Log in

Face to Face

Ad van der Poel – SVP, Financing Services, Basware

You joined Basware almost a year ago, from a long background in the payments industry – what kind of initiatives are you hoping to drive at Basware?ad van der poel 2

Well, one of the things banks struggle with is the ability to add additional data to a payment, which is something that’s so desired by clients so that they can get a full view of the transaction. And the other issue is that you’re often just one part of a long chain on the client side. My most recent position was with Bank of America Merrill Lynch – but prior to that I was Head of Innovation at ING, and we were very aware that the payment element was now a commodity, so the big question was - how do we stay relevant for the client?

And we thought the answer was probably to move up the chain, to integrate more with invoices for example. But at that point, the culture or the timing didn’t work out for the bank – but it was an idea which really captivated me. I truly believe that we can merge what’s going on in the AP and invoicing space together with what payments and finance can do.  I don’t think anyone’s found the perfect answer yet, but the opportunity at Basware came along and I thought – that’s exactly the space I want to be in.

Face to Face with Marcell Vollmer, COO Ariba

Q: A lot of solution providers call themselves “end to end” providers, though few of them actually are. Do you feel confident that this is something Ariba can offer?

Absolutely.  We’re already offering it today. Every day, billions of consumers around the world use sites like Facebook, Amazon, Uber, etc.  to manage their personal lives because they make things so easy.  When you shop on Amazon, you don’t worry about connecting to each individual merchant. When it comes time to pay, you don’t worry about integrating into each individual bank or credit card company. It’s all done for you within the network.marcell volmer

The same is true with the Ariba Network. Everything companies need to manage commerce – from sourcing and orders through invoice and payment – is there for them.  They don’t need to worry about connecting to individual trading partners using multiple systems – with more than 1.8 million companies in 190 countries, chances are they’re already connected and in one place. And if they aren’t, they can be within minutes. Or they can tap into the community to find new partners. 

Face to Face with Alistair Nicholas

alistair nicholasQ: So Esker’s been around for quite a while, and you’ve been with them for more than 10 years - what’s the journey been like so far?

Well, one of the best things about it is that it’s a company that’s constantly innovating and changing. And in many ways the company that you see today is entirely different to the one that started out all those years ago. In fact, we’re really proud to be celebrating 30 years of Esker this year, so actually now’s a really great time to talk about the journey – and to be honest, I absolutely love it. I’ve been with Esker for around 12 years, and had connections via a previous company, for even longer. So it’s a firm I know well and have dealt with in one way or another for most of my career.

 

Q: In an industry where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd – what do you think is the main differential for Esker?

Yes, that’s true, and it’s quite difficult for those looking to implement a new solution to decide which is going to be the best for their own set of unique circumstances. And if you think about it, that makes perfect sense, deciding on what solution is going to work best is not necessarily a big part of a Finance Director’s day job. So that means the onus is on us, the providers to make that clear. I’ve been MD for around 3 years and really feel that our latest offering – AP Lite (the Esker AP Lite solution) offers something unique to the market. Essentially it’s aimed at SMEs that don’t necessarily need the full Enterprise solution, but at the same time need something that’s very quick to implement, and is flexible enough to scale up if the organisation needs it to. Perhaps a key differential for us as a company, is that the person who started it 30 years ago, is still on the Board and continues to play a pivotal role today. Esker isn’t a faceless corporate. It’s a company that thrives on challenge – but in a good way.

Face to Face with Thomas Senger

Q: Kofax is one of the older, more established document capture providers – why do you think Kofax has prospered where others have failed?thomas s kofax

A: Well, I think one of the answers lies with our ability to be able to re-invent ourselves. We’ve been in business for over 30 years, and over that time we’ve managed to combine the best elements of our vast experience with innovation.

Q: Ok, but as an older company which is likely to have an established corporate culture, do you sometimes struggle to be as agile as you’d like to be?

A: No, not at all. The essence of innovation isn’t just present in our software, but in our approach to how we run the business too. In fact, the size of the company works to our advantage in that we are small enough to be agile and respond to new market requirements, but big enough to offer the advantages of global coverage. We are a $330m company - and in fact, within our market segment, we spend more on R&D than many of our direct competitors. And this enables us to be just as innovative around our solutions and platform offerings.