The Elephant in the Room: S2P Ecosystem or S2P Single Suite?

Author Anna Bjärkerud shares her reflections from a recent webinar around S2P technology held together by EBG Network and Basware with guest speaker from Forrester.

Say six salmons in a salmon box really fast 10 times. Do you have that expression in English? Probably not but it came to mind asking attendees the question if they choose to adjust processes to systems or systems to processes. And just like pronouncing complex sentences so all understand them – deciding which system roadmap to follow may pose a challenge.

That was the basis for a webinar enabled by Basware including guest speaker Duncan Jones from Forrester. The questions to be answered were:

  • What is the difference between an S2P ecosystem and S2P single suite?

  • Which are the pro’s and con’s with ecosystem and single suite options?

  • What should you consider when choosing which IT road to take?

  • How do you serve the needs of each function and give stakeholders what they are craving?

  • What role does the current IT, organisational and operational landscape you have play?

  • Are there any risks you should consider given the option you choose?

What does your IT landscape look like

You will get answers based on the questions asked. EBG have enabled poll questions during webinars for years. They are a great way to quickly give all attending some peer insights, paired with expert reflections! But it is equally true that you only get the answers your question enable and the below question opened up some thoughts.


What do the responses really mean? That 0% use One tool with several modules is most likely not true. That (quite unique given the number of attendees responding) result is – I think – the response to a question where those responding are not 100% clear what the question is. Which bring us back to the topic of the day! This is a complex matter. Mergers and acquisitions paired with numerous collaborations and more or less streamlined integrations and APIs does not make it easy to know what it is you have bought.

Adjusting processes or systems

The next question is also an eye opener for me Because what is an ideal solution? Ideal for who? Based on which prerequisites? With what result in mind depending on which function you work in? Remember the above poll question where a majority had specialist tools.

Source to pay is ONE process that happen to cut though functions and organisations (of course not in a simplistic way). Pair that with the closely connected order to cash process connecting the external customer and one might wonder who’s ideal solution will prevail. Can you suboptimise and still get the best source to pay structure and outcome? I don’t think so but are happy to be proven wrong.

The solution? Of course to communicate and create end to end, cross organisation collaboration teams and to ask system providers how they enable end to end data sharing and visibility. Not necessarily using one single system – but ensuring you don’t create information islands.


What’s the answer?

What is the answer – is there a silver bullet or a one way fit all? No. Sorry but no. To have ERPs manage most business critical data is probably not the best idea. As Duncan put it “ERP failed to deliver the omniscience it promised.”
It was also stated that IT should not own business critical system decisions. “…because IT has failed to deliver what they need”.

Do not forget what your customers wants. Possibly easier said than done but a great guiding star! What and for whom is there value in the systems implemented and the collaborations and common metrics set up.

Founder and Managing Director EBG Network BG | Network - A cross functional, end-to-end business network focusing on improved sales and forecasting, increased spend under management and financial supply chain control.