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Face to Face

Face to Face with Markus Ament

Q: So Taulia’s a relative newcomer, but has been around for four years now – what’s the journey been like so far?markus ament-beard

A: Awesome! The great thing about starting Taulia was that the whole experience was a lot easier for us than it is for a lot of other start-ups because we already knew the space, and because we were four friends that knew each other well - and on top of that – we understood the pain points and were confident we could provide the solution. The last four years have been a great roller coaster to be on – and the driving force for it all is passion. We really believe that we have a product which works, and I think that comes across in everything we do. Ultimately, we’re passionate about fixing the inefficiency in the financial supply chain and the antiquated way businesses interact.  So how do I feel about the journey? Super happy!

Q: Sounds great, is there anything – looking back – that you’d change about it?

A: Well, perhaps we made a few poor hires early on, and hired for the wrong reasons, but since then we’ve learned to see through the fluff and find the truly valuable players who bring not only skills and expertise to the company, but also fit with our culture and spirit. Also, we’ve been pretty US focussed over the last 3 1/2 years, and perhaps we should have pushed harder into Europe six months ago…but, we’re on top of that now and are in the process of setting up a London office. In fact, we’re just recruiting a new Managing Director for the UK and I’m hoping that person will be in place at some point towards the end of the summer.

Face to Face with Esa Tihilä – CEO Basware

esa tihiliaQ: There seems to be a new focus on SMEs in Basware – what’s the driver behind this?

A: Well, yes – it’s a part of the overall strategy. SMEs form the backbone of most of the world’s workforce and are going to be key in getting the various economies out of recession. A major part of that is enablement – ie enabling them to work faster, with improved processes and access to a more visible, far-reaching network. Historically organisations might have associated Basware with large enterprise ERP implementations, but today, we’re looking at a much more connected workplace and need to offer a totally end-to-end solution – including easy supplier activation.

Q: Yes, and as a large number of suppliers fall into the SME category, I guess that’s where the new focus comes in?

A: Exactly, yes. For example, if I look at just one of our larger clients, they have a supplier network of 50,000 – providing easy reach into that makes perfect business sense for all parties involved. Get it right, and everyone’s happy.

Q: So would you call yourself a global operator in a way that others can’t?

A: Well, there are plenty of solution providers who market themselves as global – but who aren’t really. Not when you look closely. Basware takes the time and trouble to make sure our solutions work within the current legislation of each party involved across the transactions and currently operate in around 75 – 80 countries worldwide, most of which with access to the product in their own language. On top of that, we’ve made a point in forming partnerships with other solution providers who are able to complement the Basware product and enhance our client’s experience.

Face to Face with Rob Bernshteyn – CEO Coupa Software

Q. There’s a significant amount of “noise” about Coupa at the moment. Why do you think that is?rob bernshtyn2

A. I think there’s been a sea change in how the whole P2P process can be run, a re-thinking of how it can be supported through IT. The way that the tools can now be adapted to optimise spend via the cloud has not really been seen before. And I think the reason why there’s the “buzz” around Coupa is that quite simply, we do it better. Ultimately it’s the customer who decides an organisation’s success or otherwise, and if you can provide them with a means to do things better and more easily, then those customers are going to keep coming back.

Q. My audience is predominantly Accounts Payable, but increasingly what was once considered a separate function, is now a part of an integrated P2P department, with much more collaboration. Do you see yourselves moving away from being a predominantly e-Procurement solution provider, to encompass AP and move further into the P2P space?

A. Well, we do cover the space as a whole. We may not be the vendor of choice for an organisation which needs thousands of different AP functions, but if you optimise spend and drill down into your purchasing and supplier base to begin with, you’re already more than halfway to a cleaner AP solution. AP may be downstream, but if you clear what’s coming into it, the waters as a whole are all that little bit less muddy. Ultimately providing a solution which increases visibility and enriched data is key to whole P2P function.

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