towards procurement software solutions. On the supplier side of the equation, having a presence across multiple procurement platforms maximises exposure to new markets. However, understanding the differences between procurement technologies is essential for suppliers to determine where they should focus their efforts. This is a challenge, particularly when varied terminology is used to describe different software.

Report: Procure-to-Pay (P2P) platforms

Read our report for a strategic overview of harnessing multiple P2P platforms to gain market advantage with integration middleware, including a detailed client case study.

This blog explains the differences between the most common terms used to describe different procurement processes and associated technologies. Plus, we include highlights from our client case study, which offers a real use case for Procure-to-Pay (P2P) platform integrations.

P2P, S2P, and O2C: what's the difference?

The first port of call for suppliers is determining which procurement platforms are most appropriate.

However, each procurement software provider could target a different business industry and/or elements of the procurement cycle. In addition, there are several commonly used terms related to procurement technology services. Some eProcurement solution providers even use these terms interchangeably, making things even more confusing. This can create a minefield for suppliers to navigate in understanding which procurement technologies are the most applicable to incorporate as additional sales channels.

So, let’s break down this terminology to define the differentiation between the types of eProcurement services;

  • Procure-to-Pay (P2P) describes the complete procurement process for goods and services. This begins at the requisition and purchasing, through to invoicing and payment. P2P involves all the steps required to acquire goods or services in a timely and cost-effective way.

  • Purchase-to-Pay is used interchangeably with Procure-to-Pay and encompasses the same processes.

  • Source-to-Pay (S2P) differs slightly from P2P. This is because it also includes the sourcing and contracting stages in addition to the purchasing and payment stages. S2P begins with an identification of a need for goods or services and ends with payment to the supplier.

  • Order-to-Cash (O2C) focuses on the supplier side of the transaction as opposed to P2P and S2C focusing on the buyer perspective of the procurement process. O2C starts with the receipt of a customer order and ends with the payment collection. It involves all sales stages; from order entry and fulfilment through to invoicing and the receipt of payment.

Despite the differences in terminology, for the most part, procurement technologies run in a similar way. These platforms aim to connect buyers with suppliers efficiently and automate much of the procurement cycle. This means providing visibility for buyers, digitising the tender, bidding, and contract process, and facilitating communications between buyer and supplier.

Whilst procurement automation providers will offer different features and functionalities in their solutions, what suppliers should concentrate on is the ability to sync their product catalogues with these platforms.

Procurement software as a lucrative sales channel

We previously mentioned that suppliers can harness procurement technology to gain market advantage. But how?

Business-to-Business (B2B) organisations are challenged by ensuring brand visibility and market reach, whilst not having access to sales channels typically used in the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) space, such as online and high street retail outlets. Therefore, procurement platforms are attractive, as many offer marketplace functionality. This functionality allows B2B suppliers to list their product catalogues on these platforms, granting market exposure to a range of buyers looking for their products and/or services.

One of our clients used procurement technology for this exact purpose. The client had recently acquired an office supplies business which heavily relied on sales achieved through 15 Procure-to-Pay platforms for over 300 customers. Managing sales across all of these platforms simultaneously would be an administrative nightmare without additional integration into internal systems. This is why the client leveraged the use of middleware to manage their presence on the P2P platforms as well as the relationships with their customers using these platforms.

Transalis supported this client with a vast project to replace the existing middleware solution as it was being withdrawn. The client also had limited in-house knowledge of P2P processing management, so it was imperative that the onboarding project ran smoothly. The objective was to ensure that the client was able to maintain Business As Usual (BAU) for all of their customers, whilst automating as much of the order communication as possible. For this purpose, the solution implemented by Transalis employed the flexibility and scalability of APIs to manage these processes.

In summary, order messages (e.g. orders, invoices, Advance Shipment Notices) were automatically routed from the customer and P2P platform, then reformatted and fed into the client’s ERP system. This approach ensured minimal manual intervention, greater data accuracy and complete process efficiency.

Transalis P2P middleware solutions

Overall, B2B suppliers exploring procurement technology should consider the markets they want to increase exposure to, the functionalities they need, and how to best manage orders and buyer relationships. Transalis has demonstratable experience in supporting suppliers with presence on multiple procurement platforms. We understand the differences between all the major procurement technology providers and how to integrate these into internal systems through the use of APIs.

eDI Software

Onboarding procurement technology and unsure about the ongoing management? Talk to our team by scheduling a meeting, calling via 0845 123 3746 (UK callers) or +44 1978 369 343 (international callers), or emailing You can also read more about the benefits of Procure-to-Pay platforms for suppliers in our Knowledge Hub

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