Many businesses rely on third-party vendors to better serve customers and expand capabilities. Despite vendors’ best efforts to employ simplified processes, challenges often arise while managing contracts and delivering payments on time, often stalling at the approvals step of the workflow. Businesses need to consider implementing methods to speed up approvals if they want to save money and time, while maintaining positive vendor relationships.
Slow approvals cost businesses in a variety of ways. Here’s how they most often impact business operations and vendor management:
Enterprise Operational Drag
Within the modern enterprise workflow, there are a growing number of SaaS applications — from ServiceNow and Ariba to Concur and Workday. Used to manage daily business operations, each requires a specific login. Confusion arises for casual users who only use these applications from time to time, most often for approvals. According to a recent Capriza study, 90 percent of SaaS or on-premises application users are these infrequent operators.
Approving even a single request can be an arduous process for a highly-engaged power user, let alone someone who rarely interacts with the application. Because most rely on approval notifications coming through email, where they can get buried in the inbox, users must dig up and search for the email; gain access through a link; log in to the service and navigate through various dashboards, merely to garner enough information to make a decision. All these factors continually decrease efficiency and slow down the completion of necessary approvals.
Penalties, Late Fees and Loss of Vendor Relationships
Delayed approvals can lead to overdue payments to third-party vendors, resulting in penalties and fees, or missed potential early installment discounts. With a more streamlined approvals process, businesses can disregard complex review chains, making it easier for leaders and managers to confirm investments and payments.
As in any partnership, late payments and poor communication can lead to terminated contracts. Looking for a new vendor can completely derail projects for weeks, or even months, resulting in lost revenue and inherent risk. If a business finds itself in this position, implementing a new consolidated approvals system is necessary before adopting a new partner, or else it can lead to similar results.
Implementing an Approvals Solution
If businesses are looking to implement a new process that’ll solve organizational drag, it’s best to enact practices that will actually be used by employees, especially if it sits on top of existing systems. IT leaders should garner feedback on what their employees would be looking for in an approvals solution system.
Mobility and flexibility are usually at the top of lists when discussing solution components. According to a recent survey, 94 percent of IT leaders would like approvals to be accessible in collaboration tools, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. This gives managers the flexibility to quickly approve action items while avoiding the addition of more applications to an already complex stack. Additionally, incorporating mobile and desktop notifications may be helpful as enterprises look to streamline processes and approve action items on-the-go.
Making sure power users highlight the potential increase in productivity and efficiency to casual users is essential for company-wide buy-in and support. IT leaders should explain and outline best practices when implementing software for higher adoption rates.
An enterprise approvals platform allows casual users to quickly approve tasks and make informed decisions, resulting in increased profits and effectiveness while maintaining healthy vendor relationships. Decreasing operational drag creates quantifiable results. If an enterprise can successfully implement a consolidated approvals solution, it can speed up decision-making by up to 70 percent. This not only makes things easier for enterprise procurement teams and improves relationships with third-party vendors, but can also increase the speed of all workflows in HR, sales, IT and finance departments, as well.
Vice President of Sales at enterprise approvals platform Capriza, Dave Charlesworth is a seasoned sales executive, leader and strategist. An expert in building business relationships, Dave combines his sales experience with a deep understanding of high-tech software to solve common business problems for the enterprise.