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Author's profile photo Christopher Rauen

A New Year’s Path to the Networked Economy

Have you delayed a move to the networked economy?  For some organizations, the root cause is an inability to break free from broken processes… and they precrastinate.

I first saw this word early last year in an in-flight magazine, then again in a New York Times article, “Sometimes, Early Birds Are Too Early.”  It means to “finish things sooner than needed.” The motivation is to delay a more challenging endeavor, and prevent completing more critical tasks.

In the New York Times article, the word described the behavior of university students in a decision-making study. For the experiment, students chose how to carry a beach bucket down an alley. They could pick up the bucket near the start of the alley and carry it to the end; or pick up a different bucket that was closer to the end of the alley, walk a few steps, and put it down.

The findings surprised the researchers. Most subjects picked up the bucket that was closer to them, a decision that forced them to carry it longer than necessary. In other words, they gave themselves extra work for no apparent benefit.

That’s precisely the case when you manage business transactions on paper. With this approach, your AP staff is in a rush to identify and prioritize misplaced invoices while juggling a large number of errors and exceptions. Phone calls between trading partners hound the transaction: Did you get the order? When will it be shipped? When will I get paid?

The uncertainty of these transactions plagues buyers and suppliers, raises the costs of doing business, and prevents the kind of collaboration that can bring substantial benefits to both trading partners.

In contrast, by participating in the networked economy, organizations devote fewer resources to transaction processing. That’s handled by the business network. When you combine that with cloud applications such as e-invoicing and dynamic discounting, trading partners have better visibility into their supply chains and can spend more time on higher value activities such as managing spend, cash, and working capital.

That’s a New Year’s resolution more global organizations should embrace.

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